America’s Best EMV ‘Chip-with-Signature’ Credit Cards


Attention globetrotters and gadabouts! Vagabonds and voyagers! Wanderers and wayfarers! Don’t let your incompatible American magstripe credit card hinder your international travels. For purchases outside the States, you’ll often need an EMV chip-with-signature credit card to make purchases and pay for services.

EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards are nearly identical to the typical American credit card, but they contain a secure microchip for transmitting data. EMV cards offer a higher level of security and have become the standard in many parts of Western Europe – to the point where some merchants don’t accept our antiquated magnetic stripe technology. Here are the current American chip-with-signature EMV cards along with a few tips for making the right selection. Be sure to check out our list of no foreign transaction fee credit cards to save big on international travel.

Table of Contents

NerdWallet’s top pick: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® features an EMV chip with PIN capability for wider acceptance overseas (most EMV cards in the U.S. are solely chip-and-signature). It offers 2x miles on every $1 spent, which can be redeemed for travel purchases made anywhere. If you redeem your rewards for statement credit on travel purchases, you’ll receive 10% miles back. On top of that, it rewards you with an awesome signup bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has no foreign transaction fees and gives you online access to your FICO score. It’s a fantastic card for the traveler who wants to book travel on his or her own terms and wants the PIN option for overseas trips.

Example image of Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

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  • High rewards rate
  • 0% on balance transfers for 12 months (must be completed within first forty-five days of account opening)


  • Has annual fee

Sign-up Bonus

Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.

Intro APR Promotions

0% on balance transfers for 12 months (must be completed within first forty-five days of account opening)


  • APR: 14.99% or 18.99%* Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 27.24%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Annual Fee

$89 - Waived first year

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases - Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • Redeem your miles for travel statement credits - redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

The runner up: BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is a great card, but the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card is nothing to sneeze at, either. It provides a rare “triple crown” of benefits for the fee-conscious, international traveler – no foreign transaction fees, no annual fee, and chip technology. That’s tough to beat! Plus, it offers a generous rewards rate: You’ll earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on purchases – no gimmicks, no complications.

When it comes time to redeem your points, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card makes it easy to get the most out of your rewards. This is because all you have to do is book your travel as you normally would, then go online to the Bank of America travel rewards website and redeem your points for a statement credit toward those travel purchases. As few as 2,500 points can be redeemed for air travel, hotel bookings, rental cars, cruises – even baggage fees. Also, if you don’t have enough points to pay for the whole amount of your plane ticket or hotel stay, that’s fine – you can redeem your available points for a partial travel credit.

Example image of BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

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Apply Now on Bank of America's secure website

Sign-up Bonus

Online exclusive 10,000 bonus points if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days- that can be $100 towards travel purchases.

Intro APR Promotions

0%* on purchases for 12 billing cycles*


  • APR: 14.99% - 22.99% Variable* on purchases & balance transfers
  • Penalty APR: Up to See Terms, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms, Variable

Annual Fee


Card Details

  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 on every purchase, every time with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees†
  • Online exclusive 10,000 bonus points if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be $100 towards travel purchases
  • Book travel as you normally would and go online or call to redeem your points for a statement credit toward all or part of your travel purchases
  • Redeem points to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees with no blackout dates
  • No limit to the total number of points you can earn and points don't expire
  • Bank of America customers: Earn an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 14.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

All in all, this card is a great choice!

Honorable mention: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card not only offers an EMV chip and no foreign transaction fee, it also provides a killer signup bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. This bonus is worth 25% more when you redeem for travel booked through Chase. Moreover, it earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining in restaurants and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere, also eligible for the 25% points boost. That boosts your rewards rate to up to 2.50% on dining and travel and 1.25% elsewhere. For a frequent traveler, the Sapphire Preferred offers a solid value on every travel purchase and flexibility in redemption.

Example image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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Apply Now on Chase's secure website


  • No foreign transaction fee


  • Has annual fee

Sign-up Bonus

Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Intro APR Promotions



  • APR: 15.99% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 19.24%, Variable

Annual Fee

Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

We give the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card the honorable mention because, while it’s a fantastic card, it only has chip-and-signature capability. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has PIN-support for the EMV chip, giving it a competitive edge over the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, as chip-and-PIN cards are the standard in many countries around the world. Check out our head-to-head comparison of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to decide which is best for you.

