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credit and debit card problems

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Nov 16th, 2010, 08:49 PM
  #1
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credit and debit card problems

I have read several articles lately about how our US debit and credit cards have a magnetic strip on them and in europe they have a chip with pin. Some individuals are having problems getting cash using an ATM machine and credit cards are not working. Any problems in Germany with this(say over the last 6-8 months)? If so, options?
Thanks, Marilyn
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Nov 16th, 2010, 08:58 PM
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I have not had any problems in Italy, France, Norway or Turkey, to list the most recent countries I visited. Only ticket machines in French train stations and toll booths refuse American cards. As for restaurants, the wait person must at times be shown how to swipe the card. Their portable machines also has that option.
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Nov 16th, 2010, 09:22 PM
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Most places will have a way to override and accept non-chip/pin credit cards. The main places there are usually any problems are in some automated machines (like station ticket machines, automated petrol pumps, those sorts of things)

98% of the time there is a way to use your cards. Just avoid things like buying petrol/diesel on sundays or late at night when the stations aren't staffed.

You should have no problems at all using ATMs w/ American debit/ATM cards.
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Nov 16th, 2010, 11:25 PM
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No problems at all in Germany when we were there last April.
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Nov 16th, 2010, 11:33 PM
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Hi wpmom,

I live here and frequently get cash from my American debit card -- no problems whatsoever.

s
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Nov 17th, 2010, 12:57 AM
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The only problem you are likely to have is when your bank / CC company forgets that you told them you were going abroad and block your cards. So the overseas contact number for them is essential to have.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 02:20 AM
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Chip & PIN is not (yet) really popular or widespread in Germany. Any point of sale will do swipe & sign, also with portable readers.

Ticket machines can sometimes ask for a PIN, but the card does not need to have a chip. It reads the PIN from the magnetic strip as well.

Only very few gas stations have automated pumps. They are either open and manned or closed. The major chains stay open 24/7 (or at least one station in a smaller town), and are manned 24/7. Only few independent gas stations (e.g. at discount supermarkets) don't take CCs. You can easily avoid those if you don't have cash.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 03:23 AM
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One thing you want to bear in mind is that in Germany, most supermarkets (and some stores, esp at the cheaper end) don't take credit cards but only debit card called EC Karte, which is linked to Maestro (Mastercard debit card system). Also it's still a cash society, so make sure you have enough euro on you and don't expect to be able to use cards everywhere. It's rare to be able to pay admission with a card, or public transport tickets.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 05:55 AM
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These problems are incredibly overplayed. Were I the type to wear a tinfoil hat, I would think that the chip industry is paying for all these articles. In Germany, the bigger issue is that cash is still king and, as noted, many places don't take credit cards at all.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 06:22 AM
  #10
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Hi WP,

I recently used US credit and ATM cards in Rome, Athens and Paris with no trouble.

Enjoy your visit.

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Nov 18th, 2010, 08:10 AM
  #11
 
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We just spent 2 weeks in Germany and had absolutely no problems with our credit or debit cards.

As noted, be sure that you have more than one card just in case and notify all of your card issuers that you will be traveling out of the country.

Enjoy Germany. It is one of our favorite places!
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Nov 18th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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I haven't been in Germany in the last 6 months so can't answer with that experience, specifically (but I've never had any trouble in Germany in prior years with either a CC or debit card), and I've never had trouble in the other countries I've been in more recently.

I would question the accuracy of where you are hearing about all these people who are having all these problems in Germany. It sounds like some magazine article and it could be written by someone who just doesn't know what they are talking about and is fabricating things (not as unusual as you might think, some travel articles are written by freelancers and some are written by people who don't know their topic at all and they write them from second or third hand information) or is exaggerating an occurrence or two that had nothing to do with being a US card, specifically.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 11:09 AM
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Here is an article by Rick Steves that was posted in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding this subject. I am not a big fan of Steves but thought his article might provide some information that would be of interest to some travellers.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...lecfmid243.DTL
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Nov 18th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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All my debit and credit cards have been replaced with PIN and chip versions in the last few months. (within weeks!) Even when the old ones would still be valid for years. Must be more than a dozen new cards. Somewhat annoying. Yet at the supermarkets using my debit card, I still have to sign...

Never been asked to provide a PIN when shopping anywhere using one of my credit cards either, still they all have a chip now.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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>using my debit card, I still have to sign...
At ReWe and Tengelmann.
Aldi and Lidl always wanted a PIN for debit cards.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 12:13 PM
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I could have written bettyk's post.

We went to Germany last month and had no problems and we used the ATM machines quite a bit as we stay in smaller places that only accept cash.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 04:22 PM
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LSky, did you write a trip report?
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Nov 18th, 2010, 04:51 PM
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I was in Belgium and France within the last 2 months.

My ATM/debit card worked at all banks.

In Belgium, I had issues using my credit cards at the two parking garages and the airport gas station that I used (rejected the cards or asked for a PIN... I don't know of any PINs that I have on my credit cards). The garages and gas station did accept my ATM/debit card after a few unsuccessful tries (have no idea why it didn't work on the first try).

In France, a non-attended gas station would not accept either my ATM/debit card nor my credit cards. Luckily, I found an attended station because I was on EMPTY!!! I also had a problem using all cards at a couple of parking garages/lots in France. I had to use cash at those machines.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 05:16 PM
  #19
 
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"I don't know of any PINs that I have on my credit cards" I do have the PIN for one of my credit cards and never knew why. Rick Steve stated in the article I posted that one can get a PIN for each and every credit card they have by calling the financial institution that issued the credit card. A good idea it would seem.
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Nov 18th, 2010, 06:27 PM
  #20
 
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Thanks, LoveItaly. I knew that I could request a PIN for my credit cards but have never done so... so it was frustrating when the various machines requested it.
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