I wrote an article in March about how to get a Chip & PIN card while living in the US. It’s surprisingly hard here, while in Europe they’re the norm. The USAA rewards World Mastercard offers a chip & PIN, in addition to having the magnetic strip for swipe purchases. However, when you initially apply for & get the card, it doesn’t have the chip & PIN function; you have to call in after you get it and ask for it specially.
(the rather ungainly non-chip USAA card)
The list of cards here in the US which have or which can get Chip & PIN capability is surprisingly small. Other than this, you have the PenFed Credit Union Promise Visa, the GlobeTrek Rewards card from AndrewsFCU, and for civilians, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card. Also, Chase announced recently that later this year, they’ll move to a Chip & PIN card. I think because of increased fraud, most companies will be moving this way eventually.
The other day, I received my USAA chip & PIN card in the mail. The initial card I received, the one without the chip & PIN (pictured above), was kind of homely. I opened the envelope for the new one, and BOOM!:
I don’t usually focus on the aesthetics of my panoply of cards, but this card is clean, simple, and beautiful! The only other card I can recall that caught me off-guard like this was the Chase Sapphire Preferred, partially because it’s made of metal.
Despite it’s beauty, I don’t think I’ll use it a whole lot, because it doesn’t offer any category bonuses and has a 1% foreign transaction fee (that USAA will waive if stationed abroad or deployed). But it’s always good to have in your pocket if you need a chip & PIN, like I did in Milan.