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Citi adds EMV to corporate cards

By Janna Herron ·
Monday, August 15, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

Citi corporate travelers won't have their overseas purchases rejected because of old school credit card magnetic strips.

The credit card company said last week it's launching its Citi Corporate Chip and PIN card, which features an embedded EMV-enabled microprocessor commonly accepted outside of the U.S. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the developers of the technology.

The EMV cards will be rolled out in phases starting this month.

"Many of our clients are leading multinational organizations with cardholders that travel extensively," says Julie Monaco, head of Citi's North America global transaction services, in a press release. "They require a payment product that can meet their needs wherever their business takes them."

Many American globetrotters have found that their traditional magnetic stripe cards are turned down by retailers, train station kiosks and vending machines in other countries.

EMV cards also are considered more secure because the account data are encrypted in a different way for each transaction. That makes it harder for thieves to get ahold of useful data, says Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, a nonprofit association working to spread the adoption of smart card technology.

Citi's announcement comes after Visa last week said it's pushing incentives to get retailers to accept EMV cards stateside. It will waive the fee to validate a retailer's compliance with industry security standards each year if three-fourths of transactions come from Visa EMV cards.

Other card issuers have jumped on chip-and-PIN board this year. U.S. Bank, Chase and Wells Fargo have introduced EMV-enabled credit cards.

Is this the wave of the future for U.S. credit cards? Sound off.

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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