Smart Client Card

1 - Admission and subscription

1.1 How can I get a Client Card?

As a rule, you're given a Client Card when you open a bank account. However, if you already have an account, just drop by your branch with two valid pieces of ID so that you can be positively identified. You will be given your card right away and you can then choose your Personal Identification Number (PIN) directly on the automated banking machine (ABM).


1.2 How old do I have to be to get a Client Card?

Children as young as 7 can be issued a Client Card with parental authorization for clients under 13. The parent or guardian chooses the type of access on the Client Card, whether it is deposits only or all the transactions allowed. Just drop by your branch.


2 - My Client Card

2.1 Can I pick whatever PIN I want?

Yes, as long as it is a combination of 4 numbers. However, you must keep some security rules in mind. For instance, never use numbers based on your name, date of birth, address, telephone number, social insurance number or any combination that could be traced to you. Easy combinations like 1111 or 1234 are not acceptable.


2.2 Can I change my PIN without changing my card number?

Yes. To change your PIN, just go to any National Bank ABM that has the option "PIN SELECTION" in the main menu. Since the ABMs are available all the time, you can choose your PIN whenever you want. You can now modify your PIN in most banking machines within THE EXCHANGE network.


2.3 My card is demagnetized or damaged. What should I do?

Go to any National Bank branch for a replacement.


2.4 Who do I call if I lose my card?

If your card is lost, stolen, used fraudulently or retained by an ABM, call 1-800-361-0070 or 514-281-3159 right away for your protection. These numbers are available 24/7. You can also call TelNat from 6 a.m. to midnight (ET), 7 days a week at 1-888-4-TELNAT or 514-394-5555. Once you have notified us, we will carry out all the necessary steps with you.


2.5 If my card is stolen, can anyone gain access to my bank accounts?

No transactions can be performed without your PIN or your Password (for Internet Banking Solutions, Mobile Banking Solutions and TelNat Telephone Banking Solutions). To minimize your risk of fraud, please follow these security guidelines:

Security Tips:

Bank card and electronic access device security

  • Make sure your Electronic Access Device uses official authorized applications from reputable providers. Also, be sure the operating system is legitimate and unaltered.
  • When using our Electronic Banking Solutions, you must secure your Electronic Access Device by installing the appropriate protection software and keeping it up to date. This includes installing antivirus and antispyware programs as well as firewall protection so you can carry out online transactions with complete peace of mind. You must take any and all corrective action recommended by your operating system provider;
  • Protect your Card and Electronic Access Device at all times: never lend them to anyone or leave them unattended. Get into the habit of locking your Electronic Access Device.

Password security

  • Your Password, Access Card Number, Personal Identification Questions and the answers to your secret questions constitute your electronic signature. They serve to confirm your consent for electronic transactions or electronically transmitted communications or instructions. Do not store or reveal this information;
  • Memorize your Password, never use the same Password for more than one Card or Service, and change your Password regularly;
  • Never use a Password based on your personal information (name, address, telephone number, Social Insurance Number or date of birth). It would be too easy to guess;
  • When you use your Card or Electronic Access Device, block the keypad with your hand or body as you type in your Password. Never be afraid to appear overly cautious.
  • Perform your transactions only if you feel thoroughly comfortable. Ask people standing too close to you to step back to ensure your Password remains private. If you believe someone might have seen you enter your Password, change it immediately.

Best practices

  • Log out of your session and quit your browser after each time you use our Electronic Banking Solutions to prevent others from accessing your information;
  • Clear your cache regularly;
  • Beware of e-mails that appear to be sent by National Bank or MasterCard prompting you for personal information. Do not click on any hyperlinks and do not under any circumstances reply to the email sender with the personal information asked for;
  • Simply clicking on hyperlinks provided in these fraudulent e-mails can trigger the installation of malicious software without your knowledge that could compromise the security of your Electronic Access Device.

