Intro: What is meant to help stave off credit card fraud might actually hinder Americans traveling abroad.
EMV chip card technology is used in more than 80 countries around the world. Instead of a magnetic strip on the back of the card, these cards have embedded microchips that better protect card and purchase information. Some EMV chip cards require a PIN to verify and complete a transaction, while others only ask for a signature.
However, with U.S. standards still not completely adopting the EMV technology, Americans traveling abroad may have some trouble using their credit cards at unattended payment kiosks or with store clerks that don't know how to process magnetic strip cards.
After listening to some of the difficulties their customers have gone through overseas, some U.S. banks are catching up and rolling out EMV-enabled credit cards. Chase issues JP Morgan Palladium credit cards with both the standard U.S. magnetic strip and chip technology so cardholders can use the card domestically and internationally.
Wells Fargo is pilot testing the Visa Smart Card, which will also include a magnetic strip and chip technology. Bank of America, Citi and U.S. Bank also have introduced EMV credit cards for either leisure or corporate travelers.
Not having the chip technology in your wallet won't force you to forego your European vacation ... it just takes extra effort on your part to plan ahead.
While most merchants accept nonchip cards, it's best to prepare for the unexpected.
Call your credit card company to let them know you'll be traveling overseas ... so they don't place a freeze on your credit card, suspecting unusual activity.
While you're on the phone, inquire about chip technology to see if it's available for international travel. Carrying the local currency is one surefire way to ensure that you don't wind up unable to pay for a toll or train or even dinner.
As mentioned before, automated kiosks seem to be where the real trouble lies, so try to find an attendant who can help you. That means preparing yourself for a wait or planning ahead and buying travel tickets in advance.
Tag: Taking extra precautions while traveling overseas is the smartest thing you can do ... no matter how you pay for the trip. For more on credit cards, visit Bankrate.com.