Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards in the USA

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Blog

Jun 04, 2018 | Updated Jul 25, 2018

Credit Card Issuers That Offer Chip-and-PIN Cards

Issuer Offers PIN Cards? Preferred Verification Method
American Express No
Andrews Federal Credit Union Yes Signature
Bank of America Yes Signature
Barclays Yes Signature
Chase No
Citi/Citibank Yes Signature
Diners Club International Yes PIN
Discover No
First Tech Federal Credit Union Yes PIN
HSBC Yes ?
Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) Yes Signature
Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) Yes Signature
State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) Yes Cardholder decides
Store Credit Cards Some PIN
United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) Yes PIN
USAA Yes Signature
U.S. Bank No
Wells Fargo Yes Signature

Getting a Chip-and-PIN Card in the USA

If you’re traveling outside the U.S., particularly in Canada or Europe, it’s useful to have a credit card with Chip-and-PIN technology.

The EMV chip is in addition to the magnetic stripe on the back. Every credit card issued in the U.S. has the Chip-and-Signature verification method, but only some cards also have Chip-and-PIN.

Although many merchants and checkout terminals outside the U.S. will take Chip-and-Signature cards, in some cases you might find a card reader that only accepts PIN cards. Or, you may want a card that defaults to the PIN verification mode to speed up checkout, because that’s what merchants outside the U.S. are generally familiar with.

Most cards that have both signature and PIN capability will default to signature for the verification method — these are called signature-preferred or signature-priority cards. But there are a few issuers that provide cards which default to PIN to verify the transaction — they’re called PIN-preferred or PIN-priority cards.

Many credit card issuers now offer cards with Chip-and-PIN capability, with three notable exceptions.

These issuers do not provide Chip-and-PIN cards:

  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Chase

This isn’t a very big deal for American Express and Discover, because those cards don’t have very wide acceptance outside the U.S. anyway. So you wouldn’t choose them for traveling abroad.

But it’s quite unfortunate that Chase doesn’t offer Chip-and-PIN with their cards. They have some much-loved travel cards that would be even better with PINs, like the Sapphire Preferred (Review) and Sapphire Reserve (Review), along with quite a few airline and hotel co-branded cards.

For trips outside the U.S., check out our picks for the Best Travel Credit Cards. One of our top cards, the Barclays Arrival Premier (Review), comes with Chip-and-PIN functionality.

If your chip card doesn’t offer PIN capability but you’re traveling outside the U.S., consider loading your card into a mobile wallet, like Apply Pay or Samsung Pay. This will let you use the card at NFC contactless payment terminals, regardless of the EMV status of your card.

Card issuers take PIN security pretty seriously. Some won’t let you see it online, and will only mail it to you. They may require you to call customer support to set or change your PIN. Others are a bit less secure, and will let you change it online.

Credit Card Issuers That Provide Chip-and-PIN Cards

The following issuers provide cards with Chip-and-PIN functionality. Some of them are Signature-preferred for the verification method, while others are PIN-preferred.

We’ve highlighted some of the best travel cards from each issuer (some issuers don’t offer good travel cards, so we show whatever they might have). These cards may offer rewards and valuable perks in addition to being PIN-capable. Many of them have no foreign transaction fees as well, which is what you’ll want for traveling outside the U.S.

Andrews Federal Credit Union

You’ll need to join Andrews FCU to apply for its credit cards. Certain people will be eligible to join, such as if you live or work in Washington, D.C.

Or, you can become a member of the American Consumer Council for free with promo code “Andrews”. This will let you join the Andrews FCU, which requires a minimum $5 deposit in a bank account.

Credit cards from Andrews FCU are available as Signature-priority. We were originally told by Andrews’ customer support that you can request PIN-priority for its cards. But we heard from a reader who requested a PIN-priority card, which Andrews supposedly provided, only to find that it was Signature-priority after traveling to the U.K. So this was an unfortunate discovery, and it appears that Andrews was mistaken about its cards being PIN-priority.

To set or change your PIN, call 1-888-886-0083.

