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.


Posted by glenn | 8 Comments

8 responses to “A Damn Sexy Credit Card Arrived in my Mailbox!”

  1. Quinn says:

    I’ve been using my Citi AAdvantage Executive card exclusively trying to hit $10k in spend. More and more merchants have been inserting the card into the machine instead of swiping it. I thought it was only a European thing, but I’ve had my card inserted 5 times so far this week, including Wal Mart!

    • Andy says:

      @Quinn – right on man, I’m loving that card. I wrote a post a couple weeks ago on how you can qualify for 2 of them. If it’s still around at the beginning of June, I’m going to apply for my 3rd card…yes I’m insane.

  2. ctbarron says:

    Got mine a month or two ago and used it in London. It’s handy for kiosks and the like where a swipe or chip/sig don’t work. Due to the fee, however, I used other cards when possible.

    • Andy says:

      @ctbarron – remember if you’re stationed overseas, USAA will waive that foreign transaction fee. If you’re just on vacay however, it’d be a harder sell.

  3. Ben says:

    This one is staying in my wallet! I have a 5% cash back on gas stations for twelve months.

  4. Ting says:

    The Barclays Arrivals Card now offers Chip and World Elite MasterCard Status!

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