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macboo Aug 28th, 2013 07:26 AM

Credit card with microchip needed?
Two years ago in Scandinavia we had some minor inconveniences because our credit card did not have a "chip" in it. Some ticket vending machines didn't work and many times our a hotel clerk had to enter the credit number manually. We're going to Great Britain, The Netherlands and Belgium soon. Do these places use the cards with chips?

ira Aug 28th, 2013 07:27 AM


Ackislander Aug 28th, 2013 07:33 AM

Yes, they use them. No, you don't have to.

hetismij2 Aug 28th, 2013 07:44 AM

You will undoubtedly have trouble in the Netherlands without a chip and PIN card. Most readers here can no longer swipe cards.
That said, credit card use is not so common here. Your hotel will probably be able to cope, but for ticket machines and retailers you need a chip.

greg Aug 28th, 2013 08:27 AM

It depends what you are dealing with. Those who happened to deal only with the places that took magnetic stripe only cards would say it is not needed. Those who used services that required chipped cards would say nothing but problems without them. It is the proverbial <i>The Blind Men and the Elephant</i> moments.

Of the countries mentioned, within the scope of services I used, I had the most limitation without chipped card in the Netherlands. International hotels take magnetic stripe only cards and so are high end stores frequented by tourists especially those from the US without chipped cards. The Netherlands railroad system required CC with chips whether at machines or in person at the ticket window. At Schiphol NS window, there is even a big sign in English alerting a need for a chipped card at the manned ticket window. I always need carry enough cash in Netherlands to do all transactions outside the hotel.

macboo Aug 28th, 2013 08:42 AM

Thanks for the valuable replies and information. I called Capital One, (the company with the card I prefer to for international travel) and they informed me that they do not offer a chipped card. It sounds like we should be prepared to have cash in hand in The Netherlands.

Dukey1 Aug 28th, 2013 08:44 AM

The ATMs in the Netherlands keep working like a charm, too.

macboo Aug 28th, 2013 08:57 AM

That brings up the question: Will my bank card work at most ATMs without a chip?

Improviser Aug 28th, 2013 09:08 AM

When Americans start waking up to the fact that they are behind the times when it comes to cards and start moving their accounts to those few who DO offer chip and pin cards, the rest will be forced to follow.

Instead of asking if your Cap One will work in ATMs (it may or may not, it is not a 100% or nothing question) after they tell you they do not have chip and pin, TELL THEM YOU ARE MOVING YOUR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE.

Andrew Aug 28th, 2013 09:31 AM

Join Andrews Federal Credit Union - based in Maryland but just about anyone can join, sign up for the American Consumer Council first (Andrews seems to encourage it). Then get a Visa card from Andrews. It's not only a chipped Visa, it has 0% foreign transaction fees. The Visa has no annual fee, either. And the ATM card is free to use at ATMs in Europe and also has no foreign transaction fees.

I joined this spring before my trip to Belgium and it took only about two weeks to join online and get both cards in the mail without expediting, and I used both cards exclusively in Europe without problem.

Avalon2 Aug 28th, 2013 09:33 AM

My British Airways Mastercard from Chase and My Vigin Atlantic amex card both have chip and also magnetic stripes. They also do not charge for foreign exchangefees!

StuDudley Aug 28th, 2013 09:39 AM

>>When Americans start waking up to the fact that they are behind the times when it comes to cards and start moving their accounts to those few who DO offer chip and pin cards, the rest will be forced to follow<<

Should be "when Americans who frequently travel to Europe start waking up".

Most Americans don't get to Europe very often - if ever.

If I have 2 cards in my wallet:
1. A chip card which I have to insert into a machine and then enter a 4-5 digit pin (how many pin numbers can I remember?)
2. A swipe card that I swipe and then scribble my name

Guess which one I'm going to use?????

My wife worked for Visa for 20 years. About 10 years ago she asked her counterpart that was in charge of such things, if Visa was going to push chip cards. He said they had no plans at all to do so. They wanted to make it as easy as possible to use their card.

I'm one of those who travels to Europe frequently. It takes people in front of me in line at the grocery stores in Europe, a much longer time to do the chip transaction than it does a swipe transaction in the US. We have a chip and a swipe card.

Stu Dudley

spaarne Aug 28th, 2013 09:47 AM

<i>Avalon2 on Aug 28, 13 at 12:33pm
My British Airways Mastercard from Chase and My Vigin Atlantic amex card both have chip and also magnetic stripes. They also do not charge for foreign exchangefees!</i>

What is the annual fee for these cards?

Christina Aug 28th, 2013 10:35 AM

Usually airline cards cost about $100 a year, and I think BA is unusual in not waiving it the first year (not sure, I looked into it). BA has rather stiff fees for using their miles, also, the cost of a flight can still be hundreds of dollars (to Europe).

I'm not familiar with a Virgin Atlantic Amex card, so hope Avalon2 explains these. I thought it was through Bank of America, but they don't seem to offer it on their website. The only Amex they offer is for Asiana Airlines and the VA website doesn't mention it, either that I could see.

HEre is an article just a few months ago on cards with chips available in the US and their fees, etc. It looks fairly accurate from what I saw (although I don't know some of those cards).

