Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

We're upgrading the Forums!

You can now add or change a profile photo. Simply click on your username above and upload an image. User blogs will be added back very soon.

advertisement

Forums » Currency & Credit Cards » Chip &Pin Questions

Pages:
Avatar

Chip &Pin Questions

by Travel Rob »

PHeymont has been great over the years filling us in on the latest Chip and Pin Credit cards for Americans.I'm hoping he can post his latest info and others can as well.. Although I bought a European Travelex before,I still haven't gotten a Chip and Pin from the US Hopefully I will test out one of the Credit Unions,but I need to see all the info again.Thanks.

Avatar

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by Travel Rob »

 PHeymont-Thanks what a comprehensive answer!.I'm glad the info is back up.

Dr Fumblefinger-Good to hear the Chip and Pin Cards are  working well in Canada.

Avatar

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by PHeymont »

A lot has happened since the first chip-and-PIN posts on these boards about three years ago; at that point, there was not a single card issuer in the U.S. issuing cards with the little chip that was already on nearly every credit and debit card in Europe, and was being added in Canada. In fact, U.S. issuers were resisting mightily. The picture has changed.

The reason this matters to travelers, of course, is that U.S. travelers visit places where chip-and-PIN is the norm, and even though in most (not all!) situations, a U.S. swipe-and-sign card will work, there are increasing places where it won't, especially in automated ticket machines, unattended gas stations and parking lots, toll booths and more. And, where clerks are unfamiliar with the fact that they can still swipe it...well, who wants to stand there, holding up the line and waiting for a manager to come and explain when you really want to be done and on your vacation.

For those who haven't followed the issue, the chip (called an EMV chip for the developers of the protocol, Europay, MasterCard and Visa) is a small electronic device embedded in a credit card. At the point of sale, the card is inserted in a slot, and the terminal asks the user to enter a 4-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) on the pad. If it matches the PIN encoded on the chip, the transaction is approved; if not...then not! It was designed to be more secure than the familiar magnetic stripe and signature. The mag stripe can be fairly easily cloned, and nothing verifies signatures except the eye of the (often woefully negligent) attendant at the register. Also, it allows verification even if the network is down...because the two elements required, the chip and the PIN, are both present.

Because it is much more secure, it has not only reduced credit card fraud in the countries where it has been adopted, it has also driven signature/swipe based fraud to the remianing places where swipe-and-sign is king--including especially the U.S. For that reason, both Visa and MasterCard have put chip-based plans in place for the U.S., and you'll be seeing more and more in the next 18 months or so, because Visa, MC, Amex and Discover have set dates for a "liability shift," meaning that any transaction that is not done in the most secure way available (chip) that goes bad will be the responsibility of the merchant, not the card-issuer. As part of this, all the networks that handle card data were required to certify by last month that they are able to handle the data. If you want to follow all the details, here's a useful link.
http://www.emv411.com/2013/03/08/waivers-mandates-liability-shifts-my/

Aside from the card networks, large merchants have also been pushing for an EMV shift in the U.S. Target and Walmart in particular have been vocal on the issue, and were among the earliest to make all their new point-of-sale equipment capable of reading cards. Now, new cardreaders are popping up everywhere...take a look at the ones where you are swiping your card now; nearly every new one also has a slot in the front edge (sometimes filled with a plastic insert) just waiting for the EMV system to be turned on.

In the meantime, card issuers are slowly slipping their feet into the waters, mostly for high-end cards used by business or frequent travelers--and mostly NOT chip-and-PIN, but chip-and-signature. This is less secure, but cheaper. An individual PIN doesn't need to be encoded in the chip, just the bank and account information, and therefore a change of PIN doesn't require the card be either replaced, or brought to a site with a machine that can write the new PIN physically to the card. But it is less secure, because we're back to the (often busy or negligent) salesclerk as the front-line of verification. PIN-based terminals print receipts for the customer; when a non-PIN card with EMV is used, it will generate a signature receipt for you to sign. Usually, but not in unmanned or automated situations where there is no one to check your signature!

