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Credit Cards in London

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Jun 1st, 2010, 05:35 PM
  #1
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Credit Cards in London

Going on a trip soon and want to know if you can use an American credit card easily in London. Not interested in withdrawing money from the ATMS with the card. I want to use it for general purchases. I am confused reading about having a card with a chip. Is that only for ATM withdrawals? Or for any cc purchase?
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tajz90 is offline  
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Jun 1st, 2010, 05:53 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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I never had any problems with using my Visa in December, and it doesn't have a chip. They simply give you a slip to sign like here in the US. There have been many posts that say that American Express or Diner's Club are often not accepted, while Visa is pretty well accepted anywhere.

If you're just mainly staying in London, they're used to crazy Americans and our credit cards that aren't chip and pin, so it's generally no big deal to them.

DO remember to tell your bank that you're going overseas for any card that you might use!! I always take a second credit card (for a different account, not just a second card on the same account) and two ATM cards tied to different accounts as well. That way if my primary credit card or ATM card have problems I have a backup. I haven't run into problems in years, but I always like having a backup.
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Jun 1st, 2010, 05:57 PM
  #3
 
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We've been through this here.....chip and pin cards will not be coming to the USA in the near future; I am sure the bean counters at the bank have determined it will cost more to convert the entire payment system to chip and pin than they lose in fraud (besides from a consumer view point what has happened is that although chip and pin is not as secure as you might be led to think, banks start with the assumption when fraud occurs in a chip and pin system that you, the consumer, were loose with your pin and give you a hard time in getting your money back; US banks generally don't start with that assumption.

Having said that, US credit cards with magnetic strips are 100% accep0tyable in London although if you venture outside the usual tourist areas, the clerks may not be familiar with a non chip and pin card. The terminals almost universally accept both chip and pin cards (where you stick the card into the terminal) and magnetic strip cards where it is swiped. You might be asked for additional ID when using a non chip and pin card (I don't like providing any additional information, visa/mc rules state that while a merchant may request identification, the merchant may not decline to do the transaction if additional ID is not presented. Providing additional information may and has led to serios ID theft, a mujch more troublesome problem than mere credit card fraud).

Also be aware that although, at least for now, it is illegal in the USA to require a minimum purchase amount or surcharge for use of a credit card, these consumer protections are not available in the UK (they may soon be extinct in the USA as the banking reform bill passed by the Senate has providsions throwing out these important consumer protections; hopefully the House will get rid of this before the bill is finally passed).

Howevber, you will find credit cards, especially mastercard and visa much more so than Amex, to be widely accepted in London at almost all shops, restaurants (even fast food places), admissions to museums (for those few that charge for admission), underground fares, taxi rides, theatre tickets About the only places resistant to cards now are pubs for drinks although many accept cards for food.

You should do fine with your credit cards in London. Be on the look out for dynamic currency conversion which is not widespread, as yet, in London but does exist. Have a good trip.
xyz123 is offline  
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Jun 1st, 2010, 06:01 PM
  #4
 
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You can use Visa or MC almost anywhere. American Express is taken most places, but not at some more modest ones. Discover is not supported in europe at all.
nytraveler is offline  
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Jun 1st, 2010, 08:17 PM
  #5
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Thanks everyone
tajz90 is offline  
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Jun 1st, 2010, 11:45 PM
  #6
 
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<<< Not interested in withdrawing money from the ATMS with the card >>>

So how are you getting cash? From your question it seems that you aren't going to use ATMs at all. So that leaves hard cash or travellers cheques neither of which are a good idea
alanRow is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2010, 02:04 AM
  #7
 
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Presumably, they are going to use a debit card in cash machines.
Using a credit card to withdraw cash is not a good idea
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