American Express said Tuesday it will issue corporate cards with EMV-enabled microchips starting in the first half of this year.
The credit card issuer said it will start with its premium corporate portfolio. American Express did not offer EMV plans for its consumer credit cards, but company spokeswoman Desiree Fish said chip cards are available for its Platinum and Centurion cardholders.
The rollout of new EMV corporate AmEx cards comes as the U.S. payment landscape slowly transitions from magnetic stripe cards to chip cards that are widely used abroad. EMV cards contain security microchips that encrypt transaction data uniquely each time the cards are used. This makes it nearly impossible for fraudsters to counterfeit cards. (EMV is an acronym for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the developers of the technology standard.)
Visa started the shift in August 2011 when it presented deadlines for U.S. retailers and the companies that set up retailers' card processors to be able to take chip cards. MasterCard, Discover and American Express all followed with similar roadmaps last year.
The first deadline was this month. Card processors were required by all four payment networks to support EMV chip cards by April 2013. In two years, retailers who don't accept EMV cards for the majority of their transactions will take on the fraud liability from traditional magnetic stripe cards. Before, the payment networks took on that liability. Gas stations have until 2017 to make the shift.
Credit card issuers also are riding the bandwagon. Major banks have rolled out chip cards for business and leisure travelers in the last 18 months since Visa's first announcement. Some American travelers have run into problems using their mag-stripe cards overseas. Often, these cards aren't accepted abroad at unmanned gas stations, train kiosks, toll booths or in rural areas.
Have you gotten a chip card yet? Have you had any problems using it?
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