Chip-and-signature cards are now available at consumer level from a number of issuers, including Citibank, Chase, Wells Fargo and USBank among others--but you may have to poke around and ask questions before you find the person who knows. Amex also issues some cards with EMV. But the gold standard--chip AND PIN--is still rare here. Several credit unions issue them, including State Department Federal Credit Union and Andrews Federal Credit Union. Both require an affiliation, but that can be met by joining (for free) a consumer advocacy organization (details on their websites). The SDFCU card, however, while it has a PIN, is set to be "signature priority," which means it will default to signature except where that doesn't work and will then ask for a PIN.

At this point, the one issuer I know of that is issuing PIN priority, true chip-and-PIN cards that work exactly like their European or Canadian counterparts in substantial quantity is USAA Federal Credit Union. USAA itself is a mutual insurance organization open only to military, retired military and present or former dependents, but the card is NOT limited to USAA members. Details at
http://www.usaa.com

Avatar
drfumblefinger

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by drfumblefinger »

In moving to Canada this past year, I became fully emersed in the Chip and Pin system, which is vastly superior to our stripe and swip cards I was used to.

I'm not sure why USA banks have been so far behind in this, but it would be nice if everyone converted their cards to this technology.  It's a safer and securer system for the credit card user and for the banks that issue them.

Avatar
yostwl

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by yostwl »

We just returned from a 10-day (8 nights) trip to Paris.  Our USAA chip and pin card worked fine.  One issue I have is that it takes noticeably longer for the system to process a chip and pin transaction than a signature transaction.  They need to get that part speeded up.

Avatar

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by PHeymont »

Glad to hear it went well, but I'm surprised it seemed to take longer than the swipe--I had the opposite impression with that card in Iceland a couple of months ago. Was the signature transaction you compared to a swipe-and-sign, or chip-and-sign? My comparison was between my USAA card and the chip-and-sign Chase Visa I also have.

PS: yostwl--are you the poster formerly under Bill Yost? If so, glad to see you back...if not, just glad to see you!

Avatar

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by pdhenry »

My Andews FCU card is also Chip-and-PIN capable but works with signature priority in the way you describe the SDFCU card.

Avatar
kringenwally

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by kringenwally »

Read this and be amazed how US citizens are in peril while credit-card issuers are dragging their feet about the chips:

www.abcnews.go.com/international/t/story/world-grapples-rise-cyber-crime-19158888

It's being syndicated by Associated Press, all over, might be in your local Sunday paper right now.

Avatar

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by PHeymont »

This is one of the moments in life when one begins to wish for a large bat and authority to swing it...or at least to be able to lead a march of torch-bearing peasants to the castle...the reluctance of the U.S. payments industry to make the shift is so patently dysfunctional that the shift that will take place over the next three years is happening only because Visa and MasterCharge are holding a liability shift over the heads of merchants and issuers.

Their action (or inaction, really) hurts not just in the U.S., although the U.S. has become the happy-hunting ground for mag-stripe based fraud. As long as the U.S. holds out, and others can say "after they do," everyone's cards will continue to have the mag-stripe security hole. The major European payment-industry associations have asked to begin removing it, but can't yet.

 

Avatar
lauramoranz

RE: Chip &Pin Questions

by lauramoranz »

Andrews Federal is the only place I could find to get a true Chip N Pin card. Most banks only offer Chip N Signature cards.

One complaint about Andrews though. Beware and apply for Credit Card months before you travel!!!!! I applied back in March 2013... here it is end of May and still no card. Am being told it's being processed but could take 3 weeks for delivery since it is manufactured in Canada. That puts us too late before we leave to have the cards.

The problems have been….you must become a member of the bank 1st, and then apply for card. Then they send out documents via email for you to sign and I didn’t' understand that both me and my husband were sent 2 separate emails with places for our signatures. I assumed mine was the only one sent and thought it curious when I was the only one made to sign. Sent it off anyways, no follow ups from them or anything. Called back 2 weeks later to learn my husband had an email too (went to spam). Once I signed it and sent it off I guess it was approved finally. But Andrews has no communication with you and it's all on your end to make sure the application and cards are being processed. Call them weekly!!!!! Just disappointed that they didn't contact me in any way to let me know status of application.

Pages:
advertisement