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