Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chip-and-pin credit cards coming to America

Do you know what a "Chip-and-pin credit card" is?  Well, most of the world knows except a lot of American's.  But Chase Bank and Wells Fargo is set to change that.  A chip-and-pin credit card is a credit card with a little chip inside that gives out information about your card that you in turn enter a pin on to authorize.
America is the one county yet to embrace the new cards and when us American's travel elsewhere our old fashioned "swipe and sign" cards can sometimes be unusable.  American Express, MasterCard and Visa contracts require merchants anywhere in the world to accept any valid card, including stripe-and-sign cards issued in the U.S. 

And even in a chip-and-pin country, you can still use your U.S. card at most merchants hotels, restaurants, and such although you might have to push a bit. If you can find an attendant, you can have your card accepted.  But at some ATM's, train stations and other out of the way credit card spots your American card might not have a chance at working with their new machines.

For the moment Wells Fargo and Chase are bringing out the new cards in "test" markets but they're catching on and at least trying it out.  I expect other US banks to follow suit and soon, the entire globe will be chip & pin friendly.

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