Home / Credit News / Institutions continue to roll out cards with off switches

These days, consumers seem to be more interested in debit and credit cards that give them a bit more protection for their accounts, and financial institutions are moving quickly to react to that demand.

A new trend among financial institutions has many now issuing credit and debit cards that are designed to be far more secure than those traditionally given to customers across the country, according to a report from American Banker. These cards not only make use of the EMV technology, which is popular across the globe but still gaining a foothold in the U.S., but also allow consumers an added layer of protection by way of an on-off switch.

EMV cards - sometimes referred to as "chip and pin" - are more secure than magnetic strips because, as the nickname implies, they protect their payment data with an encrypted microchip and require users to enter a PIN code when making a purchase, the report said. But by adding the switch, users' cards can't even be used unless they're removed from the wallet and the switch is toggled to the "on" position.

Though the number of institutions offering this type of card is still relatively small, the popularity of the card type cannot be ignored, the report said.

"We added it to our lineup of products with the hopes that it would get used ... but lo and behold we are seeing toggles in the thousands," Jim Simpson, City Bank Texas' vice president of information technology, told the publication. "We are kind of blown away by it, to be honest with you."

EMV cards are more or less the only accepted payment method in many developed nations around the world, having ditched traditional magnetic strip cards years ago.