Chip Card Needed?

Jul 21st, 2013, 04:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 111
Chip Card Needed?

We are leaving for our Prague, Austria, Bavaria trip in less than 1 week. In-laws just called to inform us that their friends, who just returned from Europe, could not use their ATM cards in Europe because they were not "chip" cards. This is the first time I've ever heard of such a thing. We have been abroad every year for the past several years (though not in Czech Rep, Austria, or Germany) and never had any problems.

I just searched a few posts and it does appear that some people have had similar issues, in particular when trying to pay for gas. It also appears that some chip cards are country specific, so I'm not even sure that if we got them in the US (however you do that), they would work abroad.

Can someone set me straight on this issue? And what kind of cards are affected here - anything that we have w/a magnetic strip?

Any assistance w/this ASAP would be great. Thanks!
kidfriendly is offline  
Jul 21st, 2013, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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I recently returned from Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. My credit card worked everywhere that I tried except for the metro ticket machine in Vienna. This happened at the Paris metro station on a previous trip, so I plan for this when retrieving cash from the ATM machine.

The most issues I have had with my credit card not working were in Denmark in 2011. Some could successfully run my card through the hand machine and some were unable to.
KL467 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2013, 04:33 PM
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Type chip cards in the search area. There have been literally hundreds of comments and experiences on that subject on this forum.
John is offline  
Jul 21st, 2013, 04:44 PM
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First of all, ATM cards don't need chips (to get cash out of machines) -- it is credit cards that may or may not have issues. If in fact their ATM cards didn't work in cash machines, it is most likely they did not inform their bank(s) they were traveling (most bank fraud departments are becoming hyper-vigilant)

If they are talking about credit cards - then yes there are a few places they won't work - unstaffed gas stations, some ticket kiosks, etc. But most places they work just fine . . . and again - one really must inform their cc issuer.
janisj is online now  
Jul 21st, 2013, 04:54 PM
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Posts: 5,271
BTW...getting a chip card in the USA is not all that difficult any longer. Go to the Bank of America web site and look up their travel rewards card which also has no foreign transaction fee and no annual fee but will probably not work in most unattended kiosks because it doesn't require a pin. But you can read up all about it on many other threads here.
xyz123 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2013, 04:57 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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i have a chip and signature card and never ran into a problem. ATM cards generally have no problem as they have a PIN.

Many US banks have this option for credit cards if you ask. Citi is the easiest to deal with, in my expereince.
zakkthebear is offline  
Jul 21st, 2013, 06:29 PM
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If you will be driving and wanting to pay for gas at self-service stations with your credit card - or buy tickets from a machine at a train station, assume it won't without a chip credit card. In fact, it may not work anyway even with an American "chip and signature" card, which differs from the "chip and pin" cards Europeans use. Most of the US chip cards are the chip-and-signature card type. FYI, if your American credit card has a PIN number, it's probably for cash withdrawals from an ATM machine (very expensive) and not for use for purchases from credit card terminals.

But otherwise, your magnetic strip credit card should still be accepted, at stores, restaurants, anywhere with a human being involved. I was in Czech Republic last September without a chip card and never had an issue. (I bought gas but paid for it at service stations during the day that were attended by people.) Of course, you always have the option to pay with cash in the local currency if there's a person involved.

As noted above, ATM cards do not require a chip when used to get cash from an ATM machine.
Andrew is online now  
Jul 21st, 2013, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Chase credit card - doesn't seem to offer a CC with a Euro-type PIN . Even if one asks. And their customer service people don't comprehend why one would even want one.
tomboy is offline  
Jul 21st, 2013, 07:05 PM
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As several of us have mentioned in other threads, Andrews Federal Credit Union in Maryland offers a chip-and-pin credit card (supposedly true chip-and-pin). Anyone can join Andrews - just sign up for the American Consumer Council (they see to encourage you to do so).

It's probably too late for the original poster to get one of these cards from Andrews now - I got one before going to France and Belgium in May. It has the additional advantage of charging no currency conversion fee. I did not rent a car on that trip do didn't have occasion to buy gas, and besides a few uses at Paris Metro stations (successful) I never really had occasion to try it at train station machines. The card was accepted everywhere else I tried to use it but I was always asked for my signature (when Europeans next to me were using their PINs). I'm told that for this card if a person is involved a signature is required - that's why I say "supposedly" a true chip-and-pin card. I've also heard stories that chip-and-signature cards may still work with a bogus PIN (or not ask for one if the purchase amount is low). I just found it weird that I never got asked for a PIN after the very first use at a Metro station.
Andrew is online now  
Jul 24th, 2013, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 26
As noted by others, you should always be fine at ATMs. We were just in Bavaria and had no problems whatsoever in using our American signature credit cards(can't speak to Austria or Prague). We have been told that Germany has been slower in transitioning over to chip-and-pin than some of the other countries. I would not worry much about this and just make sure you have euros available in case your card does not work in a certain situation. We have had these issues in France as some of their automated machines only take chip-and-pin cards now.
jt865504 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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Posts: 9,825
Self service gas stations and self service train ticket kiosks are the only two places I've had issues with my US mag strip credit card. That's been in several countries.

For the train tickets I was lucky there was a staffed ticket booth at the station.

For gas, now I make sure I also go somewhere that's manned, and don't wait until the last drop of gas to fill up.
J62 is online now  
Jul 24th, 2013, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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For rail tickets it may depend on where you are buying them.

Just as one example, in Italy I was able to use my ATM/Debit card in ticket machines and all I needed was my four-digit PIN for the ATM card to work.

A magnetic strip credit card would also have worked.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2013, 11:26 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,711
In Germany and Austria it is no problem.
Except for maybe some ticket machines, all card readers at stores or restaurants are "bi-lingual" - they can swipe the card, or shove it in the slot to read the chip.

We don't have (except less expensive independent stations of which few only exist) gas stations here where you pre-pay at the pump with a CC or DC - or which would operate on that system after hours or on Sundays. Almost anywhere you will find major chain gas stations which are 24/7 open and take any major CC (chip or no chip). You pump first, then pay inside.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2013, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 338
"Chase credit card - doesn't seem to offer a CC with a Euro-type PIN "

Actually Chase cards issued in Canada (for 3rd parties - Sears, Amazon, etc) have chip & pin which is standard here. The above mentioned ones are F/X commission free. I used my Sears CC on my last trip in May, 100% acceptance rate (only tap didn't work so pin had to be entered)
hkto is offline  

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