AMEX To Upgrade Card Technology

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American Express has announced its intention to begin making so called "chip-and-PIN" cards available in the United States within a year. These new cards, widely used by European credit card holders, have improved security compared to the "slide-and-sign" cards typically issued in the United States. AMEX plans incentives for retailers to adopt acceptance devices for chip-and-PIN transcations beginning in October, 2013.

Rollout of the new AMEX cards will be a welcome relief for many Americans traveling abroad. While AMEX, VISA, and Mastercard merchants worldwide are required by contract to accept slide-and-sign cards, there are growing reports of consumer delay and frustration when transacting with this older generation of cards. Also, most automated transaction terminals in Europe accept only chip-and-PIN cards. These terminals are typically found in locations such as public transit centers, toll booths, and 24-hour gas stations.

AMEX has piloted chip-and-PIN cards in Canada and is currently running a small pilot program in the United States. Broader availability of the new card is expected by mid-2013. Contact Michael Kurutz in Travel Services for updates on chip-and-PIN availability for the CWRU AMEX Travel and Expense Card.

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