Real chip and pin for Americans from Andrews Federal Credit Union

Diners Club under BMO is rolling out chip and pin cards but is not open to new applicants. Some US card issuers are disingenuously issuing chip and signature cards in a lamentable application of American exceptionalism.

Andrews Federal Credit Union to the rescue.


FlyerTalk has a superb thread curated by kebosabi with a Google Docs spreadsheet of all chip options in the US. kebosabi broke the news about Andrews FCU and MASTERNC got the card and shared the application experience. They and all the contributors to this thread should be applauded for their tireless research efforts.

So here is the GlobeTrek Visa Rewards Card showing the big banks how to cater to serious travelers (see the FAQ, too).

Rapid Travel Chai miles and points special consultant spiffster contributes this pithy analysis of the card:

Pros – best first
Chip and PIN – Yeah, PIN !
no annual fee – Yeah!
1% foreign transaction – better than 3% but still not 0
5000 bonus on first purchase – but only 5K?
no balance transfer fees – cool but still charge interest
low interest rate – again, who carries a balance?
no cash advance fees – but, who does this?

Cons – worst last
1% foreign transaction – still not 0
platinum not signature – lesser bennies
Uses CURewards for its points redemption – max value is probably 1% and almost always lower on these programs

This  is a specialist card, the best option for Americans who need frequently need true chip and pin. For others the chip and pin benefits may not be justified due to a credit pull to open the account and poor rewards program. Bravo to another credit union showing the big boys how to meet customer need!

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13 Comments on "Real chip and pin for Americans from Andrews Federal Credit Union"

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New Girl in the Air

There have been a few times in my European travels where I needed chip & pin (though ultimately I resorted to the easy solution: cash). I’d definitely consider this card even without a solid rewards program (though using it only when necessary) if it had a 0% foreign transaction fee. In the meantime, cash is king.

Rapid Travel Chai

@New Girl in the Air – 0% would be great, but 1% is not that bad, especially for Europe where many travelers’ cost of acquiring euros is higher than 1%, either by gouging from ATMs or exchange offices. They can get a debit card with no fees like the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking but those too require opening a new account, which even without a credit pull, is still a hassle for some.


Here’s a blog post with step-by-step instructions and screenshots for getting a chip-and-pin card with Andrews Federal Credit Union.

Rapid Travel Chai

@VIctoria – thanks for the helpful guide, this great product should get as much support as possible.

Robert Mack

Greetings. I got this card and used it on a recent trip to France. Sadly, it provided no material advantage over my ordinary non-chip non-pin cards. Their card readers did read the chip. But then I was almost always still required to sign a paper slip, the same way as if they had swiped one of my ordinary cards. It seems that the Andrews pin isn’t recognized in France. Also, the process of getting this card is truly Kafkaesque. Among other things they required complete copies of my last two tax returns.

Rapid Travel Chai

@Robert Mack – thanks for sharing and sorry to hear the effort did not pay off for you. As more data points come in it seems the main issues where people have are automated ticket machines and automated gas stations. I had problems on my last trip to France where the rail station machines would not accept any of my cards but there was a staffed booth that was able to swipe the card. I think the Andrews option then should be reserved for Americans that spending significant time in Europe, such as living there part-time.

Steven Grimm

I’ve read elsewhere that the Andrews card is really “chip-and-signature, with PIN as a last-ditch fallback” — if the card reader is capable of spitting out a signature slip, it’ll do so, and you’ll only be asked for a PIN in cases where there’s no way to collect a signature.

Not ideal, but better than no PIN capability at all.

Rapid Travel Chai

@Steven Grimm – thanks for that info, I have not gotten the card because my travel to Europe is limited, so it is good to hear info from the field. I do have Diner’s Club as an emergency fallback, though the 3% foreign transaction fee bites and it is not open to new applications so not useful to most people.

Joe Geohan
I have the Andrews GlobeTrek VISA. To clear up some misconceptions, it can be used as a normal swipe card (as is normal in the USA) or as a chip and signature/pin card (as is the common technology in place in Europe). When using the chip technology, the AndrewsFCU is BOTH chip/signature and chip/pin. Which gets used is a function of how the machine in which you use is configured. Most (but certainly not all) in Europe are set to default to chip/signature which is why you still get the slip printed out to sign. If the machine is set… Read more »

[…] US residents is the Andrews Federal Credit Union GlobeTreak Visa Rewards Card, which I previously introduced though am not a cardholder. (Disclaimer: I have no financial relationship with Andrews FCU and will […]

Steve Leonardo

It now says it does not charge foreign transaction fee. Is this a recent change?

Every GlobeTrek Visa® Rewards Card comes standard with some amazing benefits, like:

/// 1.90% APR introductory rate* for the first 9 months on all purchases and balance transfers
/// Purchasing limits up to $50,000
/// Earn Rewards Points with every purchase
/// No balance transfer fees
/// No annual fees
/// No cash advance fees
/// No International/Foreign Transaction fee
/// 5,000 points with your first purchase
/// and MORE!

Rapid Travel Chai

@Steve Leonardo – thanks for the great update, that card keeps getting better and better.

Joe Geohan
Steve, yes, they changed to no foreign tx fees shortly after I got the card. I will be back in the UK and France in September and October and will report how it goes. I won’t be in Paris so will not be able to check how it works on Metro tickets. Someone reported above that it does not work in the machines. I have used it at railway station unattended kiosks to buy train tickets. In the past it has worked at most gas station pumps but reportedly InterMarche and others have changed their machines to accept only French… Read more »