Longtime readers know that I travel often and have encountered many issues with credit cards and problems with money abroad. I’ve even seen a different type of plastic: the chip-and-PIN card. Most European countries now use chip-and-PIN credit cards, which involve an extra layer of security. They are processed differently and use different card readers.
While many institutions in Europe are still set up to accept payments from both old-school magnetic swipe cards and new chip-and-PIN cards, an increasing number are not. U.S. travelers carrying old-school mag stripe cards are increasingly confronted with mass transit ticket dispensers and parking meters that don’t take the cards and puzzled looks or outright suspicion from store clerks unfamiliar with them.
So when CreditCards.com learned that United Nations Federal Credit Union is going to soon be the first U.S. financial institution to issue a chip-and-PIN credit card, I it was interested, and I was ecstatic! UNFCU has told us that they will launch the Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) toward the end of 2010.
I wanted to learn more about this major development, so I contacted Elisabeth Philippe, Business Development/PR Manager for UNFCU. She answered several questions for me via email. Read on to learn more about this exciting new product that will make it even easier for Americans traveling abroad!