U.S. Credit Cards with Chip and PIN Technology

Credit cards with chip and PIN technology have been popular in Europe but are only beginning to come to the United States.We recently received word from a reader wanting to know if any credit cards issued by U.S. Banks have the “chip and PIN” technology that is standard in Europe and other parts of the world. The reader noted that when traveling in the U.K. a few years ago, many retailers refused to accept a card that didn’t have this feature.

What is ‘chip and pin’ technology?

Chip and PIN is actually a brand name (like Visa or MasterCard), that banks in the U.K. adopted to refer to new smart payment system on credit and debit cards. The high-tech cards feature an RFID computer chip embedded in the plastic that allows retailers to read the card by proximity rather than requiring them to physically swipe a card with a magnetic stripe. All chip and PIN cards also require a personal identification number (PIN) common to U.S. debit cards but not credit cards.

Using credit cards with chip and PIN is even easier than swiping a magnetic stripe card because you simply wave the card at a reader — no contact is required. Then, instead of signing a receipt (a signature is easily forged, assuming the cashier even bothers to check), you enter a private PIN number just as you do with a debit card in the U.S. today.

U.S. credit cards with chip and PIN technology

Although U.S. banks have not yet adopted the chip and PIN system for domestic use, some have started to offer cards marketed towards foreign travelers. Here’s a partial list:

We recommend the

Both these cards offer generous travel rewards and other benefits.

Other U.S. credit cards offering chip and PIN technology with higher annual fees include:

I’ll bet we’ll start seeing some more Chip and PIN cards rolling out in the States in the next couple years.


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