All banks and credit card companies must now provide EMV chips in their credit and debit cards. What is an EMV chip, and how does it make your account information more secure? The Post has the answers. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

By now you’ve probably received new credit cards that are supposed to be more secure.

Trying to meet an Oct. 1 deadline, businesses have been installing new card readers for our new credit cards. It’s all an effort to combat credit card fraud.

Those businesses “that don’t have the readers by then could be on the hook for any losses caused by credit card fraud,” reported The Washington Post’s Jonnelle Marte.

[Get ready to dip, not swipe, your credit cards] reported that about 120 million Americans have received a chip-enabled card, and projections are that number will reach nearly 600 million by the end of this year.

Not sure how the cards work? Click this link for an explanation by Marte. She answers the following questions:

  • What makes these new cards more secure?
  • What should you do differently at the register?
  • Will these cards work the same as the ones in Europe?
  • Will people see these special card readers at ATMs and gas pumps?

And by the way, safer doesn’t mean theft-proof. You know criminals will figure out a way around the system to steal. “Security experts say they widely expect credit card fraud to move online, where thieves can still use the card number and expiration date to make fraudulent purchases,” Marte wrote.

Color of Money Question of the Week
If you have a new chip-enabled credit card, do you feel your payments are more secure? Send your comments to Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Credit Card Chip.”

Live chat today
Join me at noon (Eastern time) for a live discussion about your money and the most recent Color of Money Book Club selection “Twisdoms About Paying for College,” by Mark Kantrowitz. Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors, a Web site about planning and paying for college, will be joining me as a guest to take your questions. If you missed the review of the book, read it here. Here’s the link to participate in the chat.

The pope on the poor
The pope has left the United States, but his words remain: We must help the poor.

“Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves,” Pope Francis said before a joint meeting of Congress last week. “Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

So for last week’s Color of Money Question I asked: Are you concerned about the plight of the poor, and if so, what are you doing about it?

It was so nice to read about so many who are giving folks a hand up.

Ann Baldwin of Brevard, N.C., wrote: “I do several things to express my concern for the poor. My charitable giving goes solely to the nonprofits that serve the poor — food bank, legal aid lawyers, consumer credit counseling (helps prevent foreclosures and acquire rental apartments). I also volunteer as a tutor at my local Job Corps site in math and science.”

Cornelia Sommer of Grand Rapids, Mich., who lives in a nursing home, said she’s doing her part but making sure she’s financially stable. “The first thing I am trying to do is to meet my care and medical insurance costs so that I’m not added to the list of those who need help.”

Sommer said she also gives. “We donate cash to food pantries, as well as household items that we inherited from our parents that we no longer need.”

Martin and Linda Marler of Colfax, Wash., said they are doing their part by endowing five college scholarships at two local universities and two high schools. “We donate to our local food pantry and help package soup mixes for a local ministry,” they added. “We drive a poor neighbor to shopping and doctor’s appointments frequently and helped him get medical insurance under the ACA. We donate clothing and household goods to a local charity and sent food, paper products, money and household linens to forest fire victims nearby. We could do more, but we try to help from a number of different angles.”

“I am concerned about the plight of the poor,” Pablo Rodriguez of Oak Park, Ill., wrote. “For the past two years I was involved in the Affordable Care Act as an in-person counselor working to sign up individuals for health insurance. I worked in homeless shelters, addiction clinics, food pantries and a host of social service agencies.”

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to