Remember when I was hunting around for a credit card with an EMV chip for use in Europe? At the time, such cards were relatively hard to come by in the American market.
As a reminder, Europe has largely transitioned to so-called “chip-and-PIN” credit cards in hopes of reducing credit card fraud. These cards contain a special chip that makes them hard to clone, and the PIN requirement means that a stolen card can’t easily be used.
Card issuers in the United States, on the other hand, have lagged behind and mostly stuck with chip-less cards with the old school magnetic stripe on the back. This is true even for cards that are explicitly targeted at travelers. Weird, huh?
Barclaycard adds EMV chip
Well, when I logged in this morning to check our Barclaycard Arrival account, I was greeted with a surprise. The card image at the top of the page had changed and our card was now being referred to as a Barclaycard Arrival Plus card.
So what gives? Well, it seems that Barclaycard has decided to re-brand their flagship Arrival card. The main change is that they’re adding an EMV chip to the card, and will eventually be sending new cards to all cardholders.
Chip-and-PIN vs. signature
This is apparently a chip-and-signature card by default, but with PIN capability. In case you’re not aware, chip-and-signature is an intermediate solution that includes the hard-to-clone chip, but doesn’t require PIN entry. It’s likely to be more widely accepted when traveling abroad, but falls short of chip-and-PIN in terms of security since it only requires a signature for use.
BUT… If you want the ability to use your Arrival card in PIN-only credit transactions, you’re in luck. You have the option of setting a PIN and using the card where chip-and-PIN cards are required. According to their FAQs:
“Please note that you must sign for your first transaction abroad at a location with a cashier or attendant. After your first transaction has gone through, your PIN will be activated and you’ll be able to use your card at unattended terminals where a PIN is required.”
Apparently the new cards, including the EMV chip, will be sent to existing cardholders by mid-June. But if you apply for a new card, I would imagine that you’ll get the chipped version straightaway.
Same great features — including the bonus!
The other big change is that they’ve lengthened the period for redeeming travel rewards from 90 to 120 days. Pretty much everything else remains the same, including no foreign transaction fees and free access to your credit score.
And yes, the $444 signup bonus is still available.
I hate to sound like a Barclaycard fanboy, but this card really does keep getting better. If you have one, keep an eye on your mailboc. If you want to get one, you can do so by clicking this link or the button below.