How to use your EMV credit card

The process for using an EMV credit card is different than using a magstripe card, but you’ll catch on quickly. Instead of swiping, insert your card into the terminal and leave it there. Then follow the prompts of the terminal screen and wait to remove your card until the receipt begins printing. Just be careful not to leave your card behind! It may take some time to get used to using your EMV card, but the extra security the card provides will be well worth the transition from swiping to “dipping.”

List of American EMV chip-and-signature credit cards

Current as of Sept. 25, 2014

Below is a comprehensive list of all the American credit, debit and prepaid cards with EMV compatibility. Are we missing any? Let us know in the comments below!

Worldwide EMV adoption rates by region

Not entirely sure you need an EMV credit card? Here are EMV adoption numbers for regions around the world. As the data demonstrates, the EMV system has the strongest presence in western Europe, which includes the likes of Germany, Spain, France, Italy and England. While useful for adventures anywhere around the globe, chip-with-signature cards are absolutely vital to the success of Europe-bound travelers.

Region EMV Credit Cards EMV Terminals
Number Percent Number Percent
Western Europe & Greenland 794 million 81.6% 12.2 million 99.9%
Eastern Europe, Central Asia & Russia 84 million 24.4% 1.4 million 91.2%
Canada, Latin America & the Carribbean 741 million 54.4% 7.1 million 84.7%
Africa & the Middle East 77 million 38.9% 699 thousand 86.3%
Asia Pacific 942 million 17.4% 15.6 million 71.7%
Total 2.64 billion 45% 37 million 76%

Source (EMV cards and terminals by region): EMVCo, reporting on Q4 of 2013

Source (percent EMV cards and terminals): The Economist, data current as of 2012

Worldwide acceptance: Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express?

Visa or MasterCard? In all honesty, it makes little difference. Visa is the world’s most widely accepted payment network, but MasterCard follows in a close second. Most travelers won’t perceive a difference. Discover and American Express are another story. They are accepted by fewer merchants in fewer countries. Fun fact, though: Discover is generally regarded as the best option for travel to China. Due to a contract with UnionPay (China’s only domestic bank card organization), Discover is the most prevalent payment network in the country.

Acceptance rate isn’t the only factor to consider, however. Foreign transaction fees can make a huge difference. Usually, these fees charge an additional 3% on every international purchase. MasterCard, Visa and American Express all offer cards with or without these fees (always read the fine print). Discover generously waives the fee altogether, making it the only network to shun foreign transaction fees altogether.

Each network offers its own unique collection of travel benefits. These are perks like purchase protection, roadside assistance and rental car insurance. Visa and MasterCard offer similar packages, though Visa offers wider return protection and better “Loss of Use” coverage on car rental insurance. For even more perks, look into getting a Visa Signature card. American Express is definitely the leader when it comes to bonus benefits with superior purchase and return protection. Of the four networks, Discover comes in last — no loss of use coverage on rental cars, no concierge service and no purchase or return protection.

List of countries that accept Discover

International travelers will almost always do do better with Visa or MasterCard, but if you’re stuck with Discover, you can still survive in a fair number of countries. Keep in mind, these countries do not necessarily have a high acceptance rate. These are merely nations that accept Discover in any capacity.

Notice the list does not include Belgium, France, India, Chile, Bolivia, Australia or the Netherlands among others.

Countries currently accepting Discover
North America
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • USA
South America
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
Central America
  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Mainland China
  • Japan
The Caribbean
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saba
  • St. Eustatius
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Martin/ St. Maarten
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
  • Turks & Caicos
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Israel
  • Russia
  • New Zealand
  • Morocco
  • South Africa
  • Steve Thomas

    If the banks were forced to pay the person who’s card was hacked 500.00 dollars for their in-convience and wasted time they would probably change over to the chip faster

  • Bloemberg

    For real security, at least as far as the cardholder is concerned, the only thing that makes sense is an EMV card with the PIN feature rather than signature. That’s not so much because signatures can be forged. In the USA, since no cashier even looks for a signature on the back of the card anymore, let alone comparing the card signature with the charge slip signature. All the cashier cares for is ensuring that the charge slip is signed. In Europe, almost every place where I tried to use my EMV card refused to accept it because they were set up only for PINs. As a result, their sales are handled much faster at their cashier terminals than in the U.S., with enhanced security for the customer. In many places, and not only at gas pumps, there were no cashiers at all – you simply scan your purchases, swipe your card, enter your PIN, and you are done.