There are a few cards from Andrews FCU that would be good for traveling because they have no foreign transaction fees:

  • Visa Titanium Signature Rewards: No annual fee, 0% intro APR for 12 months for purchases and balance transfers, 3X points on gas and groceries, 1.5X points for other purchases.
  • Visa Platinum Rewards: No annual fee, 1X point per dollar, 5,000 bonus points after making the first purchase.
  • Visa Simplicity: No annual fee, no rewards, a very bare-bones credit card.

Bank of America

Bank of America credit cards come with Chip-and-PIN capability, but are signature-preferred for the verification method.

You can set or change your PIN online. Just log in, go to your account settings, and select “Create or Change PIN.” Or you can choose to have your PIN sent by mail.

There are several travel cards from BofA worth noting, which don’t have foreign transaction fees:

  • No annual fee
  • 12-month 0% intro APR for purchases
  • 1.5X points for every purchase
  • 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days

 

  • $75 annual fee
  • 3X miles per dollar spent with Alaska Airlines
  • Free companion fare every year
  • 30,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days

 

  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 9 months for purchases
  • 3X points on travel through the BofA travel center, powered by Orbitz®
  • 1.5X points on all other purchases

 

  • Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card: $95 annual fee, 2X points on travel and dining, 1.5X points on every other purchase, 50,000 bonus points, up to $200 in statement credits.

Barclays

Barclays credit cards all come with Chip-and-PIN capability. They are signature-preferred for the verification method.

You’ll be prompted to create a PIN when you open an account online. Otherwise you can have one assigned to you.

To activate your PIN, use the card at a regular Chip-and-Signature checkout terminal. Then you’ll be able to use the PIN function.

You can change your PIN by logging in, going to Account Settings, and then selecting “Manage Your PIN.” If you ever change your PIN, you’ll need to activate it again by using the card for a Chip-and-Signature purchase.

There are several Barclays cards that have no foreign transaction fees, making them good for travel. Here are a few:

  • $150 annual fee
  • 2X miles per dollar
  • Up to 25,000 annual bonus points
  • Limited airport lounge access

 

  • No annual fee
  • 4% back on dining, 3% back on travel, 2% back on online purchases
  • $100 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening

 

  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fees
  • Low APR
  • Cardholders can vote on card terms

 

  • $89 annual fee
  • 2X miles on Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • 35,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • One-time 50% companion discount

 

  • $99 annual fee
  • 6X points on JetBlue purchases, 2X points at restaurants and office supply stores
  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • 50% inflight savings

Citi/Citibank

Citi credit cards come with both Chip-and-Signature and Chip-and-PIN capability. They’re signature-preferred for the verification method.

Your PIN for purchases with Citi cards will be the same as your cash advance PIN.

There are three options for setting or adjusting your PIN:

  • Change existing PIN: Call 1-866-696-5673 and listen for instructions to change your PIN (this number may or may not work for you; if it doesn’t work, call the number on the back of your card or see our listing of backdoor credit card company phone numbers)
  • Send a new pre-assigned PIN: Have a new PIN sent to your mailing address.
  • Cancel PIN and do not replace it: Remove the PIN from your card entirely.

Citi offers quite a few credit cards that would be useful for traveling because they have no foreign transaction fees. Here are a few:

  • $95 annual fee after the first year
  • 3X points on travel and gas stations, 2X points on dining and entertainment
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

 

  • $450 annual fee
  • 3X points at airlines and hotels
  • $250 annual air travel credit
  • 4th night free on hotel stays of 4 nights or more

 

  • $99 annual fee after the first year
  • 2X miles at American Airlines and restaurants
  • $100 airline flight discount
  • First checked bag free

 

  • $450 annual fee
  • 2X American Airlines miles per dollar
  • Complimentary Admirals Club membership
  • Enhanced Airport Experience

Diners Club International

Diners Club International is not currently accepting applications online, but you may receive an invitation in the mail to apply.

Diners Club credit cards have both signature and PIN capability, and are PIN-priority.

You’ll be issued a PIN when you get your Diners Club card. Call 1-800-234-6377 if you need to reset your PIN. You’ll then be directed to visit a chip-enabled ATM within a specified time period to choose a new one. Diners Club recommends you visit a BMO Harris ATM.

