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Bank of America to transition to chip-enabled unemployment debit cards starting July 25

The move is being made to better help secure the cards against fraudulent use that is more easily committed with magnetic strip cards.

CALIFORNIA, USA — New debit cards used by Californians who receive benefits from the Employment Development Department (EDD) are about to come with a new layer of security.

According to the EDD, Bank of America will start issuing chip-enabled debit cards to some residents who collect unemployment, disability, or Paid Family Leave benefits beginning July 25. The move is being made to better help secure the cards against fraudulent use that is more easily committed with magnetic strip cards.

Not everyone will get one, though.

In a press release, the EDD says the new cards will be issued to those making new claims, those who have lost, stolen or damaged cards, and those whose existing cards will expire soon. 

The EDD website says Bank of America will mail cards for new claims after the first payment has been made. Cards could take 7-10 days to arrive and will look slightly different than the present, chip-free version.

Cards are good for three years and can be used with later claims, so the EDD recommends hanging onto them until they expire, even after cardholders stop collecting benefits.

The change comes less than a month after the EDD announced that it was extending Bank of America’s contract for another two years as its benefits card provider. That comes despite calls for change from cardholders, lawmakers, and even the bank itself.

“Under the contract, the state had the sole option to extend and chose to do so," Bank of America said in a written statement. "We have advised the state that we would like to exit this business as soon as possible.”

Read more from ABC10

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