U.S. Chip-enabled Payment Cards
Issuance of chip-enabled payment cards is starting to roll out in the United States. In addition to the magnetic stripe, these cards also feature have an EMV smartcard on the front. Here are four that were issued to me in January 2015.
1. Citi ThankYou Preferred Visa Signature Credit Card
2. Wells Fargo Cash Bank Visa Signature Credit Card
3. Bank of America BankAmerican Visa Signature Credit Card
4. Charles Schwab Bank Visa Debit Card
Out of these four cards, three feature a reduced size contact pad (omitting pin 4 and pin 8, which were reserved for future use). Among these three, Citibank and Charles Schwab's cards have an identical contact pad, while the BankAmericard is slightly different.
In addition having a shinier smartcard chip, Wells Fargo's credit card was the only one that explicitly mentioned that your PIN may be required for chip usage.
All four cards came with instructions that instructed the cardholder to simply insert the card, then sign for the purchase - no PIN necessary, except at certain unattended fuel and transport ticket machines. In cases where Chip and Signature is not supported, Citibank, Bank of America and Charles Schwab's instruct the cardholder to use their ATM or cash advance pin. The ATM/cash advance PIN codes for these cards can be changed remotely over the phone or over the internet, as it is always validated online through the bank. In contrast, the Wells Fargo PIN mailer explicitly warns that the PIN for their credit card cannot be changed, possibly because this is the only card in the group that supports offline PIN usage. I'll be sure to carry it if I go abroad.
While most U.S.-issued credit cards are now being issued with chips ahead of the October 2015 EMV liability shift deadline, Charles Schwab Bank's debit card is so far the only U.S.-issued debit card I've seen that has one.
(For those of you who might be using different terminology in your country, debit cards draw upon existing funds in a deposit account and generally stop working when there is no more money, using a credit card borrows money from the bank up to a certain limit and generates an invoice to be paid later)
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