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American Credit Cards

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Jun 1st, 2014, 10:32 AM
  #1
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American Credit Cards

Heading to Italy , Austria and Slovenia in a couple of months.. Hearing that our credit cards will no longer work?
Does anyone have information?
Thanks so much !
John
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Jun 1st, 2014, 10:35 AM
  #2
 
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Nonsense. Visa and MC are taken almost everywhere and AmEx is taken by most everyplace but very modest restaurants/shops.

BUT pensions or B&Bs may require cash.

What people are referring to is the "chip" cards that are standard in europe that are often necessary for mechanical payment (as in train station ticket machines or autopay for gas). Any with a live person you can use a card issues in the US.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 10:36 AM
  #3
 
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Haven't been to those countries recently, but where did you hear this? I just wonder where people get some info like that from. The only country where I've heard that could be true was the Netherlands. Someone wrote that on Fodors not too long ago,as I recall, but I haven't been there in a while so don't know if that is true throughout the country or only the rail system (and I seem to recall someone saying the rail system wouldn't even accept CCs, only debit cards).

anyway, sorry to sidetrack but I do wonder where you heard that.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 10:48 AM
  #4
 
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Where on earth did you hear that?
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Jun 1st, 2014, 11:12 AM
  #5
 
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AmEx is taken by most everyplace but very modest restaurants/shops.

Where on earth did you hear that?

Generally the assumption is that AmEx ISN'T accepted due to the high costs to the trader
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Jun 1st, 2014, 12:21 PM
  #6
 
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>>Hearing that our credit cards will no longer work?<<

From whom????

Silly

Or are you reading some of the less than detailed reports in the Sunday newspaper travel sections? (Sometimes a little knowledge is worse than no knowledge at all). US credit cards don't have the same technology as European credit cards . . . but millions of Americans visit Europe and trust us, their credit cards are accepted . . .
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Jun 1st, 2014, 12:38 PM
  #7
 
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"Generally the assumption is that AmEx ISN'T accepted due to the high costs to the trader"

We are just back from Paris, and while I assumed most places would NOT take AmEx, I think everywhere we went did take it - much to my surprise. But that probably varies by city/country.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 02:28 AM
  #8
 
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Just returned from Europe and used both my Capitol One and
Chase Sapphire cards which I got since it has a chip in it which
is needed in some places. Had NO problem using both.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 03:11 AM
  #9
 
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Some places do not take Amex, but in areas with a lot of tourists most do.

Visa or Mastercard are accepted nearly everywhere. It is true that in some places, for example gas stations without attendants, and train stations, you may need a chip and pin card. But that has nothing to do with the cards being American, it's just a different technology (better, I think than just signing a receipt - maybe the US will catch up some day).
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:02 AM
  #10
 
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One place in Italy I had a hiccup was at Termini self-service ticket machine.

When I tried to use a magnetic stripe only Visa credit card to buy tickets, it asked for a PIN. It was possible that the my U.S. PIN would have worked, but since the use of PIN for a credit card in the U.S. is only for extracting cash at an ATM, which I don't do even in the U.S., I didn't know any PINs for my credit cards.

However, there are other option at Termini.

1. Look at machines carefully. There are two types. The wide ones with "coins and bill" symbol do have an additional slot for cash. I simply moved to one of this "cash and card" capable machine and completed my purchase using cash.

2. If you have time, you can always stand in queue at ticket window. The day I was at the station, the queue was enormous.

There are annoying "helpers" around ticket machines.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:16 AM
  #11
 
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Not that the OP asked, but we just returned from Belgium and The Netherlands, and in Amsterdam, there were a number of places that only took cash. As far as using an American credit card, many places have a credit card machine where a chip is not required. But we used more cash, than any trip I could remember.
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Jun 15th, 2014, 08:49 AM
  #12
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I heard on Rick Steve's show...sorry...thank you, I feel better about it
Thank you!
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Jun 15th, 2014, 10:07 AM
  #13
 
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Re those ticket machines at Termini. I used my ATM card (which is obviously also a debit card that has a PIN) in the machines and it worked perfectly.
Dukey1 is online now  
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Jun 15th, 2014, 11:18 AM
  #14
 
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Here's a summary from the Points Guy about the best American cards for intl. use:

http://thepointsguy.com/2013/05/us-c...h-smart-chips/

Bottom line:
1) To be safe, get a card with a chip and pin, although you'll probably be okay in many countries without one.
2) Even more important: Get a card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.

In Europe we use Amex Platinum or the awesome British Airways Chase Visa (which usually offers 50k or 100k miles for signing up).
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Jun 15th, 2014, 11:35 AM
  #15
 
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I didn't "hear this" about AmEx. I have been to europe more than 100 times and almost all hotels we have stayed in and restaurants we have eaten in take AmEx.

However, I would not carry this as my only card. Typically we each carry 2 CCs (one AmEx and one Visa each) plus separate ATM cards.

Granted that budget places often do not (this is not our price point, and we don;t stay in B&Bs or pensions). And for modest meals we generally pay cash - we figure anything less than $25 should be cash in any country.
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