LOS ANGELES, May 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- City National Bank is now issuing "smart" credit cards that supplement magnetic stripes with an embedded microchip technology that enhances transaction security. Initially available to the bank's commercial clients, the new cards are expected to be especially attractive to frequent travelers to Europe and Asia, where chip-enabled cards and terminals predominate. "These new cards are both suited to current systems in the United States and to credit card technologies that are standard outside the U.S.," said Vincent Hruska, senior vice president for product strategies at City National Bank. "As a result, our clients will find their cards accepted at a wider range of locations abroad and will be able to use them with a greater degree of security. They will also be fully prepared for the increase in chip technology anticipated for domestic markets over the next few years." Chip-enabled cards (also known as "smart cards") are payment cards with a microprocessor chip embedded on the front of the card. The chip stores the same information as the magnetic stripes traditionally used on cards, but adds an extra layer of security to in-person transactions through an encryption technology that authenticates each transaction and makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to access or copy card information. Chip-enabled cards and terminals are currently in use in 130 countries worldwide and use in the United States is growing. However, because magnetic-stripe technology is still predominant domestically, the new cards will continue to prompt cardholders to sign for transactions, just as they would today, and the card will also include the traditional magnetic stripe. "We want our clients to have the best possible experience while making purchases with their credit cards, whether here at home or while traveling overseas," Hruska said. City National Bank began distributing chip-enabled cards to new and renewing commercial card clients earlier this month. Distribution of chip-enabled cards has also been launched to current commercial cardholders with at least one international transaction within the past year. Distribution to personal card accountholders will begin this summer.