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AARP Article on Smart Cards with Chips in Europe - reason for concern?

AARP Article on Smart Cards with Chips in Europe - reason for concern?

Aug 9th, 2007, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,206
>I'm not sure that credit cards do use RFIDs as they require contact with the reader.

As far as I know the CC's never use RFID. Just a "smart" chip with direct contacts.
altamiro is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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Smart cards are superior as they provide security by (as Fnarf says) something you know and something you have. Signatures are neither.
A third level of security includes fingerprints, retinal scans, signatures, photo scans as something you are and only if verifiable (and not by a clerk looking at the back of your card)). However most people are resistant to these as they feel they are invasions of some sort.
A great advantage of smart cards is they are not removed from you (like in restaurants).
robjame is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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"See ID" or "CID" is just silly, even with a signature. Merchants are NOT required to ask for ID and are supposed not to.
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Hi Leburta.

>...I understand .. that U.S. passports with chips are being phased in. There has been some speculation that information from these passports can be gathered remotely with the proper wireless devices. Is this true of the credit cards and passports with chips?<

A reasonable question.

It is less likely than a thief will be able to read the chips in your wallet than that you will be hit by lightening.

If it bothers you, wrap your cards and passports in aluminum foil. That will block the transmission.

Former engineering professor and person who used to be interested in such things.
ira is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 03:10 PM
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>"See ID" or "CID" is just silly, even with a signature. <

So some guy mugs my mother and runs up a bill of $350 before she can report it to the CC company.

Wouldn't asking ID from a male person using a CC in a definitely female name have prevented this fraud?

I completely reject the argument that it is safer not to ask for ID.

ira is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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Sorry, but none of my employees will take a CC without ID & the bank we deal with insists on it. We won't accept a signature by a wife using her husband's card either. He has to sign it. If the customer balks, they may use cash or traveler's checks.

And the reason for the husband/wife thing is because of the number of people who will go back home & protest the charge & naturally the signature will not match.

The number of crooks traveling around is astounding & we're on a low enough margin as it is. It has come to the point we have to check even $20.00 bills for counterfeits, not to mention a DVD player displaying souvenir DVDs of scenic sites here in the VI was stolen from the counter by a tourist.

I have a Mastercard & an Amex & have never received notices that it's illegal to ask for ID. Most people are grateful that we DO ask.
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 04:08 PM
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From VISA's official rules, at http://tinyurl.com/353h46:

"When should you ask a cardholder for an official government ID? Although Visa rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures."


"Some customers write “See ID” or “Ask for ID” in the signature panel, thinking that this is a deterrent against fraud or forgery; that is, if their signature is not on the card, a fraudster will not be able to forge it. In reality, criminals don’t take the time to practice signatures: they use cards as quickly as possible after a theft and prior to the accounts being blocked. They are actually counting on you not to look at the back of the card and compare signatures—they may even have access to counterfeit identification with a signature in their own handwriting.

"“See ID” or “Ask for ID” is not a valid substitute for a signature. The customer must sign the card in your presence, as stated above."

Merchants also cannot add a credit card surcharge, nor can they set a card minimum. A merchant who accepts Mastercard or VISA at all MUST accept a charge for ten cents if it's offered.

People who've actually read their card agreements (both merchants and consumers) are rarer than hens' teeth, but not having read it doesn't mean it's not a contract.
fnarf999 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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Thanks, Ira. I guess I'm a worry wart. It's just that it's clearer every day that the crooks are smarter than us. And woe if we run into those who don't just want to steal information, but want to do us harm!
Leburta is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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There are many wonderful moments on the Fodors Europe board, but high among them has to be Ira advising travelers to wrap their credit cards and passports in tinfoil to thwart transmissions. Thanks Ira.
Fidel is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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My credit card did not work in the luggage storage machine at Schiphol, but it worked everywhere else. I did encounter a merchant in Cesky Krumlov, CZ who said the shop did not accept credit cards. Since they sold artwork for upwards of hundreds of dollars, I thought that to be strange.

One time in a clothing store in Amsterdam, my card did not work, but my ATM card (which is also a credit card) did work. It doesn't have a chip, either, so I don't know what happened.

I always travel with my credit card, ATM, and back-up cash. Have always made out OK with those options.
amp322 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 07:27 PM
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Be aware that these consumer protections only apply to merchant agreements in the USA....some unenlightened countries do permit these things such as minimums for purchases, surcharging use of a card and allow merchants to refuse a sale if customer does not have ID.

