Citibank’s Poor Judgment in Consumer Videos and a US Credit Card Designed for Cuba

News and notes from around the interweb:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Those videos are odd but necessary – Citi are have to train their customers because they have made the bizarre decision to enable only chip and sign for their EMV cards, not chip and PIN. They issue a product which is not compliant with the way the rest of the world expects to do business and customers reap the consequences in the form of confused sales assistants and customers that can’t buy petrol and train tickets from automated vending machines.

  2. “Even though we finally got EMV chips, which have been around since the 90s*, we decided to ignore the incredibly important security improvements of going to Chip+PIN because US retailers are whiny and cheap, so now our cards have to be treated like special snowflakes in other countries and we’re trying to strongarm the rest of the world into lowering security to accommodate us.”

    Thanks Citi!

    *(I had a credit union debit card with EMV in 1998, but there was no where to use it so they stopped issuing chips until last year. At least now it works as a Chip+PIN backup if none of my CCs work.)

  3. Gary, does it hurt when you think?

    The Citi videos were filmed exactly as intended. They were produced to show possible issues that could arise and how to, contrary to the Chicken Littles of the world such as you, solution them.

    If anything, we need to ask Citi to dumb it down for you.

  4. I’d agree with others – while the videos show how silly it is that US companies decided to skip chip/pin for chip/sign, the video itself is actually spot-on accurate and helpful.

    (I live in Paris)

    The yellow SNCF machines they used generally don’t work with chip/sign cards. Though ironically they could have just used the blue machines (RATP) and those do work with chip/sign cards. Or, as the video helpfully pointed out – the attendant ones always work with signature.

    Given we have family/friends from the states that often comes over, this specific problem is common – so the video is actually helpful. Even more so since this video encapsulates the most common transaction a visitor to Paris will likely get stumped on: Taking the RER-C train to Versailles (since you could find either blue or yellow machines, versus a the standard Metro is blue only machines – which will work. Also, the vast majority of machines at CDG (and all at ORY) are blue, so again, will work fine there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.