Tag Archive | "Credit Cards"


Smart Chip Credit Card – Do I Need It for Travel?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by David

Smart Chip Credit Card - Blue






Smart chip credit cards are finally arriving in the U.S. and it’s about time.

Never heard of them?  Well, you should and here is why.

Merchants Are Increasingly Only Accepting Smart Chip Cards

If you’re planning an international trip to Europe, Asia, or even Mexico, you should consider having a card with a smart chip.  These cards have been around for years overseas.  More merchants are accepting smart chip cards only, and are refusing to accept the cards with a magnetic strip (yep, the ones we use in the U.S.).

Just imagine this scenario.

You walk into a train station 15 minutes before the next train to your dream destination.  You pull out your favorite VISA / MasterCard / American Express (choose your own brand).  The agent at the ticket window takes a look at your card and tells you they don’t accept it because it is not a smart-chip card.  And of course, you don’t have enough cash in your pocket to cover your ticket.  Needless to say, you miss the train, and are now stuck in the station for another 4 hours until the next train.  In the meantime, you also need to find out where you can get cash to buy that ticket!

The scenario above is more common than you may think.

So, before you take off, be a savvy traveler and keep a smart chip credit card with you.

The good news is U.S. banks have been slowly introducing smart chip cards.  We received our first smart chip card from Chase when it was first introduced in Feb 2012.  You are welcome to check them out, and we will cover the list of smart chip credit cards in the U.S. tomorrow.

Besides convenience, there is another reason why you should consider switching to smart chip credit cards.

Smart Chip Credit Card - Gold

Smart Chip Credit Cards Are More Secure

Many technology and payments experts agree that smart chip credit cards are more secure.

There are two reasons for this:
  1. Copying a chip requires a lot of sophisticated equipment versus magnetic strips which can be copied with readily available devices.
  2. The embedded security on the chip makes it extremely difficult for thieves to use the data on the card even if they manage to gain access and read the data. This prevents anyone from copying your card data at a restaurant, and racking up charges all before you arrive home.

I am planning a trip to South America to finish my around the world trip I started last year. (My last leg of the trip is waiting for me!) I have been looking around for smart cards and tomorrow I’ll share with you a few top cards with smart chip technology, and a detailed comparison of their benefits: chip & signature and chip & pin.  You should also take a look at our tips on using credit cards abroad.

Have you used smart chip credit cards before?  What was your experience like?


If you like this post, subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss an update!

Comments (0)


Is American Express Platinum An Ideal Credit Card for Travel?

Posted on 18 September 2011 by onthegroundtravel


Yes, we accept American Express Platinum, but not yours

We’ve always assumed American Express Platinum is an ideal credit card for travel.  However, once I started using it heavily on our trips overseas, I was quite disappointed with the benefits of the card. For the $495 annual fees, I simply expected a lot more. I carried my Platinum card with me in my recent travel to Egypt and Jordan. I had expected to be treated royally – breezing through the airports, hanging out at airport lounge while waiting for my next flight, being able to get into the finest restaurant with no prior reservation, or simply top-notch advice from the Concierge on what to see in these countries. I was disappointed on all fronts. The last straw for us was when we were in the Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan, we walked into the airport lounge and was denied access even though the lounge clearly accepts American Express cards. Apparently, you need the American Express cards issued in that part of the world to get in, and if you have a card from the U.S., you are out of luck. WHAT THE HECK? I am still furious as I am reliving this experience.


New American Express Platinum benefits

Having said that, it appears that American Express has listened to its Cardmembers, and has rolled out a series of travel benefits that if worked, will make us Platinum Cardmembers feel special again. First of all, Cardmembers can now gain access to over 600 lounges worldwide by enrolling in the Priority Pass Select program free of charge. I checked, Queen Alia Airport in Jordan is on the list. Secondly, American Express will also refund the application fee ($100 value) of Global Entry, a program that expedites clearance for approved travelers returning from an international trip. Foreign transaction fee is now gone. There is also an annual $200 credit for incidental airline fees such as baggage fees, inflight food and beverages etc. All these benefits can quickly add up to $495 fees we pay.

I am very excited about these new Platinum benefits, and I am glad American Express implemented them before the rest of us Platinum Cardmembers leave en mass. I just hope these benefits stick around. If you are a Platinum Cardmember, sign up for these benefits now (you are not enrolled in them automatically). If you are not a Cardmember and travel extensively, you should give this card a try.

What is your ideal credit card for travel?  Have used American Express Platinum before?  Would love to hear from you!


If you like this post, subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss an update!

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Weekly Inspiration #5

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

- St Augustine

Subscribe via email

Deals we like

We use a number of sites frequently to purchase items and services for our travel.

Look at our short list.
Advertise Here
Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE