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Months before the liability shift, many credit card issuers are offering EMV technology to cardholders in the form of chip-and-signature cards. EMV cards can’t be skimmed like magstripe cards, making your transactions more secure both in the United States and abroad.
Some issuers have even begun offering chip-and-PIN credit cards. Read on to learn why you might want an EMV card with PIN capability and get the Nerds’ top recommendations for chip-and-PIN cards.
Why would I need an EMV card with PIN capability?
The United States has widely opted for chip-and-signature cards due to ease of use and affordability, but Europe prefers chip-and-PIN. And while you should be able to use your chip-and-signature card at most places in Europe, you may be denied on certain purchases — like ticket kiosks. For this reason, it’s smart to have a chip-and-PIN card when traveling overseas to regions that prefer them.
On top of this, the U.S. government and several large retailers are leading the way for U.S. acceptance of PIN transactions. Because a signature is easier to replicate than a PIN, PIN verification is more secure than signature verification. These retailers and the government realize this and have been upgrading payment terminals to be PIN-capable. As time goes on, you may see more U.S. retailers accepting chip-and-PIN cards.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®: Best overall travel rewards card
When the Nerds think about great travel credit cards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® immediately comes to mind. It offers 2 miles on every dollar spent on everything, redeemable for travel statement credit on just about any travel purchase. And, when you redeem your miles, you’ll receive 5% back. Need more rewards? Check out this killer signup bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $89 and no foreign transaction fees. As with all the cards on this list, it’s equipped with EMV technology and has PIN capability for more secure transactions both in the United States and abroad.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Best for gas and grocery spending
If you need a credit card for everyday purchases, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is worth checking out. It offers 5 points on gas spending, 3 points on grocery spending and 1 point on every $1 spent on everything else. Points can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, including travel, merchandise and gift cards.
The card’s annual fee is $0 and there are no foreign transaction fees. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card has an introductory APR offer of 4.99% on balance transfers for 12 months. The card is PIN-enabled, but primarily operates as a chip-and-signature card.
If you aren’t in the military and don’t have a loved one in the military, you can still get this credit card. You can join either the Voices for America’s Troops or National Military Family Association with a one-time payment of dues of $14 or $15, respectively. Check out PenFed’s membership application for more details.
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