Monday, December 6, 2010

The First So-Called "Smart Cards" Introduced in the US

Its about time! After  years of American travelers finding themselves stymied at European ticket kiosks, gas stations and other automated money-takers that only accept "chip and pin"-style credit cards (ie those that require the use of a PIN number to work), several large corporations are coming up with "smart cards" for us.

Travelex, the large money exchange company, has gotten its out first, debuting its card last Wednesday. (I'll note that Mastercard has already announced one for Canada, and, rumor has it, will soon be doing the same for the US).

Not a credit card, but a pre-loaded debit card, the Travelex card is currently being offered only in euros and British pounds. Travelers determine how much they want to put on the card, load it up, pick a PIN number and go. The card can be used at ATM's, and any sorts of kiosks, restaurants, stores and hotels. The cards are being sold at Travelex retail stores as well as online at

I, for one, applaud this development. Chip and pin cards not only offer vastly greater protection against fraud but they've become the standard not only across Europe but in large swatches of Asia.


  1. or you could get a similar card at travelex in country in local currency (if needed)

    some sort of emv (chip and pin)is a REALLY good idea if you traveling by car and get stuck at a automated gas pump

  2. Yes, very helpful at automated gas pumps (and those are sometimes all that's available in many parts of Europe). As for another Travelex card: yes, I guess you could, though I'd assume you'd do just as well with your own bank card. What makes these Travelex cards worthwhile are the chip and pin technology and alas, that's only available in pounds and euros right now