In the near future, some customers for one of the nation's largest lenders will be able to get a new type of credit card that will give them greater flexibility in making purchases in the U.S. and overseas, as well as more security for their account.
Bank of America will soon begin issuing some of its more affluent credit cardholders new pieces of plastic that not only carry the magnetic strip on the back of nearly all credit cards issued in the U.S. over the last 50 years, but also a newer technology that experts say is far safer, the lender recently announced. The new "chip and PIN" technology - alternatively known as EMV after Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the companies that invented it - is often necessary for those that travel abroad because most foreign countries adopted it years ago. Now, it's difficult for many world travelers to find merchants in most of Asia and Europe who can accept cards that use only the magnetic strip to store payment data.
By giving consumers new credit cards that carry both the strip and the embedded microchip, it grants shoppers a card they can use both at home and abroad, the report said. Further, because a growing number of merchants in the U.S. now have the ability to accept chip and PIN transactions, it will give shoppers greater convenience and more options to make purchases.
"The new chip-enabled cards will improve convenience and security of customers' transactions when traveling abroad," said Susan Faulkner, a consumer and small business products executive for Bank of America. "We want our customers to have the best possible experience while making purchases with their credit cards anywhere in the world."
Bank of America has already been issuing these cards to its customers with corporate or commercial accounts, but is expanding offerings to consumers as well, the report said. Borrowers will be able to request them for specific account types by phone beginning this week, but will have to wait until later this year to do so online.
Studies have shown that chip and PIN technology is far more secure than magnetic strips because of the way in which it stores and encrypts payment data for the associated account.