Credit cards in Europe


Apr 7th, 2012, 12:19 PM
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Credit cards in Europe

I've read somewhere that credit cards issued in Europe now contain a chip that US credit cards don't, and therefore US-issued credit cards are not recognized when they are scanned in Europe. This seems improbable, but would somebody please clear this up for me?
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Apr 7th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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Please do a search on here, there are several recent threads on this very topic.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 01:18 PM
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Almost everywhere our cards work. Merchants have readers that will take magnetic strip cards. If someone tells you they can't ask for a manager. The exceptions are machines such as rail tickets machines and other unmanned payment kiosks. In the case of rail tickets buy online, from an agent or go to a station window.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Here's a link:

Discussion has been raging since March.

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Apr 7th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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When a WHOLE BUNCH of people from the US stop going to Europe because of this things will definitely change.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 02:56 PM
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Hi ck

> cards issued in Europe now contain a chip that US credit cards don't,
You are correct

> and therefore US-issued credit cards are not recognized ...<

You are not correct.

Bring your US card. They still have the old-fashioned equipment that allows them to read it.

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Apr 7th, 2012, 04:40 PM
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Your credit cards will still work in Europe. I've traveled all over and with the exception of one or two places where I had to explain I didn't have the C&P, all were able to process my transactions. Thousands of Americans go to Europe every year and use their CCs. With the exceptions listed above, rail stations and gas stations-the American CC will be recognized.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 07:15 PM
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More than improbable, since thousands upon thousands of Americans visit Europe every minute and use credit cards. How do you think they pay for things?

If you're an American, chances are you don't have a chip-and-pin card. That means you MIGHT not be able to buy a ticket at a vending machine for train tickets somewhere in Europe, or get out of a parking garage, or buy gas at a self-serve station, or go through an automatic toll machine on the highway. Will it affect your ability to get a hotel room, buy a meal at a restaurant, go shopping? NO. And for those things you cannot do without a chip-and-pin card, there are always alternatives, so it's basically a non-issue

You can now get a chip-and-pin card if you want one. There are several threads on Fodors about that recently.
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Apr 15th, 2012, 03:54 AM
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Thanks, folks--I'll go to the links
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Apr 15th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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All of Europe is not going to refuse payment by visitors from countires that don't have chip credit cards, that would be crazy to think that is what is happening. I'm sure the US is not the only country without CCs with chips that don't work in France, for example.
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Feb 12th, 2013, 05:46 AM
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St. Cirq, I know this is an old thread, but I am having serious problems finding a chip and pin card in the US. I've been to Europe many times and have not encountered problems anywhere except those automated machines you mention. I have contacted Wells Fargo, my bank, and Capital One, and both say that while they did a trial testing of the cards they no longer offer them. A friend ordered one from her bank and they sent her the card, but never mentioned anything about a pin, so when she called them and asked they assured her they would send a pin number and she would be able to use that card in machines in Europe. Reading several threads there seems to be a great difference of opinion on the necessity of having one of these cards. We'll be in London and Scotland in May and just trying to be sure we have the right cards. We'll be taking some pounds and using ATM machines to get more as needed, so it isn't that we won't have cash available, just the timing of some of the things makes us want to have a card that will work in those machines.
So, any new information or specific cards out there? Thanks.
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Feb 12th, 2013, 06:04 AM
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My Debit card will only be accepted at AMTS, in the US/ St.Thomas I use it for credit.. FYI- I call my credit card company to give them a heads up that I'm in Europe.. have never had a problem. So go to Europe and SPEND SPEND SPEND... good for the soul
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Feb 12th, 2013, 06:10 AM
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I'm afraid in my own experience that chip and pin cards aren't quite as readily available in the US as was implied.
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Feb 12th, 2013, 06:36 AM
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I don't feel like referring back to other threads on this but the situation change by the day to a degree.

You almost surely will have no problems in the UK although I've been to one merchant who won't accept magnetic strip cards. There is no generalizatin about other countries and in rurual areas of those countries. Also there is nolanguage probem for Americans of course inm the UK but since the UK is a prime landing spot for American svisiting Europe, there should be no problems.

As to the availability of chip and pin cards in the USA, well that's described in other threads. Sort of as a teaser, several banks in the USA have gone to chip and signature cards. These cards go in the same reader but instead of asking for a pin, spit out a receipt for you to sign. One such available card, with no foreign trasnsaction fee and no annual fee is the Bank of America travel rewards card.

Several federal credit unions in the Washington DC area dealing with government entitites although anybody can join advertise they issue chip and pin cards. But they aren't true chip and pin cards. If the point of sale terminal accepts chip and signature, that will be what comes out. For the most part, it is finer again at merchants who are living breathing and maybe thinhking human being. These cards are sup[posed to fall back as chip and pin cards at kiosks, train stations and the the like. Reports have been mixed; sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. The problem with these cards in a small number of cases is that some merchants, although not usually ikn the UK, because of the liabil;ity laws, simply will not accept cards that are not chip and pin and when the receipt spits out, they say sorry can 't accept the transaction and void it. Unfortunately there's no way to tell the pos terminal to fall back on chip and pin with these cards. Not a big problem but if you're in an Irish grocery store and this happens, you're out of luck.

I wouldn't worry about it today but one must say there is a growing movement in the eu not to accpet non chip and pin cards. Is it imminent? Probably not but then again who knows.

But finally, I love the attitude of Capital One. Capital One is one of the US banks that has made it a policy of no foreign transaction fees (another issue altogether) and part of their customer bae is built on this. When somebody asked Capital One why not issue chip cards, the csr said, "There's no need for a card with a chip. The visa (or mastercard) procedures require all merchants to accept all card." Try telling that to an automatic gas station in France on a Sunday afternoon. I wonder what the answer will be!
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Feb 12th, 2013, 06:39 AM
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I have a chip csrd from Chasebank but i never bothered getting a pin . It worked at the metro station in Paris without a pin to buy a carnet.The station attendent told me it would!
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Feb 12th, 2013, 06:57 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I have never had a problem with using my ATM/Debit/Credit Cards in Europe, other than a train station machine in Vienna, but others traveling with me had no problem and none of us had any kind of pin and chip card. Just a small glitch for about 12 hours with my particular card.
We'll be in London for 3 days and on to Edinburgh, Inverness, Skye, Oban, and Glasgow (first time in the UK) and was hoping to make it simple to deal with those machines. Hopefully the card my friend got will work and I'll just get a new card with no foreign transaction fees, perhaps the Capital One or Southwest. I've heard of the Andrews Credit Union card, not sure I want to go that route.
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Feb 12th, 2013, 07:07 AM
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The supposed controversy with the Cap One cards has been about the exchange rates. Some have said they give a poorer exchange rate in order to offset the lose of revenue from not charging a conversion fee. Others have strongly disputed that claim and said that the exchange rates are the same.

I think if you are careful you will have little if any problems. We avoided the issue when driving in France by filling up only at manned stations and using the manned toll booths on the major highways. We also kept a certain amount of cash on hand just in case.

My greatest problems have been with hotels trying to push dynamic currency conversion and saying they could not charge in the local currency until I threatened to annotate the charge slip with "Merchant refused to charge in local currency."
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