Credit union credit cards better and safer for overseas travel


More and more people are experiencing troubles with having their credit cards rejected when traveling overseas. When Clark was in Italy recently, his “old fashioned” credit card was turned down about 1/3 of the time. That’s because we’re the last country on earth that hasn’t adopted a certain modern credit card technology that greatly reduces fraud.

This tech is called “chip and pin” —  it’s extra protection for your card. A unique computer chip placed within your card is associated with a secret PIN code that you enter with each use. So if the card is stolen, the criminal won’t be able to access your funds.

But even though it’s becoming harder for Americans to use their cards in other countries, the megabanks haven’t cared enough to adopt this international standard. The New York Times reports, however, that credit unions are beginning to step up and issue cards with the chip and pin technology in place–alongside the magnetic-stripe that’s still the standard here. When we adopt this international standard, credit card fraud will fall off a cliff. It won’t disappear–criminals are too clever for that–but the instances will reduce dramatically.

For now, the big banks are refusing to do it to save costs, at the expense of their customers’ safety. As more credit unions adopt this, they may be forced to change. But for now, overseas travelers would be better served to use a credit union credit card. Ask for one that has the “EMV Chip.”

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