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Andrews FCU credit card usage in Europe

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We've discussed the Andrews FCU chip and pin card here before; supposedly one of the only American banks offering a true chip and pin credit card. In any event, I just finished 1 2.5 week trip to Europe which included a 1 week cruise out of Barcelona and stops in Paris and London. I decided to give it a try out for small purchases because after all, it imposes a 1% foreign currency fee which is 1% too high for my tastes.

The card worked almost flawlessly wherever I trued it including an RATP machine in Paris where my mag strip card had not worked last year. However, not once was I asked for my PIN. It functioned at almost all the places I used it as a chip and signature card (not compalning, just reporting). On the RATP machines, no PIN nor signature was asked for.

The one interesting aspect of the trip was I had to go to a T Mobile UK store to get a new sim card for my stick modem. They told me they no longer took magnetic strip cdards so I tried to use the Andrews card and the trransaction was declined. I had to do something I did no other time while in London, reach into my wallet for a £10 bank note and almost didn't know what to do with the £2 and £1 coin I was handed back in change. (This was the onhly time all week I spent any cash in London although I must report I became addicted to the British version of Diet Coke Cherry which tastes completely different than American diet cherry coke or coke zero cherry and kept popping into stores to pick up 2 500 ml bottles on the 2 for4 £1.60 special and not once did any clerk say anything when I used my cc for the £1.60 almost just like at home).

In any event, to finish the story, when I called Andrews about the decliation, (using my 3p/minute timed to the second yourcallworld service so the 3 minute call only cost 9p) they had no record of any declination..the intended charge never reached the left side of the pond.

Oh well. Yes the card works but it basically does default to chip and signature not chip and pin (although it is claimed by customer service it will go to chip and pin if the merchant's account doesn't allow chip and signature).

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