US banks, without exception, issue credit cards with magnetic stripes. In Europe, though, almost all credit cards also have a chip and require a PIN.
Most merchants in Europe don't mind swiping an American card with a magnetic stripe. However, many automated machines (at train stations, gas stations, tollbooths) in Europe REQUIRE the chip and pin. This can be extremely frustrating for Americans... instead of getting a train ticket from a machine in 10 seconds, you have to wait on a long line to pay with cash (something that has caused me to miss a train more than once).
For more background, read here.
Now to the question.
Since there are no US banks that issue chip-and-pin credit cards, what is the easiest way to open a bank account in a foreign country that does?
- I could open the account without being a citizen
- I could open the account without having a local address, only a US address
- There was some easy online way to transfer money back and forth to US accounts
- The whole thing didn't get me arrested and thrown in a prison in a military camp in the carribean