Chip & Pin

Most credit and debit cards in the United States are now issued with an EMV chip. This is due to a law that recently passed that encourages both banks and merchants to begin accepting the new cards.

The law states that if a card does not have a chip and a fraudulent purchase is made, the bank is liable. If a card with a chip is used for a purchase, but the merchant does not yet accept chip cards and the purchase was made by swiping the card, then the merchant is liable. This creates a race condition for both banks and merchants to begin using chip cards.

While this was a good step, we are still far behind Europe in using EMV chip technology. Most of the U.S. banks offer EMV chip cards with “Chip and Signature” technology. When using the chip, the purchaser must also sign the receipt. The other EMV chip technology is called “Chip and Pin” and, in my opinion, is much better.

1.) Faster – after inserting your card, you simply enter your PIN and the purchase is complete

2.) Environmentally friendlier – with a pin enabled card, only 1 receipt is printed out versus 2 with a signature card (1 receipt to sign and 1 to keep). Cuts down on paper used by at least 50%, a huge amount!

3.) No human interaction needed – you can make purchases from kiosks because you do not need to sign anything

Number 3 has proved to be the biggest positive for chip and pin during our European trip so far. There are kiosks everywhere that you can use to purchase train and bus tickets. To do so, you must use a chip and pin card. Luckily there is one larger bank that issues credit cards in the United States that has opted to use the chip and pin technology on a bunch of their cards. That bank is Barclays and, because of that, they may have just become my favorite bank (at least for European travel).

There have been countless times that we have been told that tickets are cheaper if you use a kiosk to buy them. Brittany and I both got the US Airways MasterCard right before Barclays stopped offering them. These were later turned into AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercards, which have the chip and pin technology. However, the default method with these cards is still signature, but if you are using it somewhere where a signature is not possible (like a Kiosk), then the card’s pin ability will become active. All you need to do is log into your Barclays account to set your pin online. This is something I recommend you do as soon as possible so you will not be caught in a situation where you need a chip and pin card and you either do not know your PIN, or have not set one yet.

The Aviator Red only offers 2 AA miles on American Airlines purchases and 1 AA mile elsewhere. I know I’m not getting the most points possible when using the card, which is killing me. This is making me look at other cards that come with chip and pin technology, such as the Barclays Barclaycard Arrival Plus, which has decent reviews. It may be time to try it out!

I highly recommend you look into getting a card with chip and pin technology before your next trip to Europe. 

Do you have any Chip and PIN enabled cards? What is your recommendation for Chip and PIN enabled cards?

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