Chip & Pin Only

Dec 14th, 2013, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,943
Until the Chip and Pin conversion in the US is tied to executive bonuses, nothing will change to the lack of true Chip and Pin situation. Unfortunately, as long as the sub-prime lending in different reincarnations continue to bring in enormous profit, Chip and PIN consumer demand is probably not even at the bottom of the agenda.

Over the years, I have seen a shift in bank responses to the Chip and PIN inquiry. A decade ago, they never heard of it, but would look into it, and responded apologetically that they didn't have a plan. Now either they tell me outright that they have NO plan to add Chip and PIN capabilities or they don't know anything about Chip and PIN and the customer service rep will not even escalate to someone else unless he understands what a Chip and PIN is to ostensibly escalate to the "right" person, but in fact, seems to have been told to stonewall any inquiries by playing dumb.

I think this so call "too expensive" to convert is smoke screen. The banks (or the trade associations that represent bank but hide bank names) claim too expensive to force US merchants to convert their machines. There is not a single need to convert not even one US merchant machines to Chip and PIN. USAA and AFB can issue such cards without converting any US merchant machines. I am disappointed by EMV articles on financial magazines that continue to repeat this "enormous cost" argument as a bona fide reason for not offering Chip and PIN cards to the general public.

Also, there are millions of Visas and MCs with Chip and PIN in circulation, so the mass production capability exists. Even if we postulate that it costs more to produce a CHIP and PIN card, the banks could just charge a one time fee for this. Do banks expect us to believe that the banks who have no hesitations in tacking fees of all sorts suddenly have scruples charging a premium to issue a Chip and PIN card?

And finally, why Chip and signature if they even bother to put chips on cards? I am suspecting that in case of US market, it is probably more profitable in some way to offer Chip and signature over Chip and PIN. I am eagerly waiting for the analysis on this strange bank behavior. Is it because Chip and PIN interferes with some kind of revenue stream?
greg is offline  
Dec 14th, 2013, 04:20 PM
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greg...nice technical analysis. My thought, and I have no way of knowing, banks such as Chase, Citibank, Bank of America were being badgered by some of their more affluent customers as they began having difficulties using the archaic American cards. So, like sticking your big toe in the water to gauge the temperature, they hit on the scheme of offering chip and signature cards saying to these customers, see now you have an emv chip. At first, these cards were only issued on the premium cards with annual fees and many but not all had the asinine 3% foreign transaction fee. Then the FCU's came into play, first Andrews then State Department and Pentagon. But as noted their so called chip and pin cards default as chip and signature. Their claim is chip and signature is the norm in many countries (outside Europe). They also claim, Americans are used to signing for their purchases and would rebel against having to enter a pin! There is a deadline of 2015 put up by visa/mc to convert to emv but I'm not sure if it is to go to chip and pin.

But some attitudes are just strange. Capital One was always the US bank that tried to build up its card portfolio by advertising itself as the "only" bank with no foreign transaction fee. Advice from travel writers was to get a Capital One card to avoid the foreign transaction fee, even here on Fodors.

But as Citibank and Chase began sticking their toes in the water with the emv chips albeit chip and signature, cap one has adamantly refused to go in the direction of emv chips. Call up a Cap one rep, and if they know what you're talking about, their stock answer as supplied on their script is that emv is not necessary as mc/visa require all merchants to accept any valid mc or visa (as I noted above, somehow they won't be very helpful at a French self service gas station).

It is also interesting to note that many merchants already have terminals capable of taking chip and pin or chip and signature cards. Just about all Walmarts in the USA, for example, have such terminals as does the Postal service. Yet stick your emv equipped card in such a terminal slot and you get the message please swipe card. The apps to accept emv chips have almost universally not been enabled. The 135 page thread in Flyer Talk gives a couple of places in the USA where emv works but they are few and far between.

As I said, the USA has a long history of being critical of any innovation not introduced by Americans. Another response is that chip and pin is not all that much safer than magnetic strip and something better is jut around the corner (probably invented by Americans) and there's no sense in converting now if something better is just down the street! Make a suggestion about the government stepping in and requiring things that make sense and you get the Tea Party knee jerk response that it is not the role of government to do this or that. For example, to this day when I go to a restaurant and pay my bill with a credit card, I insist on following the waiter to wherever the card is being processed which believe it or not, some restaurans give me a hard time about. Of course a source of stolen credit card information occurs in back rooms where crooked restaurant employees swipe your card through the little scanning devices and pocket cash from the vermin running the credit card and fraud vermin. In Europe, because of chip and pin, all restaurants have portable terminals which they bring to the table and either swipe or insert right in front of you and the card never leaves your sight. I suggested to my congressman that such terminals should be required in the United States and was told that is not the role of government to require something like that. Please.