2.6 How do criminals find out someone's PIN?

The most common way criminals get someone's PIN is by using some subterfuge to watch cardholders entering their PIN (such as looking over their shoulder) at an ABM or when they use Direct Payment. That's why you shouldn't feel embarrassed to tell people to look away when you're performing a transaction. After all, your PIN is the key to your bank account. Further protect yourself with the Client Card's limit management feature.


3 - Banking operations

3.1 When I make a deposit at a banking machine, I'm not always able to access the funds I've deposited right away. Why does that happen?

When your Client Card is issued, you are assigned a deposit withdrawal rating based on your file. This rating determines how much you can withdraw from a deposit as well as the number of days the balance will be frozen. To find out your deposit withdrawal rating, ask at your branch or call TelNat at 1-888-4-TELNAT or (514) 394-5555.


3.2 Can I access my US$ account with my Client Card?

Unfortunately, no. The Client Card can access only CDN$ accounts.


4 - Chip technology

4.1 Chip technology

A smart card is embedded with a microchip that contains encrypted data. It is virtually impossible to reproduce or copy the microchip's information onto another card. This advanced technology makes your card even more secure, which means that it is better equipped to thwart fraud attempts.


4.2 How do I use my smart card?

Rather than swiping the card as you would with a magnetic stripe card, insert your smart card into the terminal. After inserting the card, enter your PIN to authorize the transaction. On a smart-card terminal, if the card is swiped to read the magnetic stripe, the terminal will indicate that the card must be inserted. The merchant can guide you or carry out the operation.

For transactions at merchants with a smart-card terminal :

  1. Rather than swiping the card, insert your smart card into the terminal.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions and enter your PIN to authorize the transaction. The card remains inserted in the terminal until the transaction is completed.
  3. After the transaction has been approved, remove your card from the terminal.

4.3 Does the magnetic stripe on the smart card still serve a purpose?

Yes. Since microchip technology is being rolled out progressively, not all merchants are equipped with a smart-card terminal. Your card's magnetic stripe will be used to complete transactions with those merchants. The magnetic stripe therefore remains essential for carrying out transactions worldwide.

In addition, certain regions of the world (e.g. United States) have not yet announced plans to switch over to smart cards. The magnetic stripe will therefore enable you to use your card in those regions.

Additional information

Starting October 1, 2016, only cards with chip technology will be accepted for debit transactions at point-of-sale terminals in Canada. 


4.4 How will the smart card's microchip technology change the way I use my card?

At merchant locations: Rather than swiping the card as you would with a magnetic stripe card, insert your smart Client Card into the smart-card terminal. After inserting the card, enter your PIN to authorize the transaction.

At automated banking machines: Proceed as you normally would by inserting your card into the banking machine and entering your PIN.


4.5 What are the benefits for consumers?

In addition to offering improved security, smart cards are more flexible, giving consumers access to a greater variety of service options in the future.


4.6 Will smart cards work outside the country?

Even after microchips are added to cards, the magnetic stripe currently found on the back of cards will continue to be included and operational since many countries, including the United States, have not yet switched over to smart card technology.


4.7 How will I know whether or not I can use my smart card?

Merchants are responsible for using the appropriate technology. A terminal designed to process chip transactions will use that technology by default for smart cards. If your card does not have a microchip or if the terminal is not smart-enabled, the merchant will swipe the card in the reader.


4.8 Where can I obtain more information about microship technology?

You can refer to the following websites, which are updated regularly :

  • ACT Canada:

4.9 When will National Bank begin issuing smart cards?

National Bank began issuing smart Client Cards in November 2010 on a progressive basis according to the timetable determined by the banking industry. All clients will be issued new smart Client Cards by December 2012.

Client Cards with a magnetic stripe remain a secure payment method and will continue to be accepted in Canada and abroad wherever smart-card technology is not yet available.


5 - This is the renewal of my previous card :

5.1 Can I continue to use the same PIN ?

Yes. You can use your existing PIN with your new smart card.


5.2 Do I have to change my card number when I log into National Bank's Internet Banking Solutions or Mobile Banking Solutions?

