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Chase adds third EMV card

By Janna Herron ·
Monday, November 21, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

Worried about getting stuck at an unmanned European tollbooth because of your old-school credit card? Fortunately, there's one more chip and PIN credit card for U.S. globetrotters to help you avoid that snafu.

Chase on Monday rolled out its new British Airways Visa Card that features the EMV technology popular abroad and the traditional magnetic stripe commonly used stateside. The card joins Chase's J.P. Morgan Select Visa Signature credit card and J.P. Morgan Palladium credit card to offer that technology.

Another perk for travelers: The British Airways Visa Card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. The card also earns 2.5 Avios, the card's airline currency, for every $1 spent on British Airways. All other purchases earn 1.25 Avios for every $1.

EMV-enabled cards -- nicknamed for its creators Europay, MasterCard and Visa -- have an embedded microprocessor chip that encrypts transaction data uniquely every time the card is used. That makes it much harder for thieves to skim useable data from the card and clone it for counterfeit use.

The other benefit of EMV cards for U.S. consumers is convenience. These cards are the industry standard in most of Europe and Asia, and they're becoming widely adopted in Latin America and Africa. Some U.S. travelers have reported problems paying with their stripe-and-swipe cards at overseas train station kiosks, gas stations or other unmanned machines. Merchants in more rural areas may also accept only EMV cards.

Issuers have responded to these hassles confronted by frequent travelers and corporate executives by introducing dual-purpose cards for business and leisure travelers.

Since April, U.S. Bank, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and, most recently, Bank of America and PNC have increased their EMV-enabled card offerings.

Visa and MasterCard have also put their weight toward EMV adoption in the U.S. MasterCard is asking owners of U.S. ATMs to upgrade their machines by April 2013 to accept the cards.

Visa is going further. The credit card company will waive an industry security fee if three-quarters of a retailer's sales are Visa EMV transactions. Not stopping there, Visa said it will shift fraud liability to retailers if they can't accept EMV cards by October 2015. (Gas stations have until October 2017.)

Still, it remains to be seen if the entire credit and debit card landscape in the U.S. will transition to EMV cards. In the meantime, tell me if you've ever had trouble while traveling.

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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January 08, 2012 at 10:00 am

As an American living in Europe I'm finding it's becoming more and more difficult to use my Chase debit card for purchases in stores. So far Chase isn't offering any debit cards with chip and pin. Hope they'll do it soon - much more secure and becoming a necessity for me for daily shopping.

Thomas Willson
January 04, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I was unable to buy food on a Eurostar Italia train with a traditional magnetic card. Chip-and-Pin only...

November 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm

No. I will wait for my high rewards issuer to (hopefully) convert. I care more about the rewards I get. The card you described only pays 1.25%.

Janna Herron
November 22, 2011 at 10:41 am

@Ray: Thanks for sharing your real-life experience using a magnetic stripe card in Europe. Are you considering adding a dual stripe and EMV card to your wallet?

November 22, 2011 at 10:30 am

Just came from Europe. Wanted to by a round trip ticket for a high speed train from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Cologne, Germany for about 140 Euros. No magnetic cards accepted. The clerk at the Amsterdam Central Station(patiently) waited while I ran to the ATM (all stressed out). Also, attempted to pay for parking with my magnetic card. The machine asked for a pin number, so I figured it wouldn't take my magnetic. All very annoying and inconvenient, especially for someone like myself who has a card with no foriegn exchange fees and wants to "rack up points". Had no trouble in airports or museums.