More big announcements on the EMV front today, including news from Citibank and American Airlines that they planned to jointly issue the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card, a card priced for high rollers ($450 annual fee).
This comes on the heels of the Visa announcement that it will now support chip and PIN in credit cards issued in the U.S.
Expect many more financial institutions now to climb aboard chip and PIN, said a credit union pioneer in this technology.
“The VISA announcement is a game changer,” said Merrill Halpern, card services manager at the $3.1 billion United Nations Federal Credit Union in New York City, which last October initiated one of the biggest chip-and-PIN card rollouts in the U.S.
“Our card is used by about 6,000 members,” said Halpern, who indicated UNFCU targeted the initial rollout to members with high spending histories abroad, that is, members with a demonstrable need for chip-and-PIN technology especially as it becomes the norm in Europe.
The payoff for 94,000-member UNFCU: “Ours has become the top-of-wallet card for many members. We are getting a bigger share of member spend,” said Halpern. He said the UNFCU chip and PIN card will be rolled out to the credit union’s broader member base “within a couple years.”
Halpern also said UNFCU has experienced “no troubles,” no hiccups with its chip-and-PIN card. “As the credit union for the world travelers in the UN we were an excellent starting ground. We are very pleased with this technology.”
EMV chips – where the initials stand for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa – have emerged as increasingly important in credit card transactions overseas, where card readers may not be able to process old-fashioned magnetic strip cards.
That has helped fuel some demand for the EMV cards – said to be much more secure – especially on the part of heavy travelers.
The $5.6 billion Star One Credit Union in Sunnyvale, Calif., also is beta testing a chip card being prepared for launch by JHA Payment Processing Solutions, the payments division of Jack Henry & Associates.