No. You do not have to make any changes to your Internet Banking Solutions and Mobile Banking Solutions.


5.3 Does my new card give me access to the same accounts and options as my old card?

Yes. You can still access the same accounts with the same options (Chequing, Savings, Other).


5.4 Have the usage limits for my card changed?

No, when you use your card, the limits for Direct Payment at merchants' points of sale, withdrawals at banking machines, and withdrawals against deposits at banking machines have not changed. However, it is now possible for you to personalize your purchases with merchants and banking machine withdrawal limits for transactions within Canada and abroad, thanks to the new limit management feature.


5.5 What should I do with my old card?

To avoid any risk of fraud, destroy your old card by cutting it in half so that you cut through the magnetic stripe. If your old card was a smart card, take extra precautions by also cutting up the microchip and throwing out the pieces in different locations.


6 - This is my first Client Card:

6.1 Which PIN should I use?

Start by using the PIN that we mailed you recently. To ensure that your PIN is easy for you to remember, choose a new PIN at one of our automated banking machines.


6.2 I would like to do my banking online by using Internet Banking Solutions. How do I sign up?

Simply go to our website at


7 - Managing the limits of the Client Card

7.1 Can you explain what you mean by managing the limits for my card?

You can now personalize your Client Card (with microchip or magnetic stripe) limits according to your needs, for increased security. You can temporarily modify any or all your Client Card limits :

  • Withdrawals at ABMs in Canada
  • Withdrawals at international ABMs
  • Purchases with merchants in Canada
  • Purchases with international merchants

Here are a few examples:

  • If you're leaving on vacation outside the country, you could temporarily reduce your limits within Canada for the time you'll be away to anywhere between $0 and the maximum already set by the Bank.
  • While you're in Canada, you could adjust your international limits to anywhere between $0 and the maximum already set by the Bank. You can also reduce your withdrawal and purchase limits within Canada and abroad at the same time, and you have the option of setting them at different amounts.

7.2 Why limit management since there is a microchip on the new Client Card?

Client Card fraud results mainly from cloning the information on the magnetic stripe and not the microchip. As long as all point-of-sale terminals worldwide have not converted to chip technology, the magnetic stripe is still necessary. By managing your limits, you can benefit from additional security to help you reduce the risk of fraud related to your card within Canada and abroad.


7.3 Can I decide for myself what my limits should be?

Yes. You can choose the amount you want, as long as it doesn't exceed the maximums already set by National Bank for your Client Card.


7.4 Can I choose any amount as my new limit?

Yes, as long as it's a whole number (no decimals) between $0 and the maximum set by the Bank


7.5 If I reduce one of my limits, does that mean that I'm also reducing the amounts available in my bank account for all other transactions, like my electronic funds transfers or cheques?

No. Only the limits related to the limit management feature are affected, namely, ABM withdrawals and merchant purchases. It does not affect the amounts available in your bank account.


7.6 Can I enjoy higher daily limits now?

The purpose of the maximum limits set by the Bank is to protect you by reducing the risk of fraud. The limits were set based on the type of transaction (withdrawal or purchase) and your client status (individual vs. business). We recommend that you abide by these maximums.

However, if your needs exceed the maximums allowed, you can submit a request to your branch, which would then forward it to the appropriate individual or group for analysis.


7.7 If I have a joint account and I reduce one or several of my Client Card limits, does that apply by default to my spouse's Client Card?

Limit management applies only to the Client Card used to make the changes. For instance, limit management for a joint account will affect only the ABM withdrawals and purchases of the client who owns the Client Card used to make the changes, not both account holders.


7.8 If I've linked my bank accounts to my National Bank MasterCard credit card, does limit management also apply to the ABM transactions I perform with my MasterCard?

If you have linked your bank accounts to your National Bank MasterCard credit card for making withdrawals at an ABM, no limit management can be done for transactions performed with this card at an ABM. Limit management is applicable only to Client Cards (debit cards).