Millions of consumers who travel overseas might find it difficult to take on credit card debt in a growing number of foreign countries.
Almost every credit card ever issued in the U.S. stores its information on the familiar little magnetic strip on the back, but most countries have turned to a system that uses a microchip to hold user data, meaning it's growing increasingly difficult to complete a transaction with an American card overseas, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. However, some U.S. lenders are now extending cards to some consumers – typically affluent borrowers or frequent travelers – that store information using both a magnetic strip and embedded microchip.
However, lenders in the U.S. are hesitant to roll out a full switch to the new system given the likelihood of adoption for mobile credit card purchases made with smartphones, the report said. Implementing a new system that would likely only be in use for a few years would be costly and ineffective.
The countries where the switch has been most common are located largely in Europe, Asia and Central America. The most difficult purchases for Americans are typically those made at automated kiosks.