I just read on the forums that several people have been calling Chase to request a Chip & Signature version of their Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Chip & Signature is a technology that is heavily adopted in Europe & Canada. This technology is more secure (harder to clone) than the magnetic stripes we’re all used to.
This is not to be confused with Chip & PIN technology, which is similar but sports one major (obvious) difference. Chip & Signature will authorize a transaction then print out a receipt that requires a signature. Chip & PIN will not process the transaction unless you enter your secret PIN number. For more on this, I found this article to be pretty informative.
I decided to find out for myself and tweeted @ChaseSupport to see if they could process my request. In a matter of 15 minutes and one phone call to them, I was all set. My Chase Sapphire Preferred EMV Chip & Signature card is due to arrive in 1-2 business days.
My Experience with Chip & Signature and Chip & PIN Technology in Europe
Of all the places we visited in Madrid, I don’t recall an instance where the credit machine did not have a magnetic strip swipe on its side. I can’t speak for the rest of Europe, but we did not necessarily NEED an EMV Chip card in Madrid.
The one thing we could not do with our Chip & Signature American Express Platinum card in Europe was buy subway tickets from the ticket machines. That action required a PIN to be entered, which we obviously were not equipped for.
I would suggest contacting Chase to get your Chip & Signature card as soon as you can if you’re traveling to Europe in the near future. Apparently, they will be rolling out in November so you can also just wait to see if you receive one.
I wouldn’t call this new feature a huge value add, but it is helpful in certain parts of the world. I’d rather have it and not use it than need to use it and not have it!