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Earlier today, my friend Howie from Frugal Travel Guy posted on Facebook about how you can call the customer service number on the back of your Chase Sapphire Preferred card and request a new card with an EMV Smart Chip (Chip and Signature) in it.
Just to verify, I called up Chase and spoke to a rep there to request my own new Smart Chip Sapphire Preferred and she said that the roll out was supposed to happen tomorrow, November 1, 2013, but that the new card design is already available in their system so she would be able to send me a replacement with a chip – and these new cards will be chip and signature not chip and pin.
Chase will send you a new card with a Smart Chip via UPS to arrive in 1-2 business days, no signature required. So it’s up to the driver’s discretion whether they leave it for you or try to deliver when someone is home. Until you activate the new card, you can still use your old card. They also give you the option to destroy your old card yourself, or they will send you a special envelope to return the card to Chase so they can destroy it for you since it is made of metal and you can’t use a shredder to do so.
If you apply for a Sapphire Preferred now, you will still be send the old version of the card, but you can call Chase after you’re approved and request a new card with a chip.
For now, the Smart Chips are only available in the Sapphire Preferred, not the Sapphire, Ink Bold, Ink Plus or Freedom. Though remember that Chase does offer other cards with Smart Chips including the British Airways Visa and the Hyatt Visa.
The reason I might suggest getting a new Sapphire Preferred card with a chip is that it is a great card to use abroad thanks to the fact that it doesn’t incur foreign transaction fees, but many vendors and merchants in other countries – even highly touristed ones like France and the UK – require a chip of some sort to process a credit card transaction.
Smart Chip is a credit card technology where cards are embedded with chips and a cardholder must put in their pin or sign for each transaction to be approved. With “chip & pin” especially, this is an ultra-secure method that makes it much harder for credit card hackers and fraudsters to steal from consumers since, rather than just stealing the information contained in a card’s magnetic strip, they’d have to know the carrier’s pin number as well.
The other type of chip card, “chip & signature,” function more like US swipe cards, only they can be used with portable electronic readers that require you to insert the card rather than swipe it, and then sign for it as you would with a regular old swipe card. That’s how this new Sapphire Preferred will work.
Although chip & pins are prevalent in Europe, the cards issued in the US with chips tend to be overwhelmingly chip & signature, so you might still have some issues using them at certain merchants, but having a chip at all can be a big help when using cards at ticket machines or other vendors that require a chip of some sort. While many merchants, hotels and restaurants let you use your swipe cards, many, especially in Europe, do not, including some restaurants, hotels and even public transport like the Paris metro.
All in all, I think this is a great new development, and just reaffirms why the Sapphire Preferred is one of my top all-round travel credit cards. For more information on Smart Chips and the credit cards that have them, check out this post: