Photo Release -- First Niagara to Add Chip-and-PIN Technology to Credit and Debit Cards

BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Citing the importance of providing customers and retailers with optimal security and fraud protection, First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG) will soon begin issuing credit and debit cards armed with state-of-the-art chip-and-PIN security technology.

First Niagara will soon begin issuing credit and debit cards armed with state-of-the-art chip-and-PIN security technology.

A photo accompanying this release is available at

With the new microchip cards, customer card information is accompanied by a one-time code when the card is inserted into a chip-enabled terminal to conduct a purchase transaction. The technology will provide an added layer of anti-fraud protection by including entry of a four-digit personal identification number, or PIN, when cardholders make purchases at merchant terminals. In combination with the chip, the PIN will be required for most in-person transactions on credit cards as well as debit cards.

"This significant investment in chip-and-PIN technology affirms our commitment to improving security and peace of mind for our customers and the retailers with whom they conduct business," says Justin Bigham, First Niagara's head of consumer product management. "We believe this positions First Niagara among the leaders in the banking industry when it comes to card security and fraud prevention."

While commonplace in Canada and around the world, new chip-and-PIN cards will require U.S. cardholders, both credit and debit, to become accustomed to using a personal identification number, now that "swipe-and-sign" magnetic-stripe cards are increasingly vulnerable to fraud. First Niagara plans to launch an awareness and education campaign to assist customers.

To ensure optimal levels of customer service, First Niagara will initiate a rollout of new cards beginning in October 2015 and expects to convert the majority of its card portfolio in early 2016. Customers may continue using their existing cards until they receive and activate new chip-and-PIN cards that will be mailed to card holders by First Niagara. Customers scheduled to receive chip-and-PIN cards will receive advanced communication prior to cards being sent.

First Niagara cardholders will receive new chip-and-PIN cards in conjunction with new fraud liability rules that go into effect for card issuers and retail merchants in the United States starting October 1, 2015. While there is no requirement to issue chip cards by any specific date, First Niagara wants to ensure their customers have the best fraud protection available as soon as possible.

First Niagara partners with First Data Merchant Services who is working closely with business and commercial clients to provide Chip-enabled merchant terminals in preparation for the October 1 EMV fraud liability shift.

First Niagara's chip-and-PIN credit and debit cards will continue to have traditional magnetic stripes to ensure that customers may continue to use their cards with retailers and other merchants who have not yet adopted new EMV security standards. The new chip-and-PIN credit and debit cards will function as they do today for online and telephone type transactions.

About First Niagara

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 390 branches, $39 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,400 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For additional information on First Niagara, visit us at, follow us on Twitter @FirstNiagara, or like us on Facebook at FirstNiagaraBank.

CONTACT: First Niagara Contact News Media: Jodi Johnston Director, Corporate Media Relations (716) 515-8762 Scott Westcott FNFG Consumer Communication (814) 881-0389

Source:First Niagara Financial Group, Inc.