Chip and pin credit cards

Aug 6th, 2012, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Fees? There are all sorts of fees. It would be helpful to be more specific of what fees you are talking about. Many banks indeed charge a 3% fee for foreign transactons whether done in the local currency or by dynamic currency conversion into US dollars (assuming you're American). There are many banks which do not have this fee. In any event, some banks charge 3% on ATM withdrawals in foreign currency, others do not. It is an individual bank matter. Even if you are silly enough to use a credit card from a bank that charges the 3%, you still do far better using a credit card than exchanging cash (if you use an ATM card from a bank that does not charge a foreign urrency transaction fee, you could do better with cash). Get a credit card, almost all cards from Capital One do not have this fee, with no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee. There are more and more out there.

To the best of my knowledge, at least at the present time, Wesdtern European countries do not sually surcharge credit card transactions (although there might be exceptions).

I'm xyz123 and I approved this message.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 9,171
We have the Andrews chip and pin. I have never had a problem with any atm or credit cards till this last trip. My atm card would not give me any money in France. It was a Kennedy SCFCU card that I have used everywhere. My husband had the same problem and he took money out on his credit card to get us by. As soon as we hit the UK out pops money. I had tried that card in 10 machines and really needed pounds as I had brought zip with me. I was so happy when the machine gave me money. I was so thankful I had brought enough euros to pay the apartment balance. It was so weird. The worst part was at Monoprix, I had gone shopping without the husband and never thought my credit card wouldn't work there but it didn't. The girl at the counter just didn't understand anything but chip and pin so paid her in cash. The chip and pin worked great but I like having cash!
flpab is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 06:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
flpah...I get it about needing cash for the apartment. No criticism there. You said your Andrews card worked fine. So what is the probglem with using it everywhere it is taken. As I've said, I don't get the advantage of paying cash, especially when travelling. I understand the reluctance of some places in Paris to take credit cards and that often there might be minimum purchase requirements but since you have apparently more than one credit card (from my reading of the post a swipe card as well ass the Andrews card), why not use them? And in London, acceptance of credit cards is almost universal.

Again, I am not being critical. You are entitled to do thnghs the way you prefer. But call me whatever you wish. Why not use the credit cards everywhere they're taken and not have to worry about taking cash from an ATM. As I said, I spent a week in London last month. Made a £20 ATMand came home with £8.50.....£7.50 for various visits to an internet cafre each morning and a pint in a pub....other than that every other purchase I made in London from re-filling my oyster card, buying theatre tickets, lunch and dinner, snacks for half time at the theatre, topping up my mobile phone, the hotel bill was done with my credit card....a credit card with no foreign transaction fee and a 1% cash rebate to boot (some of the purchases were from groceries and I got 2% on those). As I've said, I just don't get the reluctance to use credit cards. I really wish I could understand the psyche behind it.

But I'm not being critical. If that is the way you prefer to travel, who am I to say you're wrong!

I'm xyz123 and I approved this message.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2012, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 173
Here's how it went for us. When we used our debit card at an ATM we were charged a $5.00 fee as well as an "international transaction fee." If we used an ATM at a partner bank of our home bank, there was no $5.00 fee.

When we used our credit card to pay for purchases we were charged the "international transaction fee." I didn't determine what the percentage rate for each purchase was but for most things is was under $2.00 each. The fee for something more expensive like lodging or car rental was closer to $10.00.

In total, we ended up spending about $30 in debit card fees and about $15.00 in credit card fees.

So while using the credit and debit cards worked for us, it would have saved us some money to use the debit card to obtain local currency and use that as the primary funding source.
Traveler_A is offline  
Aug 7th, 2012, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
Most of us who travel more often use ATM/debit cards that charge no transaction fee and no or minimal conversion rate. Ditto for credit cards. I have an account at a credit union which I use only for travel. I deposit travel money before I go on a trip. The credit card and the debit card from this credit union charge a conversion fee of 1% over the interbank rate. No transaction fee.

