Credit Cards With EMV Smart Chips

After evaluating 1,399 credit cards with EMV chip technology (also referred to as smart chips), here are the most popular credit cards from our partners. These cards offer an enhanced security against counterfeiting or cloning. "Chip and signature" is becoming the standard authorization process in the US. However, this standard is different than the "Chip and PIN" standard used in much of the rest of the world. Still, many frequent travelers find these cards more easily accepted overseas.

After evaluating 1,399 credit cards with EMV chip technology (also referred to as smart chips), here are the most popular credit cards from our partners. These cards offer an enhanced security against counterfeiting or cloning. "Chip and signature" is becoming the standard authorization process in the US. However, this standard is different than the "Chip and PIN" standard used in much of the rest of the world. Still, many frequent travelers find these cards more easily accepted overseas.

Summary

BONUSES AT U.S. SUPERMARKETS, U.S. GAS STATIONS

See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

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Rewards Rate

3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
2%
2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
1%
1% back on other purchases

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR
14.49% - 25.49% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

2X
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
1X
1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

3%
Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice.
2%
Earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
1%
Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Regular APR
15.74% - 25.74% variable
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

6%
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
6%
6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
3%
3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%
1% Cash Back on other purchases

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Intro APR
0% on balance transfers for 12 months
Regular APR
14.49% - 25.49% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

2X
Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$95, waived first year
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.74% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1.5X
Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
16.74% - 24.74% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

5%
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter.
1%
Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR
16.74% - 25.49% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

3X
Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.
1X
Unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$75
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 25.74% variable

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Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.


Comparing EMV Chip Credit Cards

Updated: January 1, 2019

In the last three years, card issuers have been sending out new plastic with a little square on the front that makes all the difference in the world.

Called an EMV chip, this small change has made our cards more secure than the old magnetic stripe technology. In fact, fraud has considerably decreased over the last three years, experts have noticed.

What are EMV chip cards and how do they work?

EMV, which stands for EuroPay, Mastercard, Visa, equips credit and debit cards with computer chips and technology to authenticate chip-card transactions.

EMV cards or chip cards have been used in Europe and throughout the world for decades, and they have been making headway in the U.S. They are touted as more secure than the magnetic stripes that have long been used in the United States until the last couple of years.

While the older magnetic stripes contain unchanging data – which the bad guys can conceivably steal – an EMV card creates a new transaction code for each payment that can't be used again. That doesn't mean breaches aren't possible, but it makes things more complicated and difficult for thieves.

Visa reports a 75% drop in counterfeit fraud dollars between September 2015 and March 2018 among merchants who made the switch and a 46% drop overall. Also Visa reports that 97% of payment volume was on EMV cards in June 2018, and chip transactions grew from $4.8 billion in September 2015 to $76.7 billion in June 2018.

Want to know how EMV chips are made? Check out this video.

How the EMV works

There are several things going on with how a chip card works. Here's Visa's take on this:

  1. Computer microchip. A computer chip securely stores the card data that resides on the magnetic stripe. That makes it nearly impossible to create a fake EMV chip card.
  2. Unique cryptogram. The computer chip enables more secure processing by producing a one-time code for each transaction.
  3. Mobile shopping. EMV technology will also enable a one-time code for mobile transactions and support other security innovations like tokenization.

How to use an EMV chip credit card

Not sure how to use that new chip-enabled card? It's simple:

  1. Insert card. With the chip facing the terminal and facing up, insert the card rather than swiping.
  2. Leave the card alone. Let the card stay in the terminal until prompted to take it out.
  3. Sign a receipt. You may be asked to provide a signature or PIN, although many merchants are now allowing small purchases without a signature.
  4. Remove your card. Some terminals will prompt you to remove your card with a loud beeping noise. Either way, don't forget it!

Major benefits

With safety as a primary feature, EMV chip cards deliver added protection to every purchase you make. And fraud is big business, financial experts have found, so you need all the help you can get:

  •  74%
  • Checks were targeted
  •  48%
  • Wire fraud was targeted
  •  30%
  • Corporate card fraud was targeted

Source: 2018 AFP Payments Fraud Survey

With fraud top of mind for many consumers, a chip-enabled card is a welcome package in the mail. Still need convincing? Here are benefits of an EMV chip card:

  • Can't easily counterfeit. Because EMV chip cards use cryptograms that are unique to each transaction, stolen chip card data cannot be used to create fake cards, says Visa.
  • Less risk of fraud. Visa says the added layer of security provided by chip cards makes credit and debit card data much less valuable, decreasing incentive for the bad guys to steal data.
  • Zero liability. With chip cards, cardholders are still protected from fraudulent purchases with Visa's zero liability policy, which is common in the industry.
  • Easy to use. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find the chip card to be a breeze. If you feel it takes too long, you're not alone (although it actually only takes seconds). A CreditCards.com poll found that one-sixth of consumers felt that it takes too long, although almost three-fifths had no complaints.

Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura's work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at laura.mohammad@creditcards.com and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.


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