Making day-to-day purchases should be easy. An ESSA Debit Mastercard®, makes that possible! You may have previously made purchases by cash and check, but this option is safer and faster. Plus, your ESSA Debit Mastercard® is accepted anywhere the Mastercard® logo is displayed! Visit your local branch to apply today.

Mastercard® Chip Cards

ESSA offers debit cards with chip technology.  The embedded computer chip provides more security and wider international acceptance.

A microchip embedded in the card adds a new layer of protection against fraud for purchases made at the point of sale.  Information programmed into the chip is personalized for your account and each transaction generates a unique code, adding an extra safeguard against unauthorized use and counterfeiting.

These cards are already in wide use around the world and are becoming the standard in the U.S.


Start the payment process by "swiping" your card, just as you do today.  If the terminal is chip-enabled, you will be instructed to insert your card.

  1. Insert your card, face up and chip end into the chip-enabled terminal.
  2. Leave the card in the terminal during the entire transaction.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen and either sign your name or enter your PIN as needed.  Be sure to remove your card and take your receipt when the transaction is complete.

If a merchant isn't using the new chip-enabled terminal yet

Your payment will process as it normally does from your initial "swipe".  Chip cards will continue to have the magnetic stripe on the back.

Online or phone purchases

Provide your card information as you have done in the past.  Chip cards will not change the way payments are made online or by telephone.

At an ATM

The process is essentially the same as at a merchant.  Insert your card, leave it in the ATM, and follow the prompts on the screen.  Depending on the type of ATM, you may be prompted to re-insert your card.  Leave the card in the ATM until the transaction is complete and the card is released, and then remove your card.  A PIN is needed for ATM transactions.


Even though chip cards are being issued in the U.S. and some merchants have already installed chip-enabled card terminals for payment, the entire conversion process is expected to take a few years to complete.  That's why chip cards will continue to have a magnetic tripe on the back.  That way, if a merchant's terminal or an ATM is  not yet chip-enabled, your transaction can still be processed using the magnetic strip as it is today.


Mastercard® Contactless Cards

Contactless technology helps provide a speedy and secure purchase and checkout experience.  A contactless card is a chip card with near field communication (NFC) technology, which enables close-range payments.  When you tap or hold your card near the Contactless Symbol on a merchant terminal, you can securely make a payment.

To use your contactless card:

  1. Look for the contactless symbol anywhere you shop.
  2. Tap your contactless card at the top of the terminal when you’re ready to pay.

ESSA's Monitoring for Debit Card Fraud:

To protect your account, we monitor your debit card transactions for potentially fraudulent activity which may include a sudden change in locale (such as when your U.S. –issued card is used unexpectedly overseas), a sudden string of costly purchases, or any pattern associated with new fraud trends around the world. If we suspect fraudulent use, we will send a text notification to the cell phone on file for you to validate the transaction(s).  If you do not respond to the text message(s), we may call you.  Your participation in responding to our text or call is critical to prevent potential risk and avoid restrictions that we may place on the use of your card.

Our automated text or call will ask you to verify recent transaction activity on your card, which you will be able to do via your touch-tone keypad.  If you prefer not to use the automated call system, take note of your case # and then call our fraud center at 877-253-8964.

Additionally, foreign transactions may be restricted due to the high risk of potential fraud.  Fraud risks are monitored on a daily basis and countries are blocked accordingly.  Please contact your local branch or our customer support at 855-713-8001 for more information.

Our goal, quite simply, is to minimize your exposure to risk and the impact of any fraud.  To ensure we can continue to reach you whenever potential fraud is detected, please keep us informed of your correct phone number and address at all times.  In the meantime, please be diligent in monitoring transaction activity on your account and contact us immediately if you identify any fraudulent transactions.


This service is designed to enhance your existing ESSA Mastercard® Debit Card account. It’s a private code that protects you against unauthorized use of your card when you shop online at participating merchants. Enter your private SecureCode during checkout at participating online merchants when prompted. Once your identity has been confirmed, your purchase is complete.