November 25, 2020

Bucks: Wells Fargo Will Test Chip Cards for Travelers

Yesterday we reported on the slowness of big U.S. banks, compared with smaller credit unions, to offer their customers debit and credit cards with newer, more secure processing chips that are in wide use in Europe and often cause card acceptance problems for American travelers. Today, Wells Fargo said it would test credit cards this year with the newer technology, known as E.M.V., with about 15,000 American-based but globetrotting customers. (A tip of the hat to American Banker for the news.)

Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, which promotes the cards, said the move was heartening because it was likely that more big banks would follow suit after a major player like Wells entered the market.

U.S. banks still issue debit and credit cards with older, less secure magnetic stripe technology, which is more prone to fraud like skimming. Plus, Americans sometimes have had trouble using the cards when traveling overseas, often with ticket kiosks and other unattended payment sites, like gas pumps.

Wells Fargo is testing Visa Smart Cards, which will have the new chips as well as the older, magnetic stripe technology, so they can be used in the United States as well as abroad. Most domestic retailers lack the correct readers to process payments with cards using the newer chips, so the cards must carry both systems. “By combining traditional magnetic stripe along with the E.M.V. chip technology, we hope our customers will have the convenience to use their credit card no matter where they are in the world,” said Eric Schindewolf, vice president of product development for the bank’s consumer credit card business, in a prepared statement.

Eligible customers have been identified based on their “frequent international travel history,” a bank spokeswoman said in an e-mail. They will be notified in the “near future” and receive their cards by midsummer. They can opt out of the pilot if they choose.

Right now, the bank isn’t testing the technology with debit cards, she said, but it could down the road if the pilot went well and the bank found “broad customer demand.”

Would you find it more useful to have a credit card or debit card with the new technology? Which do you use more when traveling?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=98fdc6bec7add195bdad51c2ea3228dd

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