    After returning home, I discovered that most of the U.S. banks did not want the hassle (and especially the expense) of replacing merchants’ card machines with updated versions that have PIN keypads for customer entry. Maybe the EMV cards with signatures protect the merchants and the banks, but for us consumers they are no more secure than our existing magnetic cards.

    The so-called PIN numbers that have always been available for use with existing charge cards are not EMV-type PINs. They are only for purposes of using charge cards to borrow cash – at exorbitant interest rates. They make no sense for most of us who have ATM or bank debit cards.

    • Donald Wilson

      It’s misleading to assert that EMV cards are no more secure than existing cards. Yes, during the ramp up to an upgraded system where EMV will be ubiquitous there are similar risks as non-EMV cards. But as the deployment speeds up and more consumers use the EMV method, they will become safer. Just like Debit transactions, the EMV card is useless if the pin is not known. This is far safer than swipe transactions where anyone can draw a squiggle on a terminal assuming the transaction is higher than some no-signature-required threshold. Because of this, when I travel abroad the only card I carry is my EMV enabled USAA MasterCard.

      Only in the USA are the banks on the hook for fraud. Everywhere else in the world it’s the consumer or the merchant depending on who’s at fault. 99% of the merchants outside of the US will not accept a swipe transaction because of this. EMV transactions are WAY safer than standard US swipe transactions.

      • Carmen Leung

        Or they can accept it but require you to produce id everytime you use the card.

      • Nearmsp

        yes, but US is not using Chip and Pin. It is Chip and Signature. So if a room mate takes the card and does a swipe and signs, where is the “security” of EMV??

  • rconnor

    By the way, the Andrews Federal Credit Union card does have a chip and does have a PIN, however, the default will still be for chip and signature. I learned this at a grocery store in Denmark that will not accept signatures (I have been here before and knew what to expect, so I went through with the steps to get this chip and PIN card). Unfortunately, it still doesn’t appear to work like the European cards do – at coffee shops and restaurants, a receipt is printed after you stick the chip into the handheld machine. Thankfully some places do accept signatures (and if you call Visa or Mastercard they will tell you every merchant has to accept signatures, and maybe in theory, but of course not in practice). As it was explained to me from the representative from AFCU, the transaction has to be run as debit (I assume this would be considered “online” by American terms). I have asked the cashiers if they are able to run as debit, but they said they have no control over the transaction type. Any solutions to this? Or any new information @disqus_fnrOyK5D58:disqus, @disqus_SxQF5kONUE:disqus, or @msupp:disqus?

  • michael

    Both Chase Freedom Visa and Amex Blue Cash Everyday has chip + signature by request.

  • ToddK

    This article is a bit misleading in the acceptance of Chip and Signature cards outside the U.S. I know that in Great Britain, they want chip and pin. England has many areas that are automated, so they dont take a signature, so the chip and sign cards do not work. (Parking lots, ticket machines) I’ve had the same issue in Canada parking lots too.
    The U.S. is instituting a half measure with Chip and sign. It is not as secure as chip and Pin, and would be a step backwards for European countries to start accepting them.

  • Nearmsp

    I hate international travel. American tourists are treated like the plague. I dread handing my Chip and Signature credit cards in Asia. I could not use my chip and signature card in China anywhere other than my hotel. In India it was not that bad. After waiting for years, now US banks are again disappointing everyone and are now not going for chip and pin. I am against regulation, but here I want the banks to be regulated to death for keeping the US behind the whole world in credit card security. Donate to the senator and get all regulation thrown off. Federal reserve is in the pockets of banks in any case.

  • William Sze

    Its really a very good and informative post, yes, Few people use EMV, my friend want to know about EMV, i am suggesting a name Alliance Bankcard, because i am already using the service and also send this link to know more about EMV.

  • BocaNY

    I find it annoying that EMV chips are only available on credit cards here in America. It would be nice to have it on my bank debit card like every other country I have been to has. I called my bank about this again. Citibank told me at first that the cards don’t accept EMV chips. I said that made no sense if you make a card to be pay go/pass then you can surely make one to be EMV.According to citibank the pay pass is accepted around the world and it won’t be rejected, I don’t believe them. I finally got the truth out of the guy and the real reason that it’s not found on debit cards is because it’s TOO EXPENSIVE the technology. Really?!?! they are that cheap with all the money they get off fees from their costumers. Any way the only bank to have EMV chips on their day to day debit cards is BAnk of America. I assume it’s a chip n pin one.