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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the card I believe to be the single best personal rewards card on the market — with a great signup bonus, fast earning, valuable points, and strong benefits.
I thought I’d highlight, though, two concerns that would suggest to some that it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Over at One Mile at a Time, Sean M. commented on two things he sees as drawbacks,
Much as I love the CSP, there are two issues with the card that don’t seem to be highlighted much.
a) You cannot use this card at retail outlets which require card imprints as it does not have embossed, raised numbers.This has been a problem when renting cars in South Africa where most major chains require a card imprint (in addition to the standard electronic approvals).
b) Chase does not subscribe to Verify by Visa. So any transactions using merchants that insist on VbV authentication will be denied. You then have to call Chase and they will manually approve the charge and you have to run it again. You can’t call in advance. You have to try the charge once and have it denied and then only will Chase approve it the second time. Annoying.
I’ve never run into either problem. It may just be because Sean M. and I travel in different circles. Though he’s a hero, one of the coolest men on the planet, I don’t try to emulate him: I’ve never sought out a role managing the Mogadishu airport!
No Embossed Numbers on the Card
Part of what makes Chase Sapphire Preferred such a sleek card is that the card is noticeably heftier than standard credit cards. It has real weight to it.
The card is pretty indestructible, if you have to get rid of it you can’t shred it. Even a blow torch won’t work. Chase will send you a postage paid envelope to return the card to them for proper destruction.
(Photo by AndyAndy used with permission.)
The other thing that’s unique about the card is that there are no raised numbers on the front. In fact, there are no numbers on the front at all. They’re printed on the back.
True enough you aren’t going to be able to physically put it into an old style credit card machine to swipe it and make an imprint. In much of the developing world, where credit card use is relatively new, they’ve skipped the old generation machines and moved straight to more modern terminals. But as Sean explains, though the Sapphire Preferred Card has no foreign transaction fees, you run into a challenge with old swipe machines. In my own case I’ve never had a problem with a clerk hand writing in the numbers on the charge slip instead of taking an imprint in those rare instances that a merchant abroad still insists on such a thing. But I suppose your mileage could vary.
Verified By Visa
I’ve never run into a charge declined, or needing authorization, because of Chase policies. Modern architecture, even where programs like Verified By Visa are in place, simply skip the step with cards that aren’t set up to use it.
But Sean M. has run into something that I have not — an online transaction that will be turned down, where you then have to speak to Chase and run it again.
These are impediments I haven’t run into: the first becoming more common in card design across issuers — the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® has a new slick design without embossed numbers as well; the second is suggested here to be an issue with all Chase cards and it’s hard to imagine a miles and points enthusiast skipping over Chase products since they have the most and best co-brand relationships.
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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.