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Chip & PIN credit cards

Chip & PIN credit cards

Old May 21st 2012, 10:21 pm
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Default Chip & PIN credit cards

Does anyone have any recent experience of trying to use US (magnetic strip) credit cards in Europe? With the increase in EVM (chip & PIN) style credit cards (virtually everywhere but in the US), I've been hearing more noises about US travelers running into issues in Europe. I'm particularly interested in your experiences in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium.
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Old May 21st 2012, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Does anyone have any recent experience of trying to use US (magnetic strip) credit cards in Europe? With the increase in EVM (chip & PIN) style credit cards (virtually everywhere but in the US), I've been hearing more noises about US travelers running into issues in Europe. I'm particularly interested in your experiences in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium.
Never used my US cards in the UK as we kept our UK bank a/c open and load it up before we go over, however the US is supposed to be going chip'n'pin (at last) over the next couple of years so hopefully it won't be a problem for much longer.
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Old May 21st 2012, 11:12 pm
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

It's a pain in the ass basically. The biggest issue I had (last year, UK and Spain) seems to be with restaurants where they bring the little keypad to to you and also with automated ticket machines and the like. Some machines apparently do not even have magnetic strip readers anymore and only read the chip.

Most US banks now offer a travel card with a chip that you can load up. Travelex is I think the most well known one.
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Old May 21st 2012, 11:48 pm
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
It's a pain in the ass basically. The biggest issue I had (last year, UK and Spain) seems to be with restaurants where they bring the little keypad to to you and also with automated ticket machines and the like. Some machines apparently do not even have magnetic strip readers anymore and only read the chip.
I encounter those in restaurants in Canada a lot but most of the readers seem to work with US magnetic strip cards as well.

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
Most US banks now offer a travel card with a chip that you can load up. Travelex is I think the most well known one.
Travelex has terrible exchange rates though. I've just applied for a chip & PIN Global Trek VISA card from Andrews Federal Credit Union (which I heard about via Rick Steves' travel web site) as anyone can easily become a member and the card has no annual fee. I'm just not sure that I'm going to get the card in time.

http://www.andrewsfcu.org/destinationanywhere.html

Last edited by MarylandNed; May 22nd 2012 at 12:02 am.
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Old May 21st 2012, 11:49 pm
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
Never used my US cards in the UK as we kept our UK bank a/c open and load it up before we go over, however the US is supposed to be going chip'n'pin (at last) over the next couple of years so hopefully it won't be a problem for much longer.
To be honest it's a joke that chip & PIN technology isn't widespread in the US yet. I know that VISA and Mastercard are now promoting it to the merchants and that they are going to eventually shift fraud liability to the merchants for fraudulent magnetic strip card transactions.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 12:27 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
I encounter those in restaurants in Canada a lot but most of the readers seem to work with US magnetic strip cards as well.
It depends, I came across plenty of Spanish waiters who shrugged a lot and said the card wasn't working. Luckily I had my UK cards with me.

Travelex has terrible exchange rates though. I've just applied for a chip & PIN Global Trek VISA card from Andrews Federal Credit Union (which I heard about via Rick Steves' travel web site) as anyone can easily become a member and the card has no annual fee. I'm just not sure that I'm going to get the card in time.

http://www.andrewsfcu.org/destinationanywhere.html
I only mentioned the Travelex brand card as I recently saw a poster for it in my local USBank. I have no experience of it myself.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 12:45 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

In the UK, they are supposed to accept it with signature, but you might have issues at some places who have gone with newer tech without the strip reader, though I think part of the agreement with having those is that they have access to a strip reader, probably at customer service desk for grocery store type places.

No idea about the rest of Europe.

If in doubt, buy a gift card using your credit card at a random bank in the country you're in perhaps?
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Old May 22nd 2012, 12:53 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Had no problems in the UK once they realised it was a US card. Just printed and signed like the old days.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 12:54 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
In the UK, they are supposed to accept it with signature, but you might have issues at some places who have gone with newer tech without the strip reader, though I think part of the agreement with having those is that they have access to a strip reader, probably at customer service desk for grocery store type places.

No idea about the rest of Europe.

If in doubt, buy a gift card using your credit card at a random bank in the country you're in perhaps?
Yeah I'm used to dealing with the problem in the UK & Ireland. Usually they can also swipe. Although sometimes I encounter employees who don't know how to process a swiped transaction even though the card reader is capable. I just don't have any recent experience of swipe credit cards in the rest of Europe.

Last edited by MarylandNed; May 22nd 2012 at 12:58 am.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 12:57 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Originally Posted by Sheepdip View Post
Had no problems in the UK once they realised it was a US card. Just printed and signed like the old days.
Right same here for the most part in the UK - although even there I occasionally encounter a young person who doesn't know how to process a swipe. It's not the UK I'm worried about. I'm particularly worried about France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and Belgium.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 12:58 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

I can't speak about everywhere else, but when we moved over to Scotland last year, we had issues using our US card pretty much everywhere in/around Glasgow. We basically used it to get money out of ATMs.

It would be nice if the US actually did go to chip&pin to make it easier to travel overseas.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 1:36 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

It all depends on who is doing the transaction. If they know how to do a manual entry all well and good using your magnetic swipe US card. If not no. As somebody else said many automated machines can't read them or insist you enter a postcode with 7 digits only (in UK at least).

It's a joke that US banks haven't kept up with chip and PIN technology and they claim to be advanced LOL Like Bluegrass Lass I use my BoA card to get cash and pay the old fashioned way. Crazy for 2012.

Last edited by Brit3964; May 22nd 2012 at 1:38 am.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 2:04 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Whats the big deal, just write a cheque!
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Old May 22nd 2012, 2:07 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

Not flavor of the month right now but Chase just offered us Chip & Pin on our British Airways Visa cards, arrived in the mail sharpish too
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Old May 22nd 2012, 2:33 am
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Default Re: Chip & PIN credit cards

I haven't had any big problems using US credit cards in large retail establishments in Europe - some of them wanted to see my passport but that was all.

Smaller places and restaurants that are not used to getting a lot of US tourists can be problematic.

The biggest pain is not being able to use the cards in any kind of automated vending machine which can make buying things like rail tickets a nuisance.
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