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Avanti Travel Insurance blog

12 Nov

Travel To America May Be Easier With New U.S. Chip Cards

American AirlinesGreat News For Travellers To The U.S. – Chip And Pin Has Finally Arrived!

While we may have been using chip and pin for some time over here in Britain, the good old USA has been left somewhat wanting when it comes to paying in this manner. Fortunately, however, all this looks set to change in the not too distant future, which is great news if you’re planning to take a trip to America anytime soon.

Why Hasn’t This Happened Sooner?

It’s always surprising to us whenever we take a trip over to the US that chip and pin has not made its way over the Atlantic sooner. Not only is the tiny little microchip found within most of our credit and debit cards a far more convenient way to pay than having to scribble our names every time we want to buy something, it’s also a lot safer for the banks too. So, why has it taken so long?

Well, for a start, America is huge. They have in excess of 10 million card terminals in use and have issued around 1.2 billion cards to users across the country. Getting people to switch is not only a mammoth undertaking, it is also an expensive one too. Credit card fees have been the subject of huge debate in the United States and arguments rage over who exactly is responsible for picking up the tab. In short, the cost of transitioning over to chip and pin has played a huge part in delaying its introduction.

Somewhat surprisingly, credit card fraud in the US is pretty low too, which would explain why banks have been reluctant to roll out chip and pin in the same way that Britain and much of mainland Europe has. American banks also hoped that mobile payments would take off far quicker than they have, thus negating the need for chip and pin altogether. However, uptake has been slow for this new technology, so chip and pin looks set to finally make an appearance.

What this means for British and European travellers

America’s transition over to chip and pin technology should affect British and European less than US residents who’ll have to get used to using their cards in a different way. We are now well versed on how to pay for goods using micro-chipped cards, so buying goods whilst in the States should be a piece of cake.

However, not all terminals will be updated straightaway, so you could still be asked to sign on the dotted line in some stores and restaurants. If you do encounter any further problems with your card at a terminal, you can always resort to a good old-fashioned ATM in order to withdraw the dollars that you need to pay for your goods or service.

So, once you’ve booked your flight, sorted out your hotel, and got yourself some travel insurance for single trips.