Obtaining an International Chip-and-PIN Credit Card (While in the States)

Obtaining an International Chip-and-PIN Credit Card (While in the USA) | OMventure.com

Recently, while still in Seattle, I made a trek to an international bank.

It was a beautiful day. The sun began to shine, my Uber driver delivered me safely, and it was such a delight to speak with foreigners at the bank.

I went to this international bank because, for quite some time, I've wanted a true chip-and-PIN credit card that could reliably work overseas in unmanned/after hours kiosks. As that's where my American chip-and-signature credit card can fail to operate (even if it has a backup PIN).

When a credit card fails overseas, one must then make a trip to an ATM.

Yet, after living cashless for years, tracking down an ATM while overseas is quite a project. One must…

  • track down a safe ATM (inside a bank lobby, during bank hours)

  • ensure it’s an ATM that belongs to my bank's network

  • ensure it’s an ATM that disburses the currency type I need (Euros or other currency)

  • avoid ATM fees

  • avoid bank fees

  • avoid foreign transaction fees

  • avoid currency conversion fees

  • find my way back to where I was trying to make a purchase

  • find a way to break down the paper bills the ATM gave me, into smaller paper bills and coins

  • figure out how to place said bills and coins into the appropriate slot/hand

  • wonder how clean the currency is =)


So I wanted a true chip-and-PIN credit card that would help eliminate ATM trips and…

  • has no annual fee

  • has no foreign transaction fees

  • pays me points

  • is a VISA or Mastercard (because American Express and lesser known cards are not always accepted outside the United States)

  • comes from an international bank (so I can also enjoy having an international bank account)


After a long search, it was a bit shocking to discover how few chip-and-PIN credit cards exist in the States.

I found about five organizations that offered them, most of which required special membership dues first be paid.

Except for HSBC (and one of their chip-and-PIN credit cards, which more than met all of my needs).

I just had to obtain it in person, at an HSBC brick and mortar branch, due to my unique lack of address.

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