Chip & Pin Only

Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:26 PM
  #101  
 
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Thanks, dulciusexasperis.

The majority of the time, we’ll use whichever card we end up getting--Chase Sapphire Preferred or BofA Travel Rewards, as neither has a FTF.

We’ll be getting the USAA World M/C for its chip and pin. Due to its 1% FTF, its use will be mostly limited to when nothing else works.

We have a USAA checking account, so we’ll get their ATM card, because it’s good to have some cash on hand, despite the 1% FTF. If we use it at bank ATMs, there won’t be a USAA fee.

We do manage our cards well, but we aren’t that much on getting cards and chasing their rewards. We just have three major credit cards and a few store cards. We’re the annoying kind of customer who pays the balance off every month.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:31 PM
  #102  
 
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I'm pretty sure Chase ATM cards charge 3% foreign transaction fees on cash withdrawals as does Bank of America and Citibank with their debit cards. 2% is their charge and yes it is true 1% goes to the shared teller network usually cirrus or plus which are subsidiaries of of MC and visa respectively. The same is true for credit card transactions in the USA. Most of the larger banks charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, 2% to themselves and 1% to visa or mastercard who actually do the exchange. This is above what is referred to as the interbank rate which is sort of the official rate banks use to exchange millions of whatever currency at any given time. That is the rate found on xe.com, for example or oanda.com. For years, Capital One tried to build up its customer base by not only not charging a foreign transaction fee itself but eating the 1% visa/mc fee. A US lawsuit now requires banks to show clearly their foreign transaction fees on the credit card statements. Many such as Citibank will show the exchanged rate at the interbank rate and then at the end of the statement tack on the 3% foreign transaction fee. Note this is a fee that is placed on all transactions that are processed outside the USA even if the transaction is done in US dollars. Some people get an unpleasant surprise when they buy an airline ticket say on Aer Lingus say from Orbitz and the transaction never leaves the USA and they are nailed for the 3% fee anyway.

When a bank advertises no foreign transaction fee that means it is eating the 1% visa/mc fee. Of course, I agree wholeheartedly that one has to be aware of what perks various cards have and it might be worthwhile to get a card with a 3% foreign transaction fee if renting a car and the card provides secondary coverage for damage to the vehicle (which most but not all premium cards do).

So the above is sort of right that it depends and one should have more than one card for whtever purpose especially if a card gets compromised while away. For that reason, one might consider bringing an Amex card although not as widely accepted in Europe, they are great in dealing with replacement cards (although the days of buying Amex travellers cheques and using Amex offices for mail drops are long gone as are most of the Amex offices!). So that's another consideration.

But I will stick with what I said. the FCU's we talk abbout on this board such as Andrews, State Department and FCU all have no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees and do function usually as chip and pin cards at unpersonneled locations. But they are a royal pain to apply for. Bank of America travel rewards is an easy card to apply for and usually if you have another card, it is issued quite quickly.

But one has to check with the various fihancial institutions for the last info regarding individual fees and perks and one size generally does not fit all!
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 08:21 AM
  #103  
 
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Up until a few years ago, the Nationwide Building Society in the UK (similar to a Credit Union) added no exchange loading and ate the 1% Visa/MC fee. They were the only UK financial institution that did that. So they were by far the best cards for a traveller from the UK to have.

But like many good things, people abused it. Nationwide ended up with about 40% of its cardholders using their cards only when travelling and not doing any other banking with them. That then meant that it was costing them that 1% with no means of expecting to make it back on other services. They had hoped for a Win/Win relationship with users and the users in their infinite stupidity turned it into a Lose/Win.

So predictably, Nationwide stopped doing it and started to even add on an exchange loading as well as passing on the 1% for Visa/MC. Only some accounts that met certain criteria were 'grandfathered' and still are free from even the Visa/MC 1%.

My point is, that while I advocate using different cards when advantageous, I do not advocate using them exclusively that way and become a USER rather than a win/win partner. USERS are not nice people.

Obviously, you can't do all your banking with several different banks. You can't have your pay deposited for example in 4 different accounts but you can spread your business around a bit. A mortgage with one, an IRA with another, etc.

The UK USERS lost out because they didn't understand Win/Win.

Regarding paying the balance in full each month Propita, that's just good sense and does NOT annoy your bank. They make their money from your transactions; off the money the merchants have to pay when you use your card.

I actually look at a credit card as a way to MAKE money. I gain daily interest on the money sitting in my bank account for up to 42 days. Using a credit card is like an interest free loan which lets you use someone else's money while your money sits in your account making interest. Of course these days, the interest is pitiful. ;-)
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 08:51 AM
  #104  
 
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I think the US will convert to pin-and-chip credit cards soon after they switch to the metric system.
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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Ah. yes, interest on savings and checking...or rather WHAT interest on savings and checking. Even CDs are rather pitiful.