There are several Diners Club credit cards, but unfortunately two of them have foreign transaction fees so they’re not as good for spending outside the U.S.:

  • No annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 1X Club Rewards point per $2 spent
  • Diners Club Airport Lounge access

 

  • $300 annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 1x Club Rewards point per $1 spent
  • Airport lounge access
  • Free cell phone rentals in some countries

 

  • Diners Club Card Premier: $95 annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, 1X Club Rewards point per $1 spent, airport lounge access.
  • Diners Club Card Elite: $300 annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, 3X Club Rewards points at grocery stores, supermarkets, drug stores, pharmacies, and gas stations, airport lounge access.

First Tech Federal Credit Union

The First Tech Federal Credit Union offers chip cards that come with Chip-and-PIN capability, and they are PIN-priority.

Your PIN will be assigned when you’re approved for a card. It will be mailed to you separately from the card for security purposes.

To join First Tech you’ll need to meet the membership eligibility requirements. You’ll be eligible if you work for the state of Oregon, for example, or if you’re a member of the Financial Fitness Association ($8 per year).

To use a First Tech credit card you’ll need to open a bank account with them. All of their cards feature no foreign transaction fee, so they’re good choices to bring with you outside the country:

  • Odyssey Rewards: $75 after the first year, 12-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers, no transfer fees, 3X points per dollar on travel, 2X points on dining, 30,000 bonus reward points.
  • Choice Rewards: No annual fee, 12-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers, no transfer fee, 2X points per dollar on certain purchases, 20,000 bonus reward points.
  • Platinum Rewards: No annual fee, 12-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers, no transfer fee, 1X point per dollar, 10,000 bonus points.
  • Platinum Secured: Secured card, no annual fee, relatively low APR, 1X point per dollar.

HSBC

HSBC credit cards come with Chip-and-PIN capability. We were originally told by HSBC that their cards are set as signature-preferred for the verification method, but on subsequent calls to HSBC we were told (after lots of long hold times) that they’re PIN-preferred and other conflicting information. If you have any information about what HSBC actually offers please contact us.

Your PIN for purchases will be different than your cash advance PIN. If you want to change your PIN you’ll need to call customer support, you can’t do it online.

Every HSBC card has no foreign transaction fee, so they’re all relatively good for traveling. Here are some of their better cards, including a couple designed specifically for travelers:

  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for balance transfers for 15 months
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $150 cash back for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 10% anniversary cash back bonus

 

  • HSBC Premier World Mastercard®: No annual fee, 2X points on travel, 35,000 bonus points, $85 TSA Pre✓ credit, $50 annual statement credit for Uber and Lyft.
  • HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard®: $395 annual fee, 3X points on travel, 2X points on dining, airport lounge access by LoungeKey, $100 annual air travel credit, $85 TSA Pre✓® application credit, $100 annual statement credit for Uber and Lyft.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) issues cards with Chip-and-PIN capability. They’re set as signature-preferred for the verification method.

You’ll receive a PIN when you’re approved for your card. To have a new PIN reissued, call 1-800-247-5626 (Visa cardholders) or 1-800-732-8268 (American Express cardholders).

PenFed membership is open to those who have served in the U.S. military or Uniformed Services, employees of the government, and relatives of eligible people. You can also become eligible by joining a group like the National Military Family Association for a $17 fee. To open a PenFed credit card you’ll need to open a bank account with them.

PenFed offers several cards without foreign transaction fees, which you might find useful for traveling abroad:

  • No annual fee
  • 12-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers
  • 5X points at gas stations, 2X points at supermarkets
  • $100 statement credit for spending $1,500 in the first 90 days

 

  • PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature®: No annual fee, 12-month 0% APR for balance transfers, 1.5% cash back for all purchases, or 2% cash back for PenFed HonorsAdvantage members.
  • PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express®: No annual fee, 12-month 0% APR for balance transfers, 3X points on travel purchases, or 4X points for PenFed Honors Advantage members, $100 annual air travel credit, $100 TSA Pre✓ application credit.

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU)

The Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) issues chip cards with Chip-and-PIN capability. They are signature-priority for the verification method.

