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Great Travel Tool: Banks Offering Smart Chip/EMV Credit Cards
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Great Travel Tool: Banks Offering Smart Chip/EMV Credit Cards

by jeffreyJune 24, 2014

A few months ago I wrote about the advantages of getting a credit card or debit card with EMV or “Smart Chip” technology (Great Travel Tool: Get a Credit Card with a Chip). Check out the post for more info on why you need one for traveling. I also included a brief list of U.S. banks and financial institutions that have recently started offering this new technology but now have a more comprehensive list. Check out the list, there’s a good chance that a card that you already have is now offering a chip and all you have to do is call up and ask for one.

Where to Get One

Chip-and-PIN

A true Chip-and-PIN card offers the ultimate in security (including in the U.S.) and flexibility when traveling abroad. Unfortunately, there are very few banks offer a true chip-and-PIN card, and they will all charge you a foreign transaction fee (between 1% and 5.5%).

  • USAA cards – only available on certain MasterCards – you must be eligible to join USAA to open an account!
    • USAA Platinum MasterCard – 1% FTX fee
    • USAA World MasterCard – 1% FTX fee
    • USAA Secured Cards – 1% FTX fee
    • USAA Rate Advantage MasterCard – 1% fee FTX fee
  • UNFCU (United Nations Federal Credit Union) – must join the United Nations Association to join the Credit Union, membership is $25
    • UNFCU Visa Elite – 1% FTX fee + $50 annual fee
  • Travelex – Prepaid Debit Card

Chip-and-PIN secondary (Chip-and-Signature technology is primary)

The following offer a Chip and PIN option, but it’s secondary. This means that you don’t get the full security of the PIN because a signature will work but if a PIN is required you’ll still be able to use it. Given that this category offers a few 0% foreign transaction fee cards, it’s currently the best choice for picking a card today.

  • 0% foreign transaction fee + $0 annual fee:
  • Andrews Federal Credit Union – “Free” to join with a $5 donation to the American Consumer Council
    • GlobeTrek Rewards – 0% FTX fee
  • Bank of America
    • BankAmericard Travel Rewards – 0% FTX fee
  • PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) – anyone can join with $15-$20 donation-how to join PenFed
    • PenFed Promise Visa Card – 0% FTX fee
    • PenFed Gold Visa Card – 0% FTX fee
  • State Department Federal Credit Union – Anyone can join with a $5 donation to the American Consumer Council
    • Visa Platinum – 0% FTX fee
  • 0% foreign transaction fee + $25-$125 annual fee:
  • Barclaycard
    • Arrival+ – 0% FTX fee + $89 annual fee
    • Hawaiian Airlines – 0% FTX fee + $89 annual fee
  • Citibank
    • ThankYou Premier – 0% FTX fee + $125 annual fee
  • PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) – anyone can join with $15-$20 donation-how to join PenFed
    • Platinum Cash Rewards – 0% FTX fee + $25 annual fee
  • 1-3% foreign transaction fee + $0 annual fee:
  • Citibank
    • ThankYou Preferred – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Diamond Preferred – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • Commerce Bank – must apply in person at a branch (States: CO, IL, KS, MO, OK, OH, TN)
    • Commerce Bank VISA Signature – 1% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • Wells Fargo
    • Wells Fargo Platinum – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Wells Fargo Rewards – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Wells Fargo Cash Back – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • Wings Financial Credit Union – open to all
    • VISA Signature – 1% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee + $50-$85 annual fee:
  • Citibank
    • AAdvantage Gold – 3% FTX fee + $50 annual fee
    • AAdvantage Platinum – 3% FTX fee + $85 annual fee

Chip-and-Signature

Here are some of the major US credit cards that are already offering a Chip and Signature card (and have no foreign transaction fees!):