Well, I updated my USAA MC to World MC with chip and pin. Easy process since I had and existing MC. That’ll be our back up.

While this card may be used for a cash advance in an atm (because of its pin), it counts as a cash advance and interest accrues without a grace period, according to both online info and customer service on the phone. Hmmm. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to use it in an atm machine.
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 09:47 AM
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Actually the prevailing wisdom is not to use a credit card for an ATM cash advance and while it is true in general, it is not always true, especially with USAA.

You see while it is true interest acrues from the moment the money hits your palms, it is computed daily. So while 24% sounds like a bad deal (and it is on an annual basis), that is only 2% a month. So if you pull out the equivalent of $100 and when you get home, immediately pay it back, that would be $2 for the month. The key here is USAA does not charge a fee for cash advances on top of the interest. Banks such as Chase, Bank of America, Citibank do. I know you've indicated you don't want to use your credit cards for everything, which is the way I do it minimizing the need for cash and at least in London you will find it is a lot like the United States. Credit cards are taken everywhere for just about everything except perhaps for a pint in a pub. But, for example, if I'm going to the theatre, I stop by a Boots or a grocery chain store such as Tesco or Sainsbury and pick up a 1/2 liter bottle of diet coke cherry, an aero bar and Walkers potato chips in the blue package. Costs a little over 2 quid and I charge it no questions asked (it's best when they have the 2 1/2 liter bottle of coke for £1.59 special, then I have an extra bottle for when I get back to the hotel at night. Lunch? Sandwiches at preat a manger or perhaps subway. Topping up my oyster card. No problem the machines in the London Underground take credit cards, even the antiquated US cards. Trust me you can go a long way in London without ever spending a shilling in cash. Paris is a tad harder; there aren't as many chain stores quite as prevelent but still most places take plastic including the metro machines (RER machines have proven difficult in those cases where a magnetic strip only card is used but they do work in metro machines). Of course this could change but I still find it advantageous not to have to worry about running out of local cash and paying for everything with a credit card. (But this is not always true, it is very country dependent. Holland and Germany as two examples have traditions of being cash societies and perhps one might have more difficulty trying to live only on credit cards in those countries but you did say you were going to London and Paris).

The USA is somewhat more competitive and there are several banks which eat the 1% visa/mc fee for foreign currency exchange. Some do it on their premium cards others do it as a matter of course. For years Capital One has advertised that it does not charge a foreign transaction fee, eating the 1%, and they were always the card of "choice" by travel writers. Of course, Cap One has adamantly refused to join the emv "revolution" and as a matter of fact, as I said above, their csr's are trained to say emv chips are not necessary as visa/mc regs require merchants to take any valid card. We discussed that above. Whether the American banks will drop the no foreign transaction fee clauses is problematic. Bank fees are always changing. But you decide to take advantage of what is today and not worry about what may be tomorrow.

As far as paying off your balance at the end of each month (or before the payment due date), for years banks referred to people who did that as free loaders and tried all sorts of ways to get people to pay their inflated rates of interest on what are in effect unsecured loans. That day has passed.

I hope this helps. While dulciusexasperis is quite knowledegeable and one can respect his or her opinions, he or she is still not from the USA and bases much of what he writes on reading. I actually have the cards we are discussing as I am from the United States and use them As a travellers with American credit cards, I have had quite a bit of first hand experience with the things being discussed here and am quite sure the information and advice I give is correct but then again these things are always in a state of flux and nobody knows, nobody, what will be six months from now or a year from now. Nothing is written in stone.
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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xyz, you have been most helpful.

I do want to have some cash on hand, but even at home, I charge almost everything (even the $5 at the store for milk). So using the cards more than cash sounds just fine with me--you’ve relieved my mind on that point. And the ATM info for USAA.

While I prefer to be thorough, oftentimes being thorough means leaving things open enough to deal with changing situations and not being locked into just one course of action. Just as you said, nothing is written in stone, policies can change with the new year.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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I would never use a credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM for the simple reason it does accrue interest however low, from day one. That is what debit/ATM cards are for.

I thought most US debit/ATM cards did not and never have added a 'foreign transaction fee' xyz123. So I don't see it as a problem to find one to use for withdrawing cash.

Does USAA not provide a debit/ATM card as well as a credit card? Where's the problem?

