Any consumer who has gone overseas in recent months and attempted to use their credit or debit card may have found that they did not work. Fortunately for Americans, this isn’t because their credit card debt has them too close to their limit, or that they don’t have enough in their bank account.
The reason, according to the Seattle Times, is that almost all American credit cards use a technology that most countries stopped using. Credit cards around the world are no longer issued with the familiar magnetic strip, but rather with small chips inside them. Even Mexico and Canada are beginning to implement this type of card as well.
“The U.S. is [among] just a handful of nations that haven’t embraced the standard,” Carey Whaley, vice president of payments and technology policy for the Independent Community Bankers of America, told the paper.
A recent report from the consumer advice website Bankrate.com said that 62 percent of countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa accepted chip-and-pin cards as of two years ago, and several Asian countries will do so in the near future.