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 PIN, thus, where a trip to an ATM becomes necessary).
After Living Cashless for Years, I Couldn’t Imagine Tracking Down an ATM to Proceed With a Purchase
But that's what happens if my credit card fails to work. And I'm a firm believer that life is simply too short for activities such as:
tracking down a safe ATM
tracking down an ATM that belongs to my bank's network
tracking down an ATM that disburses the currency type I need (Euros vs other currency)
avoiding ATM fees
avoiding bank fees
avoiding foreign transaction fees
avoiding currency conversion fees
finding my way back to where I was trying to make a purchase
finding a way to reduce the paper bills the ATM gave me into smaller paper bills and coins
figuring out how to place said bills and coins into the appropriate slot/hand
wondering how clean the currency is =)
Heaven Forbid, I Also Wanted More
I wanted a true chip-and-PIN credit card that...
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)
And After a Surprisingly Long Search
It was a bit unbelievable to discover how few chip-and-PIN credit cards exist in the USA (I found about five, most of which require special membership dues be paid to a credit union or organization). So I'm so grateful to have stumbled upon HSBC , as one of their chip-and-PIN credit cards more than met all of my needs.
The only challenge was this: my unique (lack of) address documentation required that I show up in person, at an HSBC brick and mortar branch, to officially apply for my credit card. That’s one trip I’m so okay with.