Bank of America Now Offering Chip and PIN Credit Cards

In recent months, many of the nation’s top credit card issuers have started giving some of their customers credit cards that allow them to complete transactions without swiping them in the traditional way, and that trend has continued with one of the largest lenders in the U.S.

Bank of America will soon begin granting some of its customers credit cards with a relatively new kind of technology that allows them to complete swipeless purchases through what is known as “chip and PIN,” the company recently announced. The technology will be able to be used at many merchants to complete everyday purchases just as swiping does today, with the added bonus that doing so will increase payment flexibility overseas as well.

Many of the world’s most prominent countries, including most of Europe and Asia, have long since adopted chip and PIN technology, which is also known as EMV (after the three companies that created it: Europay, MasterCard and Visa), the report said. The issue for many Americans traveling overseas is that because chip and PIN cards have been so widely used in other countries for several years or more, many companies there are no longer equipped to handle transactions that rely upon the magnetic strip on nearly all cards issued in the U.S. since these accounts became popular. Therefore, the unprepared traveler could run into significant difficulties in financing even basic purchases, particularly where automated machines, such as train ticket dispensers or gas pumps, are used to complete transactions.

The new cards issued by Bank of America will contain both the familiar magnetic strip and the chip and PIN technology, so called because, like a debit card, it requires cardholders to enter a code to authenticate a purchase, the report said. This will likely add a significant amount of convenience both at home and abroad because more American businesses now accept chip and PIN payments in addition to traditional credit card purchases.

“The new chip-enabled cards will improve convenience and security of customers’ transactions when traveling abroad,” said Susan Faulkner, a consumer and small business products executive for Bank of America. “We want our customers to have the best possible experience while making purchases with their credit cards anywhere in the world.”

Once the issuing of these cards begins, they will be available on the company’s branded Merrill Lynch accounts, U.S. Trust Accolades, BankAmericard Travel Rewards, BankAmericard Privileges, and Virgin Atlantic travel cards, and those who currently have such accounts, and who the bank identifies as frequent overseas travelers, will also receive the new plastic, the report said. The cards will also be available optionally for those with BankAmericard Cash Rewards, BankAmericard Power Rewards, BankAmericard, AAA Members Rewards, NEA, Asiana Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines accounts.

Already, the company offers chip and PIN cards to its corporate and commercial borrowers, and has been doing so for a few months, but this is the first time consumers have access to these cards as well, the report said. Borrowers will be able to request the new cards by phone starting this week, but those who wish to do it online will not be able to do so until later this year.

The benefits of chip and PIN technology

The reason EMV cards are becoming more popular with lenders is that they not only give greater flexibility and convenience to affluent overseas travelers, but also tend to lead to far fewer instances of fraud than traditional magnetic strip cards. That’s because while all data stored on a magnetic strip is able to be read and copied with relative ease, the microchip embedded in EMV cards does far more to encrypt and protect account data. As such, consumers and lenders alike get greater peace of mind that their card is less susceptible to being defrauded, and both may end up saving money in the end as a result.

Protecting yourself from fraud is crucial to maintaining a strong credit standing, and regularly checking your monthly statements for any purchases that seem out of place is likely a great way to increase your account security. If you notice anything suspicious, you should alert your lender as soon as possible, and work with the company to clear the charge from your account.

However, you should also take the time to check your credit report as well, because any unfair markings that might appear on this document can have a severe negative effect on your credit score. Fortunately, working with a credit repair company can help you determine the best way to fix your credit score and get your standing back to where it should be.

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