The expanding array of U.S. cards that use the secure EMV standard now includes the first cobranded hotel card equipped with a chip to make overseas travel easier.
EMV cards have an embedded chip that provides stronger security than a magnetic stripe does. The EMV format is more common overseas, though some U.S. issuers offer them for travelers.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Wednesday announced that all new cobranded Hyatt Hotel Visa cards will contain a chip so cardholders may make purchases at EMV-capable payment terminals around the world. The product is the Chase’s fourth to include an EMV chip.
However, as with several versions of EMV cards other U.S. issuers have rolled out within the last year, all of Chase’s EMV cards also have a magnetic stripe for use with traditional card terminals and require only a signature for transaction authentication instead of a PIN, thus making them still vulnerable to fraud when cards are stolen or lost.
Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. have bucked that trend by structuring their EMV cards for commercial cardholders to require a PIN, which is the most common — and most secure — format for EMV cards around the world, analysts say.
But in customer tests, Chase has encountered “no negative feedback” from its EMV cards requiring only a signature, says Robin Schettini, Chase Cards general manager.
“The lack of a PIN is not posing any problems to merchants overseas, and customer response to these EMV cards has been really positive,” she says.
The Hyatt Hotels card is the most affordable of Chase’s EMV cards, carrying a $75 annual fee versus $95 for Chase’s cobranded British Airways card and J.P. Morgan Select Visa card introduced last year that also come equipped with an EMV chip.
Chase’s first EMV card for U.S. consumers last year was available only to customers of its $595-a-year elite Palladium product.
But within the past year, several other large issuers, including Wells, Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp, began offering EMV-equipped cards to frequent travelers for annual fees as low as $49.
EMVCo. LLC last year said its data show 40% of all payment cards and 71% of payment terminals worldwide support the EMV standard.
Some 1.2 billion payments cards based on the EMV standard were in circulation at the end of March 2011, the latest data available, according to EMVCo.