If there is a problem in reality then one potential solution for putting some cash in your pocket is to buy something and get 'cash back'. A common practice in the UK for example. So you buy your coke, aero bar and chips in Tesco supermarket and ask for 10 pound cash back. Of you go to the movies with your stuff and 10 pound in your pocket.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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I think I may not have been clear, or you may have misunderstood.

I hope to take:

- USAA MC with true pin-and-chip but 3% FTF. It will be used sparingly, when the other doesn’t work.

- USAA ATM (tied to checking) with low/no/reimbursed fees at bank ATMs. USAA ATM cards tied to savings accounts either don’t work or are cash advance or charge or something. I don’t remember but it doesn’t matter as I won’t be using it.

- Other Visa/MC with 0% FTF and likely pin-and-sig. This will have the majority of credit card use.

I think this is the cleaned up, cleared up summary. Too bad it took so much for me to understand something that boils down to only a little! Lol
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 06:32 PM
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Here we go again...never say never. You don't have a debit card, your debit card is eaten, whatever. You may have to use a credit card for a cash advance. My point remains as I know the fee structure of many of the banks. It so happens that USAA does not charge any additional fes to the interest it charges on a cash advance on its credit card so in an emergency it isn't too bad a price to pay. Many banks have a very high fee for credit card cash advances; USAA simply does not.

Many of the large US banks do have a foreign transaction fee on their atm debit cards. Chase I'm almost sure does. Citibank I know does. USAA passes along the 1% visa/mc fee on cash advances. Again sir you are not as fam the US banks as I am so be careful about giving bad advice based on what you think. I pass along advice on what I know.

Repeat so maybe it sinks in. In a pinch, if you don't have access to your ATM card for whatever the reason, making an ATM withdrawal on a USAA credit card costs a daily amount of interest which at its worst comes to 2% a month. If for some reason you need $100 cash and don't have access to an ATM card for whatever the reason, in this particular case, not all cases, there is not a big problem using a USAA credit card. You pay it back at the end of the month and the interest charge isn't bad. And in the USA, the fees are indeed called foreign transaction fees. You can call them what you want. On USA terms and conditions, they are listed as foreign transaction fees. And almost all the large banks charge 3%. As a matter of fact, in another blog, somebody pointed out that even if you use Barclay's Bank with a Bank of America debit card while there is no fee you nicked for the 3% foreign transaction fee. You want to pass along what you know about Canadian banks, that's fine. You to a degree are misinformed about American banks.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 06:37 PM
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Geez! I STILL didn't get it right? You know, I'm not normally so dense.

Unless your post was not directed at me. (hope hope)
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 06:39 PM
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propita...USAA mc has a 1% foreign transaction fee; basically they pass along the mc fee. However, many of their credit cards give you 1% cash back on purchases which means it can be a wash depending on what rewards you chose for your mastercard.

I use the Bank of America chip and sig card. I have the 3-2-1 rewards card which was issued to me as a successor to the Charles Schwab 2% rewards card. What Bank of America did when they took over this card is they grandfathered the cardholders with a 0% foreign transaction fee and I get the 1% rewards for most purchases. As I noted, Bank of America travel rewards card, a different card, has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee and is chip and signature.

It sounds like you have all bases covered!
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 06:47 PM
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Sorry...the post was not directed at you. The post was directed at the psudoexpert who may know what he's talking about Canadian and UK cards but doesn't know a thing about the USA cards.

Your plans are fine.
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Old Dec 28th, 2013, 06:00 PM
  #114  
 
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Good to know.

BTW, I’ve read elsewhere that BofA may be changing the terms of their cards regarding fees. Not sure which, since people use different terms (rightly or wrongly), but it’s definitely something to consider for us and for anyone giving/taking advice.
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Old Dec 28th, 2013, 06:34 PM
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Bak of America has recently announced that they are now charging a 3% foreign transactin fee on ATM withdrawals even from banks in their "network" such as Barclay in the UK. I haven't seen anything regarding additional fees on credit cards but then again you're quite right. Terms and fees change all the time and what is true today may not be so a month from now. US law provides a "cooling off" period during which time one can reject a change in fee structure by closing the account. The bank is required to give a cut off date when it changes terms. But you're right. You never know.
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 08:13 AM
  #116  
 
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Xyz123, you are now becoming somewhat annoying and insulting. I have already stated that I am not as familiar with USA banks. Frankly, I find other banks in other countries better to deal with. I bank in Canada, the UK, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. I never pay any exchange loading on either credit or debit/ATM cards anywhere.

What I am pretty well versed in is how to handle money when travelling, having lived off cards for the last 25 years as a non-permanent resident in any country during that time. I'm a traveller beyond the usual definition of the word.