  • 0% foreign transaction fee + $0 annual fee:
  • None available!
  • 0% foreign transaction fee + $25-$450 annual fee:
  • American Express
    • Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card  – 0% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
    • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card  – 0% FTX fee + $195 annual fee
    • Platinum Card from American Express  – 0% FTX fee + $450 annual fee
    • Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express  – 0% FTX fee + $450 annual fee
  • Bank of America
    • BankAmericard Privileges with Travel Rewards
  • Chase
    • Marriott Rewards Premier  – 0% FTX fee + $85 annual fee
    • British Airways – 0% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
    • J.P. Morgan Select – 0% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
    • Ritz-Carlton – 0% FTX fee + $395 annual fee
    • J.P. Morgan Palladium – 0% FTX fee + $595 annual fee
    • Sapphire Preferred – 0% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
  • Citibank
    • Hilton Honors Reserve – 0% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
    • Prestige – 0% FTX fee + $400 annual fee
    • AAdvantage Executive – 0% FTX fee + $450 annual fee
  • City National Bank
    • Crystal – 0% FTX fee + $400 annual fee
  • PNC
    • PNC Premier Traveler Reserve – 0% FTX fee + $395 annual fee
    • PNC Premier Traveler – 0% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
  • 1-3% foreign transaction fee + $0 annual fee:
  • American Express
    • Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card – 2.7% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Blue Sky from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Hilton HHonorsTM Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Blue from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • Bank of America
    • AAA Member Rewards – 2% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Royal Caribbean – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Norwegian Cruise Line – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • BankAmericard Cash Rewards – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • BankAmericard – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • BankAmericard Power Rewards – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • Citibank
    • Platinum Select – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Dividend – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Simplicity – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Forward – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • City National Bank
    • Platinum  – 3% FTX fee (0% for New York residents) + $0 annual fee
  • Fidelity
    • Fidelity AMEX – 1% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
    • Fidelity Visa – 3% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • Star One Credit Union
    • Visa Classic – 1% FTX fee + $0 annual fee
  • 1-3% foreign transaction fee + $30-$99 annual fee:
  • American Express
    • American Express Serve – 2.7% FTX fee + $12 annual fee
    • JetBlue Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $40 annual fee
    • The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $65 annual fee
    • Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $75 annual fee
    • Blue Sky Preferred Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $75 annual fee
    • Hilton HHonorsTM Surpass Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $75 annual fee
    • Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card – 2.7% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
    • American Express Green Card – 2.7% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
    • The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express – 2.7% FTX fee + $95 annual fee
    • American Express Gold Card – 2.7% FTX fee + $125 annual fee
    • American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card – 2.7% FTX fee + $175 annual fee
  • Bank of America
    • Virgin Atlantic White Card – 1% FTX fee + $49 annual fee
    • Virgin Atlantic Black Card – 1% FTX fee + $90 annual fee
    • Asiana Airlines – 1% FTX fee + $99 annual fee
    • BankAmericard Privileges with Cash Rewards – 3% FTX fee + $75 annual fee
    • Alaska Airlines – 3% FTX fee + $35 annual fee
    • Hawaiian Airlines – 3% FTX fee + $50 annual fee
  • City National Bank
    • Signature  – 3% FTX fee (0% for New York residents) + $30 annual fee
  • US Bank
    • FlexPerks Travel Rewards – 3% FTX fee + $49 annual fee
    • KoreanAir SkyPass Classic – 3% FTX fee + $50 annual fee
    • KoreanAir SkyPass Secured – 3% FTX fee + $50 annual fee
    • KoreanAir SkyPass Signature – 3% FTX fee + $80 annual fee

Top Picks

The main problem with the current offerings in the true Chip-and-PIN section is that none of the strong rewards programs are participating. I.e. no Chase, American Express, hotels or airline cards and there are no cards with 0% FTX fee. Given this, my personal preference is to pick a card from the 0% foreign transaction fee + $0 annual fee category where Chip-and-PIN is available, but secondary technology. For example, the Bank of American BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. This would likely cover me if trying to use a kiosk in Europe that requires a PIN.

bankamericard_travel_rewards_credit_card-300x184

Then, since I don’t mind paying an annual fee, I would get a card that has a strong rewards program and 0% FTX fee. A good example of this is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for $95 annually + 0% FTX fees. You earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to many hotels (United, British Airways, etc…) and hotels (Hyatt, Marriott, etc…).  This card offers Chip-and-Signature technology so I’d be able to use it at a majority of vendors but would always have the Chip-and-PIN card as a backup.

sapphire_preferred_card

BOTTOM LINE: A slew of U.S. financial institutions have jumped on the chip credit card bandwagon, and more will soon join. My top pick? I don’t mind paying an annual fee for a credit card with a good rewards program and currently use the Chase Sapphire Preferred for most of my purchases.

About The Author
jeffrey
jeffrey