DebitNM Aug 28th, 2013 10:52 AM

Keep in mind not all CHIP and PIN cards are the same; some have a chip but are really chip and signature. If you need to use the card at any unmanned facility, it won't help that it has a chip because it really isn't 100% CHIP and PIN.

I have used Andrews cards [ATM and credit card] with great success. [100% for ATM card and 99.5% for credit card - 2 locations of the same chain store and 2 toll booths in France were no go]. Highly recommend them.

John Aug 28th, 2013 12:20 PM

Spent two weeks in Benelux area. Had no problem with my Cap One card at ATM's or elsewhere. Paid cash for railroad tickets after using ATM with no charge

xyz123 Aug 28th, 2013 12:56 PM

Bank of America travel rewards card is chip and signature no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee. Whether chip and signature cards will work everywhere chip and pin cards work is problematic.

Andrews FCU (as well as State Department FCU and my favorite Pentago FCU which has a card with a nice 5% rebate on gasoline purchases) offer what they call chip and pin cards but in reality they will default as chip and signature at most pos terminals where a human being is present. There have been some scattered reports some merchants do not want to take them and unfortunately there is no way you can force that kind of terminal to do the chip and pin thing. These cards do function as chip and pin at unpersonneled kiosks.

The only bank currently offering a true chip and pin card is USAA on one of its mastercard. It has a 1% foreign transaction fee although many of the cards do offer a 1% cash rebate making it a wash (but with some of the other cards I do get the 1% rebate on top of the no foreign transaction fee, Pen Fed is 0.5% for all non gasoline purchases at least the one I have and btw they let you choose your pin). The USAA card is available as a mastercard not a visa card but it does function perfectly, at least it did for me, in all pos terminals the way European chip and pin cards function but of course I prefer the cards with the 1% rewards and no foreign transaction fee. I have a grandfathered 3-2-1 Bank of America cash rewards card that has no foreign transaction fee which was originally offered by Charles Schwab and when they folded their credit card operation, B of A grandfathered all the card holders.

As far as Cap One, they have decided no chip cards for the foreseeable future. When you call them to complain, they tell you merchants must take all valid visa cards and if they don't to report them to visa (or mastercard). Somehow I don't thnk it will do much good to tell that to a French gas pump on a Sunday afternoon in rural France. I wonder what the reponse will be.

Christina Aug 28th, 2013 02:02 PM

<<Bank of America travel rewards card is chip and signature no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee.>>

That's good info, that must be a new card because as I recall, B of A never offered a fee-free card that had no foreign transaction fee in the past. Of course, I don't like B of A, and am happy with my Cap One card, so don't need one but it's good to know. If I really wanted a chip card, I'd probably get that Andrews thing or something as I really don't like B of A.

I imagine the deal with all merchants must accept valid Visa cards or whatever is probably true in that those gas stations do accept those cards when a person is there. I know, as I've used regular credit cards at French gas stations. So taht would be their response, as a business we do, but hours are limited to when people are there. Which I think is fair enough. Same with French railroad, they take regular cards in person, just the machines won't. I don't know what the deal is in Netherlands as to how they get away with it if it is really true they must by the Visa agreement and no one at Schiphol does, person or machine.

chartley Aug 28th, 2013 03:47 PM

My understanding of English law is that no-one is compelled to do business with you if they don't want to, provided they do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, religion, etc. So if they decide they don't want to accept swipe-only cards, because it involves less security, higher charges, etc, there is nothing an American card issuer can do about it.

Although the card processing companies want their clients to accept cards for as many transactions as possible, some shops, etc may have not trained their staff in acceptance of swipe only cards, or the equipment, especially where there are no staff present, may not have a magnetic stripe reader.

I have a chip & pin card issued by a British subsidiary of Bank of America. It is technically simple for U.S. banks to issue such cards, so it is presumably only a "not invented here" mentality which is behind their present attitude.

xyz123 Aug 28th, 2013 04:07 PM

chartley...on flyer talk, there is a thread about emv cards in the USA that is well over 100 pages long discussing the issue but then again you have to remember those who post on flyer talk are generally very well to do and do a lot of travelling.

Ostensibly, the key problem is the cost to replace all the terminals in a country as large as the USA. Of course that doesn't answer the question as to why hybrid cards (magnetic strip along with an emv chip) were not offered years ago. There are some questions regarding liability in the USA and things like that.

The bottom line? It would cost the US banks a lot of money to convert and while non chip cards do lead to somewhat greater fraud, the banks make such profits on their credit card operations that the relatively small amount of fraud is simply to them the cost of doing business in an area where they are making a mint.

Also you do understand the number of Americans wh travel outside the USA is relatively small so the banks don't feel any pressure or very much pressure to convert for what they consider the small number of high rollers. It's also interesting to note that the big credit card banks such as JP Morgan Chase and Citibank have only issued chip cards (invariably chip and signature) to those who pay high annual fees and in many cases, especially with Citibank, willing to pay the asinine 3% foreign transaction fee.

The good news? It is claimed that by 2015 the infrastructure will be in place and visa and mc will be requiring merchants to convert in the USA. But then again, Obamacare was supposed to be fuly functional as of 01 October of this year. And we know that isn't gong to happen.

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