I'm willing to wager a dime that chip and pin never sees the light of day in the USA despite the 2015 roll out date suggested by mastercard and visa. We may get chip and signature and the garbage that it's just as good. Wait and see.
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 01:47 AM
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Imagine, real information on a topic that has generated so much heat and very little light!

As is so often the case here, janisj nails it: the number of people for whom this is an issue is so tiny that it makes no economic sense for banks to respond.

My son has an MBA from a Famous Business School, and he constantly responds to my incredibly brilliant business ideas with, "Dad, how many people do you think are in your situation? The market isn't there!"
Ackislander is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 03:34 AM
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While statistically speaking on a percentage basis this might not affect a whole lot of people, I'd wager the raw number is still somewhat substantial. But no matter because this also inconveniences many Europeans, Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis coming from "enlightened" countries when visiting the primitive shores of the United States. How so, I hear you cry. Well when they use their credit cards at American merchants, they have to use the magnetic strip. That means their cards can be cloned and used both online and duplicates manufactured and used in the USA. It takes away from them the advantages of chip and pin at least as far as card is present transactions in the USA. So that greatly increases the number of people who can be inconvenienced.

I do understand that there are people who would simply shrug their shoulders in a situation where their credit cards are not honored and use cash. I am not one of them. When I travel, I expect to be able to use all the conveniencs of the 21st century. And whether I'm travelling in the USA or abroad or even not travelling but going to my post retirement part time job, picking up a few odds and ends at a take out place or a diner, grocery shopping, putting gas in my card, going to the dry cleaners, paying my phone bills, paying tolls, getting on the subway or bus or train or plane, going to the theater either live or movies, paying for parking where I have to, taxi cabs where necessary, paying my co-pays at the doctor's office or via phone after the fact, paying for my rx drugs of which I have many now, eating out, I want the convenience of plastic without any hassles. I once went to the grocery, the clerk ran the whole thing and when I presented my credit card was then told the machine was down. Not for one second did I consider paying cash. I simply said thank you very much and walked out (btw all merchants can process credit card transactions manually so that was a lie). This to me is the only way to live in the 21st century and I sure as h*ll don't want to be inconvenienced with exchanging cash. I think the last time I spent any cash and beliefe me I live a life where I don't sit in the house was last June when I was in London and bught a pint at a pub. Other than that, I have the same $15 US, £10 and €5 sitting in my wallet.

That's the way to live in the 21st century.
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 03:49 AM
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I have several different chip and pin cards (credit and debit) from Swiss/European banks and a swipe card from a U.S. bank.

Chip and pin cards have several advantages although they are not immune to fraud as seemingly suggested above. There are always determined and inventive criminals who will eventually figure out a way to get at somebody's money. However, c/p cards do seem less susceptible to fraud.

Since Amex is useful mostly for travel, ex. plane tickets, and chain hotels, we keep one purely for travel emergencies (example, if one of our parents in the U.S. falls seriously ill).

My c/p debit card is good for money withdrawals pretty much anywhere, but not for purchases outside Switzerland. Had a couple of unpleasant surprises about that in Germany But now that I know, I simply withdraw the cash needed for purchases instead.
WeisserTee is online now  
Dec 15th, 2013, 03:59 AM
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"My son has an MBA from a Famous Business School, and he constantly responds to my incredibly brilliant business ideas with, "Dad, how many people do you think are in your situation? The market isn't there!"

No doubt Blockbuster was run by lots of people with brilliant MBAs. Now all their stores are closing down. And no doubt lots of very intelligent people were told about Facebook and Twitter and thought they would never catch on.

The introduction of chip & pin in the U.K. has been largely trouble free. Credit and debit cards are replaced at regular intervals, so new ones were manufactured with a chip and distributed following the usual schedule. Similarly, most retailers replace their card readers at regular intervals, so the new ones have chip readers. At first, some of the cards had chips, but the retailer did not have a suitable reader, or perhaps the retailer had a chip reader but the offered card was swipe only. In a matter of a few years, every card had a chip, and every retailer had a reader which could accept cards with chips.

