Wells Fargo Tests Microchip Credit Cards for Globetrotting Clients

Thursday, April 14, 2011
By Paul Martin

Bloomberg.com

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the U.S. bank with the most branches, is testing microchip-embedded credit cards with frequent travelers to address complaints of customers who have trouble using their cards abroad.

The pilot program announced today marks the first effort by a major U.S. bank to deploy Visa Inc. (V) credit cards with so-called EMV-chip technology, which has become a standard in Europe and much of the rest of the world, according to San Francisco-based Wells Fargo.

“It’s not an infrequent message from our customers of the acceptance challenges they have when they go overseas,” Eric Schindewolf, vice president of product development for Wells Fargo’s consumer credit-card unit, said yesterday in a phone interview. “We want to remain top-of-wallet, wherever our customers are.”

The lender is preparing to notify 15,000 customers it identified as frequent travelers, including college students and clients of its private bank, that they’ve been invited to participate in the pilot. The cardholders will receive the EMV cards in the middle of the year.

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