As for cash vs. credit cards, it depends on where you travel. We're just back from Istanbul and Greece, both places where cash was preferred at many establishments.
Mimar is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 23
We just returned from Germany and Austria last week. We only had one time that our card would not work. Mine wouldn't but my Brother-in-laws would. Same company so don't know the reason. We used a Visa credit card and a debit card from my bank. We tried to have 2-300 Euros at a time. Some places did not take any credit or debit cards so you want some cash with you. All of the machines we saw were swipe machines. They want American money so they will accomodate our cards until we switch our system. In another year or so it won't be an issue.

One thing that was different to get used to was the 1 and 2 euro coins. I hardly ever carry coins with me in the US. I carry my cards and cash in a front pocket money clip wallet. Next time I will take some kind of coin pocket for all the coins.
Kstate90 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 10:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 402
Lots of replies - for which I thank everyone. I used my cards (no chip, no pin) to make reservations without a problem. At hotels (France, Italy), they took the card (AMX) and had no problem. One hotel didn't even take the card, just somehow managed to bill the room to the card. The gas stations on the autobahn/strade had no problem with MC or Visa w/o chip/pin. However, in Denmark we had some real difficulty, esp at unmanned gas stations. The solution, we found, was our bank ATM/debit cards. Since this has a pin, it worked. Not a charge, a debit, but what the heck we got the gas. I also used the debit card on the ferry from Denmark (okay, look, I HAD to have the handbag - it was just what I was looking for, so at 100 Euro, it was a real deal - buttery leather). But they couldn't take my credit card at that shop - no chip/pin. So it seems that debit cards might be a solution. Thanks all for input.
Shanna is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 01:37 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1
I just got a new us bank flex perks card with a chip. Curious what PIN number GGMaine and others are talking about using with it. Only pin I will have is the one to use for cash advance that they will send me. I will probably immediately change that to something I can remember. Is that the PIN to plug in if prompted?
Just had a friend in Paris have zero success with this buying an RER ticket at CDG....
sndtw is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
sndtw....I believe but am not completely sure that the card you received as is typical of most of the emv chip cards being issued by the US banks is chip and signature not chip and pin. To the best of my knowledge, only Andrews FCU and State Department FCU are issuing credit cards that are used as chip and pin where their default method, chip and signature doesn't work.

For some reason, as I said, the US banks have chosen to stick their big toe in the water of emv chips with chip and signature. That means you stick it in the chip reader of the pos terminal but instead of asking you for your pin, it spits out a receipt exactly the same as an archaic American magnetic strip only card does, for you to sign. So in the normal course of events, it will not ask for a pin.

Now to understand, this is as bit of a controversial issue on some credit card blogs. My own experience in using my chipped cards in visits to Europe this past July is that every place I used the chip and signature card while it worked, it would have worked with a non chipped archaic magnetic strip card.

Now the question becomes what happ[ens at those places where magnetic strip cards are not accepted such as the bank racks in Paris, the automatic toll booths on the interstes oops autoroutes or autostradad or autobahns or unattended gasoline pumps on a Sunday in Franced. Here the results have been very very spotty and for the most opart the chip and signature cards have not been accepted but that answer is not universal. In some other cases, people have reported that pins were asked for and the cash advance pin worked although the US banks claim one thing has nothing to do with the other. Others claim you can enter any 4 digit number to serve as a pin with a chip and signature card and it will work.

Why the US banks went off in this direction is totally incomprehensible. I guess there was a lot of pressure coming from customers for emv chips and this was the response. But at least it's better than the response from Capital One, one of the more popular US credit cards for foreign travel as they charge no foreign transactin fee. When asked why Capital One has not issued any chip cards as of yet, customers are told that mechants are required by their merchants' agreement to accept all credit cards even their archaic outdated American magnetic strip cards. Try telling that to an automatic kiosk which has rejected your card!

