New 2% Cash Back Chip-and-Pin Card with $200 Bonus, No Foreign Transaction Fee, No Annual Fee

Check out our Top Rewards Cards to boost your points earning and travel more!

The State Department Federal Credit Union has a new no annual fee/no foreign transaction fee card that earns 2% cash back everywhere: the Premium Cash Back+ card.

SDFCU Premium Cash Back

Doctor of Credit has the rundown and instructions for eligibility, membership in the American Consumer Council (see DoC’s instructions for free membership). DoC made no mention of what really interests me, though: chip-and-pin.

Before that, here are the offer details: sign-up bonus of $200 for $3,000 spend in the first 90 days. One commenter reports that SDFCU is sensitive to applicants with many cards and credit inquiries.

The published list of benefits are:


When I see State Department (what’s left of it), I think international and so I wanted to see if this card is chip-and-pin.

Chip-and-Pin is useful for those un-staffed train station ticket machines and gas stations in Europe, for example. The vast majority of US credit cards with a chip are Chip-and-Signature. A few hedge, saying they are chip-and-pin enabled, though only after first running chip-and-signature as priority.

My Diners Club Professional is chip-and-pin though has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

I’ve been on the lookout for a no annual fee card to use in Europe. One that is 2% rewarding means it can be comfortably top of wallet on my travel, and not waste time trying to get higher rewards with other cards.

Burrowing into SDFCU’s chip FAQ:

14. Can I choose to have signature or PIN as my default when using the SDFCU cards?

For New Credit Cards: The application process for a new credit card asks the question if the cardholder will be frequently traveling or living overseas. If you select Yes, you will receive a credit card with the PIN as the default. If you answer No, you will receive a credit card with the signature as the default.

For Existing Credit Cards: If you already has a credit card, contact SDFCU’s Member Services Department by calling 703.706.5000 or 800.296.8882. Alternately, you can send an email request to

NOTE 1: A new card with the same card number will need to be generated. The expiration date and 3 digit security code on the back of the card will change.

NOTE 2: Creating a custom PIN on credit or debit cards is done in real time. Cardholders who create a custom PIN must then first use the card as a signature transaction in order for the new PIN information to be updated on the chip. It cannot be used in a PIN transaction before the signature transaction takes place once a custom PIN has been created in real time.

Debit Cards: We currently do not have the option to change the debit card default from signature to PIN. However, whether the transaction is completed with a signature or PIN is determined by the merchant.

You get chip-and-pin if on the application you select ‘yes’ for ‘frequently traveling or living overseas.’

The invaluable EMV CVM Database, run by Hawaiian717, confirms the same. See FlyerTalk’s USA EMV thread for ongoing chip card updates.

Yay! I’ll give this a try when my current flurry of applications has settled for a few months.

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3 years ago

I’m curious about the rest of the story on this card. The post ends saying it will be tested. Does it work at unattended offline locations in Europe and does it ask for a PIN when using it in the USA for purchases?

Rich T.
Rich T.
6 years ago

I’ve long had a BOA Travel Rewards card. No annual fee & true chip and PIN. Have had it for about 10 years and keep it for that purpose.

Rich T.
Rich T.
6 years ago

It has a PIN and has worked in the past, so I hope the next card upgrade doesn’t break anything.