This article on EMV technogy is quite interesting. The part travelers will particularly care about is in the section EMV Implementation > United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMV The 'liability shift' dates are a driving factor: "In many countries of the world, debit card and/or credit card payment networks have implemented liability shifts. Normally, the card issuer is liable for fraudulent transactions. However, after a liability shift is implemented, if the ATM or merchant's point of sale (POS) terminal does not support EMV, then the ATM owner or merchant will be liable for the fraudulent transaction." When liability actually shifts to the merchant, the willingness of merchants to pay the cost to implement (upgrade POS equipment) should increase. For the U.S. the liability shift dates are predominantly in the 2015-2017 date range for the big three - Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Until then, if you really want/need a true Chip-and-Pin Visa credit card, one possibility is the Andrews Federal Credit Union (FCU) GlobeTrek Visa® Rewards Card: http://www.andrewsfcu.org/credit_cards_and_loans/credit_cards/globetrek_rewards.html Disclaimer: Informational only; I have no affiliation with the Andrews FCU and don't even have their GlobeTrek Visa® card.
Even if the US switches over to true chip&pin credit cards, that still doesn't mean our cards will be accepted everywhere in Europe. Lots of places across the pond only accept chip&pin debit cards. For example with Dutch Rail only Ceentral Station Amsterdam, and Schipol Airport accept chip credit cards; all other stations debit cards only. I was recently in Hamburg, the public transport machines only accept chip debit cards; no credit cards of any variety. Same deal with a lot of supermarket chains; debit cards only. It's going to be a loooong time (if ever) before there before there is complete interchangeability between cards....and by that time it all probably be done with smartphones anyways.
Yep, though I don't entirely agree with the part about smartphones. I meant to add to my post that what I personally really want is a Chip-and-Pin debit card. The Andrews FCU FAQ says: Will my card work at an ATM? Yes. The GlobeTrek Visa® Rewards Card will work at any authorized ATM in conjunction with your PIN. But it's still a credit (not debit) card and won't work where only debit cards are accepted. Also, even without any Foreign Transaction Fee, using any credit card at an ATM may not result in the best exchange rate, and because it's a cash advance against a credit card, interest may begin accruing immediately. The FAQ says nothing about that, so read the Terms & Conditions for the card carefully. The FAQ also says: Is this card still covered under the Visa® Zero Liability policy? Yes, it is protected, however that protection does not apply to ATM transactions, PIN transactions not processed by Visa, or certain commercial card transactions. This is also true with magnetic strip cards.