I am sure that when credit cards were introduced, there were lots of people who shook their heads wisely and said "There's no demand" Perhaps you could tell us how, in the United States, cards are accepted securely without an employee being present to check the signature?
chartley is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 04:03 AM
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xyz123, your views are interesting. I tend to take the opposite approach. I pay with cash whenever possible. I don't like having everything I spend tracked by computers. But then, I'm no fan of Facebook either

From the tenor of your post, it seems like you'll probably hold me in disdain (to say the least) for my ongoing fondness for anonymous cash, but that's ok. To each his own.
WeisserTee is online now  
Dec 15th, 2013, 05:22 AM
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WeisserTee. You have my vote.. being native Irish it costs a minimum of 20 or 30 cent every time we use plastic for anything.. we even pay to put cash into the bank so we can pay to take it out.. Cash is king..
Tony2phones is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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Nah Weisser...I sure don't hold you in contempt; perhaps a bit behind the times but certainly not contempt. You may well be like a few people I know here in NY who think we should go back to subway tokens and don't want to use EZ pass to pay tolls (to maintain outside of government records) or even those who won't accept checks or cards for work they do as contractors (of course do they report all their income to the Internal Revenue Service). My parents, may they rest in peace, were like that. Even trying to explain to them that with a cell phone, it doesn't cost them one penny more to call me in NY from Florida than to call their neighbors across the way (remember those days guys when you paid ridiculous charges to call outside your calling area in the USA) and when I travelled to Europe to get them to make an "expensive" international call or if I would call them, they would worry about how much the call was costing me.

So no contempt is much too strong a word. A tad behind the times, perhaps. But as you say, to each his or her own.
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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Still misconceptions.

There are around 50 EMV (chip) cards available in the USA today. Most are chip and signature but a dozen or so (mostly from credit unions) are chip and pin.

"U.S.-based card issuers, financial institutions and retailers have set a deadline of October 2015 to put an EMV payment system in place. That's when liability for counterfeit fraud shifts from the issuers to merchants and their acquirers if their equipment does not support EMV."

That's from the link I provided and obviously some people either didn't read or are unable to comprehend.

Ackislander, as usual janisj is out to lunch on the topic. I don't suppose you read the link I provided either. It isn't whether the public want it, the banks are now saying THEY want it and that it IS going to start happening and in fact already has. This, 'only a few people care' is totally irrelevant.

The part Americans should be annoyed about is 'chip and signature' vs. 'chip and pin.' It is chip and pin that is needed but for whatever reason, the American banks don't seem to want to do that. Again, read the article I linked.

As I have already indicated anything that requires a signature is of no use to you in any kind of automated transaction. ie. a fuel pump in an unattended fuel station in France or a ticket machine in a train station for example. No chip, no fuel, no ticket.

This IS a travel forum and topics are MEANT to be looked at from that viewpoint. For a traveller, a chip and pin card in this day and age should be a must.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 04:08 PM
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In talking with another merchant, at a restaurant today, he responded that the person at the Phone Store was simply ill trained and that every CC terminal currently in use was equipped to handle the chip and signature, as well as the traditional swipe card, even if you have to enter the card number by hand.

As far as the chip & pin cards go, Barclay's, a UK based bank, will only be issuing a chip & signature card in the summer, no plans for a chip & pin in the States at this time.
Robert2533 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271 some degree, it is a matter of definition. As I pointed out, several of the fcu's in the DC area for government employees advertise their credit cards as chip and pin but the way the authorization system works, their default system is chip and signature. I have the Andrews card and every time I've used it in the UK or France or Spain, it has functioned as chip and signature. If chip and signature doesn't work, then the system tries chip and pin. People on other blogs for the most part report that most of the time in the unpersonneled kiosks, the Andrewss card will function as chip and pin. So do we consider them true chip and pin? As I said, if the merchant in question is determined not to accept chip and signature cards for whatever reason (as technically as noted this is a violation of his or mer merchant's agreement but who is around to enforce it), then in the op's case, even the advertised Andrews supposed chip and pin card would be rejected and there is no way to tell the terminal in this case which accepts the card to go to chip and pin. We have heard examples of this. Now on some boards involving travel to Scandanavia, it is claimed that when the terminal asks for a pin on a chip and signature card, sometimes the cash advance pin works. Sometimes. Other times it doesn't.

