Start of menu
Close Menu


Chip & PIN Frequently Asked Questions

Chip Card Questions

Q: What is a Chip Card and how is it different from a magnetic stripe Card?

A: A Chip Card contains a small embedded microchip, which encrypts your account information, making it difficult to duplicate, copy or access. It is simply a more advanced technology than magnetic stripe technology and will make an already safe payment system even more secure.

Q: Are the existing magnetic stripe Cards no longer secure?

A: The magnetic stripe Card you currently have is still secure. You can continue to use it until the transition to Chip & PIN technology is complete, you will continue to be protected against fraud through our Fraud Protection Guarantee . Chip & PIN technology is simply a newer, more advanced technology that will make an already safe payment system even more secure.

Q: How will I benefit from using a Chip Card with Chip & PIN technology?

A: Chip & PIN technology provides you with greater security. Chip & PIN technology uses an embedded microchip to encrypt account information, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to copy or access data. This can reduce fraud on lost, stolen, and counterfeit Cards. When you use a Chip Card, the transaction is validated when you enter a unique PIN that is provided only to you.

Q: How do I use a Chip Card?

A: It is easy to use a Chip Card. Follow these simple steps to make a purchase with a Chip Card: (1) Insert your Chip Card into the terminal; it will stay there for the duration of the transaction. (2) Follow the prompts and key in your unique four-digit PIN to authorize the transaction. Your PIN replaces your signature. (3) Receive a confirmation receipt upon successful completion of your transaction.

Q: Where can I use my American Express Chip Card?

A: You can use your American Express Chip Card at any merchant, anywhere in the world where American Express is accepted. Many countries in Europe and Asia are already using Chip & PIN technology and your new Chip Card will be compatible with these systems. Chip Cards will still have the magnetic stripe on the back which will enable you to use your Card in countries that have not switched to Chip & PIN technology yet, including the United States. It will take several years to upgrade bank machines and point-of-sale terminals with Chip & PIN technology, however, eventually merchants will have Chip Card enabled terminals and Chip Cards will be as common as magnetic stripe Cards are today in Canada.

Q: How will I know if a retailer has a chip-enabled terminal?

A: Some terminals that can accept Chip Cards may have a sign or logo identifying them as chip-enabled. You can always ask the retailer if they accept American Express Chip Cards.

Q: Can I use a Chip Card at a location that doesn’t have a chip-enabled terminal yet?

You can still use a Chip Card even if a merchant doesn’t have a chip-enabled terminal. Chip Cards will still have the magnetic stripe on the back. Instead of inserting your Card and entering a PIN, it will simply be swiped and you will sign the receipt as you do now.

Q: When will I get my American Express Chip Card?

American Express is moving in line with the market and will begin issuing Chip Cards in Canada in 2011. We will notify you when you will receive your new Chip Card that will replace your current Card.

Q: Can I request a Chip Card sooner?

The transition to Chip & PIN technology is an automated process that will take place over several years. You do not need to request a Chip Card, we will provide all Cardmembers with new Chip-enabled Cards when your Card product is converted to Chip & PIN and will notify you when your new Chip Card is coming. Until then, continue to use your current American Express Card with confidence.

Q: What happens if my American Express Chip Card is stolen?

If your American Express Chip Card is stolen, it will be very difficult for someone to use it without your personal PIN. You should always call American Express immediately to report a lost or stolen Card.


PIN Questions

Q: I have received a letter/marketing piece from American Express informing me that Chip Cards are coming, and that I can pre-select my PIN so that when my Chip Card arrives I can use my selected PIN. How do I pre-select my PIN?

A: To pre-select your PIN, please go to to start. Follow the easy steps provided on the page to begin. Through the process, you will need to login or register for Online Services if you are not currently enrolled, to be able to choose your PIN.

Q: If I have more than one Card with Amex, can I select the same PIN for all my Cards?

A: There are no limitations on the combination of the 4 numeric digits you can select across your Cards. We encourage you to select a PIN that you can easily remember, but difficult for someone to guess on all your Cards.

Q: Why can’t I pre-select my PIN by calling an American Express Service Representative?

A: Due to the security and confidentiality of your account the only way to pre-select your PIN is through Online Services.

Q: What if I don’t have a computer or access to the Internet to pre-select my PIN?

A: We will auto generate a random PIN for you once your new Chip & PIN Card is issued and then you will be able to change it at one of the select partner locations. If you already have an Express Cash PIN, this will become your Chip Card PIN..

Q: I have a supplementary Card for my husband with the same renewal date as mine; does he need to pre-select his PIN now too?

A: Yes, if his renewal date for his supplementary Card is the same as your Card he should go to and follow the simple steps to pre-select his PIN.

Q: How should I protect my PIN?


  • Never reveal your PIN to anyone, including friends, family members, merchants or American Express customer service representatives; you will never be asked to provide your PIN by an American Express agent.
  • Do not write your PIN down anywhere including your American Express Card.
  • Do not keep your Card and PIN in the same place, such as in your wallet or purse.
  • Do shield the keypad with your hand or body when you are entering your PIN at an ABM or at a store.
Q: Where do I get a PIN for my American Express Chip Card?

Information about your PIN is sent a few days before you receive your Chip Card. If you have not received your PIN before receiving your Chip Card, please call American Express immediately at 1-800-869-3016.

Q: What happens if I forget my PIN?

If you have forgotten your PIN, your transactions may be declined. Please visit Online Services for a PIN reminder, or call American Express at 1-800-869-3016 to have it reset. For your protection, please remember to have 2 valid pieces of identification with you.

Q: Do I provide my PIN for online purchases or account servicing?

Your PIN is different from the 4-digit number on the front of your American Express Card (often required for online purchases), or your American Express Customer Password (should you have one). Never reveal your PIN to anyone, including merchants or American Express customer service representatives; you will never be asked to provide your PIN by an American Express agent.

Back to Chip & PIN Homepage