12 Best Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards in the U.S.A. (No Foreign Transaction Fees)

By: Linsey Knerl • May 25, 2017

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Credit cards haven’t had a makeover in years, but all that changed with the introduction of EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) technology. EMV offers a much more secure shopping experience in that every time the card is inserted into a chip-enabled checkout device, the purchase generates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again.

There is an important difference between chip-and-PIN and chip-and-signature transactions, both of which are offered with EMV. Most of us will continue to have to sign for purchases with our chip cards, as memorizing a PIN for your purchases, the other option, isn’t very popular yet in the US. Since most of Europe requires you to have a PIN with your chip-enabled card, however, it’s wise to have at least one in your wallet for international travel.

Let’s take a look at some of the top chip-and-PIN credit cards here in the United States (none of which have any foreign transaction fees!), or skip ahead to the best chip-and-signature cards.

1. Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

With no limit to the points you can earn and no expiration dates, this is a fairly flexible card with no annual fee for the first year. Travel perks include rebates and discounts on participating airline purchases, cruise shipboard charges, car rentals, and the concierge service Amex users have come to know and love. Apply for the Wells Fargo Propel Card here.

2. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

If you appreciate concierge service, flexible points options, and travel insurance benefits, this is a card to consider. It ranks highly among the travel community and even rewards members for giving advice to other cardholders. Apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus here.

3. BankAmericard Travel Rewards

This card allows users to continue using their signature, but also has the option to set a PIN for those international purchases. No annual or transaction fees make this card a popular choice for travelers, especially since rewards can be redeemed with no blackout dates. Apply for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card here.

4. Diners Club Card Premiere

This card is invite-only, so look for the offer to arrive in your mail. With Club Cash access, complimentary airport lounge admission, superior concierge service, and discounts on all kinds of travel, it’s a fantastic option for the discerning traveler. Learn more at the Diners Club website.

5. Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card

Loyal guests of the Wyndham hotel family will love that this card offers perks for stays, requires no annual fee, and gives frequent bonus offers for promotional purchase periods. Cardholders have over 25,000 Wyndham properties worldwide to stay at and earn points, including Wingate, Ramada, Baymont, and others. Get more info on this card here.

6. Priceline Rewards Visa from Barclaycard

Here’s another Barclaycard for those who like to save money on travel! Thanks to its partnership with Priceline, super-users of the discount site can get an additional 10% on the value of points when they redeem them for Priceline.com purchases. Learn more about this Visa card here.

7. Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®

If you’re keen on traveling to someplace warm, a trip to Hawaii may be in your future! Consider getting more miles from your trip with a chip-and-PIN card from Hawaiian Airlines. This card features the same perks as the Barclay travel cards, plus extra incentives for those who visit the islands frequently. Apply for this MasterCard here.

8. USAA Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

This card is a decent cash-back option for those who don’t want to pay an annual fee and need flexibility for their loyalty rewards. No penalty APR and unlimited cash-back earning make it an attractive chip-and-PIN choice for those with good to excellent credit. If you are an eligible USAA member (or want to be), you can sign up for this card here.

9. Sam’s Club® MasterCard®

You don’t only have to shop at Sam’s Club to take advantage of this card’s perks! Get 5% back on gas for the first $6,000 in purchases a year, as well as 3% on dining and travel. Rewards are capped at $5,000 per year, but there is no annual fee for the card. Learn more about this and the business version of the card at the Sam’s Club website.

10. U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® Card

If you need an American Express card with chip-and-PIN technology, you’ll find your options to be pretty limited. This card offers it, although you’ll need to specifically enable the option. It also gives you all the American Express benefits cardholders are entitled to, in addition to no annual fee. Get more info on the card at the U.S. Bank website.

11. Fargo Advisors Premium Rewards Visa Signature®

Here’s another Wells Fargo product with no annual fee. Those who use the services of a Wells Fargo Advisor are eligible. Earn modest rewards and get access to exclusive VISA VIP travel perks, including their Luxury Hotel Collection, Visa Signature Concierge Service, and VIP access to events. Learn more here.

12. Chase Ink Business Preferred

For the small business owner who wants flexibility, as well as excellent transaction reporting, this card may be for you. Enjoy 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent each year, and a very low annual fee for a business card (just $95.) Learn more about the Chase Ink for business here.

The Best Chip-and-Signature Cards

Chip-and-Signature is still the prevailing technology among credit cards, especially for those based in the US. Until consumers get accustomed to skipping the swipe and become more familiar with the convenience and security of chip cards, expect these cards to be among the most likely to be offered by your bank. These cards offer excellent customer service, travel-friendly perk packages, and no foreign transaction fees!

With TSA-lines, passport updates, hotel reservations, and flight changes to worry about, you’ll need peace of mind that your credit card has your back. Many travelers see their card as an ally in their adventures. They should be able to depend on it, not only for purchasing power, but as a lifeline to customer service teams that can help them troubleshoot any travel glitches that may arise during their trip.

Don’t Pay for Convenience

While foreign transaction fees may allow global travelers to be able to shop wherever they go, they are not something most cardholders should settle for paying. With all the competition among chip-and-PIN and chip-and-signature card issuers, most will be working hard to get your business — this includes skipping the foreign transaction fees altogether.

If your bank insists you pay for the privilege of shopping where your wanderlust takes you, it may be time to consider an account with a more customer-minded issuer.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Linsey Knerl

Linsey is a finance blogger, author and public speaker with a passion for helping everyday families earn more and live better. In addition to covering the credit card industry in depth on CardRates, she shares her expertise for parents who want to start budget-friendly businesses from home at 1099Mom.com.