I am not aware that I have made any incorrect statements or given any bad advice. Go ahead and quote me if you think I have. I asked if US debit/ATM cards charged or not, I did not state that they didn't. Do you know the difference xyz123 between a statement and a question? Perhaps a refresher in English language would help you.

This thread was initially about Chip and PIN cards. A subject I am very familiar with as I use them pretty much every day and have done so for many years. I doubt anyone including you has more knowledge of that subject.

This thread has clearly shown the LACK of knowledge on the subject that most Americans have. Which bank charges you a 'foreign transaction fee' is simply a side issue.

I'll grant you have more knowledge of that side issue in reference to USA banks but that's all I'll grant you more knowledge of and I've already said that earlier.

So bottom line, xyz123, keep your insults to yourself. Frankly, your responses are mainly poorly written and clearly confusing to the readers.
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 09:04 AM
  #117  
 
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>>Xyz123, you are now becoming somewhat annoying and insulting.<<

Pot - kettle!

>>I have already stated that I am not as familiar with USA banks.<<

Then why on EARTH are you chiming in since you don't know what you are talking about?

>>So bottom line, xyz123, keep your insults to yourself. Frankly, your responses are mainly poorly written and clearly confusing to the readers.<<

OMG - again, pot - kettle.
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 09:51 AM
  #118  
 
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First of all, it is not my intent ever to insult anybody and I am sorry you feel you were insulted. If I have, I apologize because that is and was never my inent.

Look, different countries have different cultures and indeed regulations regarding financial institutions and the like. The reality is many Americans are very ignorant when it comes to foreign travel, the country is so large that many will never leave the shores. So they have no concept of, for example, that US dollars are not negotiable everywhere in the world. Many even go to Canada and expect US currency to be accepted (for the most part it is but that's for another time and place).

I happen to have several different credit cards from many of the banks being discussed here and when I am aware of something pertinent to that particular bank, I feel I can comment. I am very familiar with the policies, for example, of USAA and the fact they have no charge for cash advances on their credit cards. Most US banks have heavy charges for using a credit card for a cash advance. But in an absolute emergency, if indeed you have to use a USAA (or Andrews FCU which likewise has no fee but indeed charges interest from the moment of withdrawal on its credit card) if you pay the unsecured loan back as soon as you arrive home, the finance charges, despite the fact yes they are 24% a year are imposed on a daily basis and will amount to 2% for a month. But I agreed, it is usually not a good idea to use a credit card for a cash advance. I said that plain and simple.

As far as charges on US debit cards, not the original purpose of this thread, most of the larger banks impose the 3% foreign transaction fee on such withdrawals. There is a whole thred on flyer talk about Bank of America beginning that charge. I know citibank has for a couple of years. I'm almost sure so does Chase.

I am aware of most of the banks that do not charge foreign transaction fees on credit card purchases. (BTW, as I said, they are foreign transaction fees so any charge, even in US dollars processed through a foreign bank is subject to that fee. Thus if you buy TAP airline tickets and use a mastercard or visa from a bank imposing the foreign transaction fee, since those charges are proceesed in Portugal even if done in US dollars, you get nicked for the 3% foreign transaction fee). Bottom line. Try not to use a credit card with a foreign transaction fee. I could list several. Bank of America travel rewards, Capital One cards (almost all), many of the higher end cards issued by Chase (but they carry annual fees), Andrews FCU, State Department FCU, Pen FCU. To some people, saving every last dime is important. To others, they may be unaware of the net effect of the 3% foreign transaction fees or think it is so on all credit cards or they can beat that charge by using dynamic currency conversion (they get nailed with the charge anyway).

I will never comment to a Canadian or an Australian or a UK person on how to use their credit cards when they travel. I don't know th3 various fees involved. To the best of my knowledge although I'm not sure every British bank imposes a foreign currency conversion fee on non sterling transactions but I'm not sure so I don't comment.

Finally we can argue from now till the chickens come home to roost about chip and pin vs. chip and signature vs. magtnetic strip. In the best of all worlds, US banks would have joined the rest of the world a decade ago on migrating to emv but the US payments structure is much more unregulated than that of other countries in line with the belief the USA doesn't over regulate many things. This is reality. Is chip and signature all that much better than magnetic strip? Probably not but as it stands now, the vast majority of US banks that issue cards with emv chips are chip and signature. Again that's reality. We have discused the 3 FCU's relativey open to anybody (Andrews, State Department, Pen(tagon) ). For the most part they will work in unpersonneled kiosks such as a gas station in France on a Sunday afternoon. In that sense they may be worth having; I never once said they weren't. However, we also pointedout the fact they default to chip and signature in a personneled pos situation (it has to do whether the authorization is on line or off line) and there have been reports as this thread started of merchants after running the card through the pos terminal discovering it is chip and signature and under the mistaken belief this increases their liability refusing the transaction. It happens, but not often. Does that mean I am saying no to get an Andrews card or one of the others? No; although many have reported it is a pain in the whatever to apply for these cards (Pen Fed is relatively easy. I got their cad because they give a 5% discount on all gasoline (or petrol) purchases and hence I use the card for all my gasoline purchases. As an added bonus, they have added the emv chip since I acquired the card.