But many merchants in the USA routinely try to violate their merchant agreements and if they pull that garbage on me, I reach into my wallet and pull out the notice from visa noted above....if they still don't accept the card I tell them politely I don't walk around with enough cash to pay for the transaction and if they still won't follow their merchant agreement, I indeed report them to visa. I would hope visa follows up and prevents them from pulling this garbage again.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 07:49 PM
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I'd like to see what the European VISA rules are. I'll bet they're the same. It doesn't really have anything to do with law, but with private contracts.

The tinfoil is completely unnecessary if you wear the standard aluminum colander on your head. Unless it rains.
fnarf999 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 08:31 PM
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MasterCard also does not allow merchants to require a minimum purchase. Many places however, will tell their customers that a minimum is required. I generally call my Master Card provider and report them. I find that the next time I go to the store where it had been a problem they have "corrected" their "Minimum Policy."
I don't call MC if it is a small mom and pop neighborhood store.
nanabee is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 08:58 PM
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...the difficulty is government laws and rules supersede those of the credit card companies...I believe in the UK by law credit card companies cannot prohibit merchants from surcharging credit card sales or setting minimums...but it's just bad policy to have minimums....cash sometimes disappears into the arms of crooked employees or the wrong change is made or wahtever...a credit card transaction is 100% secure!
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 09:15 PM
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American Express in France has recently notified merchants to ask for ID when the card is used. Most are still not doing so, preferring to shoulder the risk themselves.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 9th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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Although I'm old enough for AARP's magazine (wink, wink), I don't subscribe but read a similar article in National Geographic Traveler and posted a summary thread. The warnings in NGT sounded the same as those BoulderCo mentioned.

I think the gist of both articles is that, although this hasn't been an issue in the past, tourists using the antiquated U.S.-issued cards will increasingly encounter problems in the future.
Jean is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 09:29 PM
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...do you think for one second MC/visa are gong to allow their humongeous US market to be left out in the cold...

All the new terminals have provisions for "old fashioned" swipe magnetic stripe cards...even when the illiterate clerk (and I have run into some in London...and they keep inserting my non chip card into their chip terminal and I keep telling them they're not supposed to...result...the signature panel is being rubbed off but you can't help if some people are idiots) they are told to swipe the card.....yes I understand that sometimes you run into clerks who don't seem to understand but then you request to see the manager

No matter what the jerks who write these articles say, the US credit cards with magnetic stripes will remain valid indefinitely or until the US banks are convinced that it is in their customers' best interests to have a chip and pin; right now the studies they have done show that loses due to fraud are less than the cost of replacing all the payment cards in the USA.

Besides which, much of the fraud in this day and age comes off the internet not at merchants much anymore and all the chips and pins in the world are not going to stop this vermin from stealing credit cards and identities to make a quick buck for themselves (which some British cardholders discovered about 15 months ago when a scam operating at Shell stations stole their numbers despite the chip and pin and the cards were suddenly turning up being used in Thailand.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 11:06 PM
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Certainly here in Holland the same reader is used for ATM/debit cards which are swiped and pinned, and credit cards which may be swiped or chipped and signed for or pinned, and our own "Chipcard" electronic wallet system. So I see no problem for US vistors here - they will not be getting rid of the swipe system.
You do however have to realise that apart from in retail outlets not every machine which accepts a card accepts a credit card also such as ticket machines and lockers.
BTW next year (maybe)we get the OVchip card instead of tickets for trains buses etc, so ticket machines will become obsolete.
hetismij is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 11:53 PM
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Mastercard DOES have specific rules changes for Europe. In particular merchants ARE allowed to apply surcharges for card use as long as the surcharge is clearly displayed.

Merchants are NOT permitted to set a minimum charge in the Europe area. If you see a merchant doing this, report them to Mastercard.

See 9.2 and 18.A in this document:

Also see 9.11.2 Cardholder Identification:
"A merchant must not refuse to complete a MasterCard card transaction solely because a cardholder who has complied with the conditions for presentment of a card at the POI refuses to provide additional identification information".

Again, if they do this to you, report them. This is true in Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom (18.2 Definitions).
fnarf999 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 04:27 AM
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Hi Leb,

>...it's clearer every day that the crooks are smarter than us.

No, they aren't. It's just that they spend a lot of time working on how to steal.

You are welcome, Fidel.
I didn't think of it first, however.

>Also see 9.11.2 Cardholder Identification:
"A merchant must not refuse to complete a MasterCard card transaction solely because a cardholder who has complied with the conditions for presentment of a card at the POI refuses to provide additional identification information".<

Maybe they have their reasons, but I find that an open invitation to theft and fraud.

ira is offline  

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