The good news is that for the most part, in Western Europe most places where there are attendants will accept the American cards.....
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,456
sndtw - On the two occasions I was asked for a PIN, both in parking garages, I used the PIN US Bank gave me and it worked. Someone in one of these threads on this subject a while ago said any numbers would have worked, and maybe that's so - who knows?

As for your friend having no success buying RER tickets in Paris with this card, I would only say that our experience was that the card worked in ticket machines for Metro tickets in both Lyon and Paris, and Transilien tickets in Paris and Auvers-sur-Oise. We never bought RER tickets during our last trip.

While I believe that many have no difficulty using their magnetic strip cards, my experience was that when we were outside the usual tourist areas, it was likely to be refused in shops like those in the neighborhood of our apartment in the 11th. It was nice to have the chipped card to use in those instances.
MaineGG is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,919
Just had a friend in Paris have zero success with this buying an RER ticket at CDG....

Unless they are ripped out all of the new machines at Roissypol and in Termianl 2 station in recent weeks, this is one of the very few places in Paris where one may purchase RER or Métro tickets with a magnetic strip credit card.
Sarastro is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
xyz123, you sound like you're knowledgable in this credit card enthusiasm that we have found for world travelers of US origin.

I am also a frequent traveler and have used my Capital One (USA) card that has NO TRANSACTION FEES ever (as we know it) abroad and it works at favorable and upscale places of interest worldwide.

Please let us know when Capital One will come up with Chip & PIN cards, as I am really interested in that. Hope they will lead the way like they promise everyone in a witty manner about everything else (i-e: no annual fees, generous line of credit, perks and etc).
j777777 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,919
Andrews AFB has a true pin and chip (not pin and signature) credit card with no annual fees but it does pass along the Visa/MC currency conversion fee of 1%:

The State Department FCU has a pin and chip card with no fees (no annual, no currency conversion, no transaction):

Other banks have pin and signature cards with no transaction fees but most have high ($400) annual fees.
Sarastro is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,420
I'm surprised that MaineGG had trouble using a magnetic strip card anywhere in Paris. I don't stay in the tourist areas and I have no trouble using mine anywhere in Paris, small shops/cafes outside the tourist areas or not (I never stay in arr. 1-8, for example, and dine, shop and do other things in the non-touristy areas). I also was recently in Bordeaux and had no trouble using it there in nontouristy places. I just don't know what their problem was, it's not like this is some thing no one knows about (magnetic strip credit cards) but maybe those particular places literally never want to serve anyone other than local French people or just don't care enough to get the proper machine that allows them to swipe them. I even dined in very small family-run restaurants in the outer arrondisements and they all took mine.
Christina is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 10:36 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Correction: Andrews no longer charges 1% for using either their chip and pin credit card, nor for using their ATM card (from banking account).
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 34
We got the Andrews GlobeTrek chip-and-pin card shortly before our trip to Italy last month and had no problems using it. But it always defaulted to chip-and-signature. We were too chicken to try it at an unattended kiosk to see what would happen if we *had* to use the pin (almost tried it at a card-only toll booth on the autostrade but decided to use the attendant booth instead!). So, it might not have been worth the effort to get the card. On the other hand, as Debit notes, there is no foreign transaction fee and also no annual fee. So it was a useful card to have! (Even though on the few occasions when we used one of our "regular" magnetic strip cards we had no problem.)
ContraBecky is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 11:05 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
We are presently using the Andrews' cards (chip and pin and debit) in France. Have been here for a month and have used it successfully in machines for train tickets, tolls at unmanned booths, parking metered, unattended gas stations, purchases, and it has worked perfectly. It does default to signature a lot when there is a person, but works great with PIN in unattended situations.
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 02:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
It might be the Andrews card did have some teething problems at the beginning as the software and hardware had to mesh since in the beginning..........there were reports of difficulty with it but in recent times, almost al the reports have been that it works fine.l
xyz123 is offline  

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