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.
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.
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