I think we would find I handle money when travelling the same exact way you do most likely. I am addicted to my plastic. I make no qualms about it and take trips to Europe all the time and spend next to no cash although I understand this is a country by country thing. There are many countries, say in the middle of he continent like Holland and Germany where cash is still king and I would probably have difficulties trying to spend time in these places solely with plastic. I get that too.

In all due respect, I just don't think you're as familiar with the US banking system and the particular US banks we discuss here as I am just like I can't tell you the Barclaycard fee structure in the UK. I do know Barclay Bank in the USA as of now does not issue emv cards (although they have announced they will shortly although it is not clear whether it will be chip and signature or chip and pin) but again most of their cards have a 3% foreign transaction fee.

So let's try to keep the discussion civil and not call anybody names. You have your point of view and that's fine. I have my point of view. Let the reader decide.
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Old Jan 1st, 2014, 07:44 AM
  #119  
 
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Janisj, why do you feel it is necessary for you to stick you nose into what is clearly a disagreement between xyz123 and myself. I'm sure xyz and I are both more than capable of speaking for ourselves. So stick your nose somewhere else.

Apology accepted xyz123, I have no argumement with any of what you have said in your last post. I agree you are more familiar with USA banking than I am and I also agree that you do understand EMV technology and it's repercussions for American travellers. So I'm happy to keep it civil.

Can you confirm for me that it WAS standard for US bank debit cards to NOT charge a foreign exchange fee in the past and that that has now changed with banks starting to charge one (that is how I read your comment on that above). If so, then what I had heard was right but is no longer right.

That illustrates that things change all the time and that is why when questions about which cards to use; how to handle money; of this nature come up, the answer changes.

For the UK for example there is a very good website called moneysavingexpert.com which is constantly updated (seems to be as often as a change occurs)and which can give the traveller from the UK an answer as to which cards to use, in one easy check. http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/tra...p-travel-money Interestingly when I looked at it now, Capital One has made the list for the first time.

It might interest some US readers to see what they offer to UK card holders vs what they offer US card holders. A chip and pin card with no foreign exchange fees and .5% cashback.
http://www.capitalone.co.uk/creditca...redit-card.jsf

Unfortunately, such up to date and fully informative websites do not seem to exist for every country.
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Old Jan 1st, 2014, 09:15 AM
  #120  
 
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Hi. There are several web sites that make an effort to keep up to date on the various policies of US banks but one thing. There are hundreds and hundreds of banks in the US that issue credit cards (although the number of credit card processors who do the back office work is relatively small insofar as most banks allow others to process their edit card operations. However individual policies are set by the banks and US law requires complete disclosures of all fees when one applies for a card. The 150 page thread on flyertalk which I think you are familiar with does have some place buried a spreadsheet listing emv cards, their fee structure and whether it is c&p or c&s. In the UK, how many banks are there issuing credit cards? Five or six I believe although several what are called building societies the equivalent of our federal credit unions might issue some. Also the multi national banks with branches in the UK such as HSBC or JP Morgan Chase do offer cc's in the UK and of course they are c&p as per UK law.

As far as your question about foreign transaction fees on atm withdrawals, yes they are of relative recently imposed. Citibank never had one, now they do. Bank of America never had one, now it does. Although many of them did past along the 1% fee imposed by cirrus or plus. Even today, most banks do pass along at the very least the 1% fee of cirrus and plus with many of the smaller banks not doing any extra fee.

I think the migration of the USA to emv will accelerate somewhat because of the incident at Target. But it's still not clear if they will be going to c&p or if they're perfectly content to continue with c&s. In the past few weeks, I have read Australia will now require all cc transaction to be done with a pin although it's not clear if that will apply to foreigners. One would think that if the UK and/or the eu ever simply announced that as of (pick a date), only emv cards with pins will be accepted, that might push the envelope here. Might being the operative word. But as it stands today, it is what it is. So it is advisable, if possible, for American travellers to try to get an emv card but for the most part, at least for large purchases such as hotel rooms and the like, the magnetic strip lives on. But not for much longer.
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