Your card won’t come with a PIN initially, but you can set one for it. To set a PIN, log in to your online account and select the correct option, or call 1-888-842-6328. After setting a PIN, test your card at a chip-enabled reader to ensure that the update was processed.

NFCU membership is basically limited to members of the military, Department of Defense employees, employees of some related organizations, and their families.

None of their credit cards have foreign transaction fees, so they’re all potentially good picks for spending outside the country. Here are some of their more rewarding cards:

  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • $200 bonus cash back for spending $3,000 in the first 90 days

 

  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 3X points at restaurants, 2X points at gas stations

 

  • $49 annual fee after the first year
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 2X points for every purchase
  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 90 days

State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU)

The State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) offers cards that are Chip-and-PIN capable.

By default, their cards will use signature as the preferred verification mode. But you can select PIN-priority when you’re approved for a card, by selecting the option that says you’ll be “frequently traveling or living overseas.”

To change an existing PIN on credit cards, call 1-703-706-5000 or 1-800-296-8882. The PIN for purchases is the same as the PIN for cash advances.

SDFCU membership is open to U.S. Department of State employees, employees of certain affiliated organizers, and members of their families. You can also join the American Consumer Council for an $8 fee if you want to become an SFCU member. (You can join the ACC for free using promo code “Andrews”, but that’s technically for members of a different credit union.)

SDFCU issues three credit cards, and none of them have foreign transaction fees:

  • SDFCU Premium Cash Back+: No annual fee, no balance transfer fee, 2% cash back on all purchases, $200 bonus cash reward for spending $3,000 in the first 90 days.
  • SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card: No annual fee, no balance transfer fee, no rewards.
  • SDFCU Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card: Secured card, no annual fee, no balance transfer fee.

Store Credit Cards

There are at least a couple of store credit cards which feature Chip-and-PIN capability. These two cards are actually PIN-priority as well.

  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back on eligible Target purchases
  • You’ll be prompted to set a PIN when you activate the card

 

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back at Walmart and Sam’s Club, 2% back at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations
  • To set or change your PIN call 1-866-611-1148

United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU)

The United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) provides cards with Chip-and-PIN capability. The verification method is PIN-preferred.

According to UNFCU, they were actually the first card issuer in the U.S. to offer Chip-and-PIN credit cards, back in 2010.

Employees of the United Nations are eligible to join the UNFCU, along with members of their families and some other individuals. If you don’t meet the criteria, you can join the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) for $25. Then you’ll be eligible to join the UNFCU.

You’ll receive a PIN when you’re approved for your card.

UNFCU offers three different credit cards, but only one has no foreign transaction fee:

  • $50 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 2X points at grocery stores, restaurants, and online food delivery services
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge access

 

  • UNFCU Visa® Azure Card: No annual fee, 1X point per dollar, foreign transaction fee of 1%.
  • UNFCU Visa® UNA-USA Card: No annual fee, 1X point per dollar, foreign transaction fee of 1%, a portion of revenues from purchases will go to the UNA-USA.

USAA

USAA provides credit cards for military members and their families. Cardholders can request cards with Chip-and-PIN capability, although many USAA members have reported problems using the PIN function outside the U.S.

Cards issued by USAA are signature-priority for the verification method. To reset your PIN, call 1-800-531-8722.

USAA credit cards don’t have foreign transaction fees. Here are a few of their best:

  • No annual fee
  • 3X points at restaurants, 2X points for gas and groceries
  • 2,500 bonus points after making your first purchase

 

  • No annual fee
  • 2X points at restaurants and gas stations
  • 2,500 bonus points after making your first purchase

 

  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases, 2% back at grocery stores

 

  • No annual fee
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers credit cards with Chip-and-PIN capability. The verification method is signature-priority.

Call customer support to check or reset your PIN.

Wells Fargo offers three different credit cards, but unfortunately they all come with a 3% foreign transaction fee. So they’re not very good picks for spending outside the U.S.

  • No annual fee
  • 12-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

 

  • No annual fee
  • 18-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • No annual fee
  • Secured card, requires security deposit of $300 to $10,000
  • Credit limit will be equal to security deposit
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