While I may not be aware of every single fcu's credit cards, I will stick with what I said. To the best of my knowledge, the only bank in the USA issuing a true chip and pin is USAA; perhaps others here know of others (but Andrews or State Department or Pentagon FCU's are, as I just said, true chip and pin cards even though they claim they are and there may be other fcu's who use the same processor.).

As I said, I know for a fact the USAA mastercard with an emv chip absolutely works in pos terminals as chip and pin. I've used it for small purchases just to check it out. (I will not use it for large purchases as it has a nasty 1% foreign transaction fee unless it's my only alternative and up till now it hasn't been.

Why chip and signature. I think I explained it in one of my posts above. The US banks simply are not committed to issuing chip and pin cards perhaps because of cost although some think it's a frivolous argument.

Personally, I really don't see this changing very soon until and unless the eu, for example, mandates that the only credit cards that will be accepted within the eu are chip and pin cards (there has been some talk of them doing this but it's apparently not imminent). Whether merchants will be happy with the cut off of American souvenir hunting or whatever because their credit cards are not accepted is open to question.

As a final thought, there was some resistance several years ago when the UK mandated chip and pin cards from groups representing the handicapped. After all, how can a blind person enter a pin. So provisions were made that alternate arrangements had to be included for the handicapped. And you know what that solution is? Chip and signature! Therefore in theory, all UK merchants should accept chip and signature cards (again I don't know who's around to enforce this).

I['m pretty sure my information here is correct as of today.
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 05:00 PM
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Robert, I don't understand your or anyone else's apparent obtuseness or reluctance when it comes to chip and pin cards.

Chip and pin works EVERYWHERE while anything else may not. So why would anyone want to continue with a card that MAY not work when you can get one that will work? It isn't as if it will cost you anything to have a card that works wherever you go.

Here is a list of where you can get one:

It's as if those who don't have one feel the need to try and justify not having one. There is NO justification. It's simply a matter of common sense to get what works rather than hanging on to something that will not work in all cases.

I can't understand this reluctance. It's like saying I plan to travel but I won't be taking an unbrella in monsoon season since I think I will be able to avoid the rain.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 05:06 PM
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Robert...there are several banks operating in the USA that are subsidiaries of large international banks who offer emv cards in some countries but not in others.

Barclays are you note is one. HSBC is another as is TD Bank. Also several of the American banks with subsidiary banks overseas do offer emv cards overseas but not in the USA.

it's one totally messed up thing, that's for sure.
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 05:11 PM
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Ah ha dulciusexasperis...there is very little if anything in your linked article that I haven't said. And their list of banks issuing emv cards as you noted almost all of them are chip and signature (and I consider any card that defaults as chip and signature such as Andrews to be not a true chip and pin card; you may and are welcome to disagree).
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 05:41 PM
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dulciusex: there is a rule on fodors against name calling and personal attacks. Provide info/advice/lectures if you wish .. . But quit w/ the denigrating everyone who posts something you disagree with. Robert's post was quite measured and reported what actually happened. To call him obtuse is rude/silly/counterproductive if your aim is to convince folks . . .
janisj is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 05:59 PM
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Robert2533 wrote: "In talking with another merchant, at a restaurant today, he responded that the person at the Phone Store was simply ill trained and that every CC terminal currently in use was equipped to handle the chip and signature, as well as the traditional swipe card..."

Of course they are. But that does not mean that they are willing to accept anything other than Chip & Pin. There is less security with a signature, and traders make their own decisions about how much exposure they accept. I think it is recognised that fraud is attempted more often in phone stores than in places like restaurants, and that is possibly why you find different policies on accepting cards.
Padraig is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 12:52 PM
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Although Padraig their merchant agreement with mc/visa requires them to accept any valid mc or visa. Of course, as I said, enforcement of this rule is an issue and I doubt extremely mc/visa have ever really made an effort to enforce it.
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 02:54 AM
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Wow.... look at all the haters here....perhaps us Americans should just keep our "antiquated" money and credit out of Ireland?
RuaMor is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 04:21 AM
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RuaMor wrote: "Wow.... look at all the haters here...."

I looked. Didn't find them.
Padraig is offline  

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