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Chip and PIN or Chip and Signature Credit Cards/ATM

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I leave for Italy in one month and surprisingly have never come across this subject regarding American credit cards or ATM cards that might not work in Italy if they are not Chip and PIN or Chip and signature cards.

If anyone has had experience in this area and can offer some useful advice I would really appreciate it. The following are concerns regarding the Chip and PIN vs Chip and signature credit cards and an ATM question as well.

1. Would a Chip and PIN or a Chip and signature credit card be necessary to use for purchases in Italy?
2. I have an ordinary stripe ATM card. Can I still use that to access cash at an ATM machine?
3. What is the difference between a Chip and PIN and a Chip and signature card?
4. Would a Chip and Signature card work at an unmanned gas station or ticket kiosk?

One of my credit cards has the chip and signature feature which I had to request for my upcoming trip. But I am concerned about the signature part being not a PIN and most concerned for my ATM ability.

I have read several articles on line regarding this technology and while they are not so confusing, the whole thing is just different and I'd hate to be stuck in Italy with no finances. Please offer some advice. Thanks!

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