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Ireland -- do I have a credit card problem?

Ireland -- do I have a credit card problem?

Old Jul 1st, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Ireland -- do I have a credit card problem?

European friends visited last week from the UK. They mentioned that all European credit cards (not just debit cards) have imbedded chips and you have to put in a PIN number whenever you make a purchase. Is this correct? Or perhaps true just for European credit cards? We use a PIN number when using our ATM cards to get cash, but have never used a PIN with our (US) credit card either in the US or abroad -- indeed I don't think we even have one? We used our credit card in London (while en route to Africa) last summer and paid for lunch without problem. Has anyone encountered a credit card problem in Ireland? Should I be concerned?
skibumette is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2009, 07:10 PM
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yes - European credit cards use different technology than US-issued cards. But not to worry - You will not need to use a PIN w/ your credit card. The card reader will recognize your card doesn't have the chip and you'll sign a sales slip just like back home.
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 08:45 PM
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This has been discussed here before....these cards are called chip and pin I understand it they will be required throughout the eu in the near future. All banks in the UK are required to issue only chip and pin cards unless some person is handicapped and can't enter a pin.

Canada and Australia are both moving in that direction. Chip and pin cards would seem to be safer on the merchant level, although they have been compromised but do little to stem internet fraud as the card is not present.

There is one, very backwards in so many respects (you know using archaic measurement systems such as feet, inches, miles and Farenheit temperatures) which shall go unnamed which has no plans to issue chip and pin cards (my guess is that the banks did a study and found the savings from the fraud prevented by chip and pin would be far outweighed by the issuances of new cards and terminals and the like)...As the chip and pin cards must have old fashioned magnetic strips to be used in this unnamed country, there is no problem there. And because this is a rather large country, the credit card companies have been forced to develop terminals for use throughout Europe that take both the old fashioned magnetic strip cards as well as chip and pin cards.

Now all the sarcasm aside, the fact is that old fashioned American magnetic strip cards are, in theory, absotively posilutely valid in Europe. Almost all the terminals are set up to take both kinds of cards. However, sometimes if you stray off the beaten tourist trail, you might find ignorant clerks who don't understand this and try to claim the card is no good. Also in many countries, such as France, many of the automated machines only take chip and pin if there is no attendant present but always when an attendant is present, the old fashioned magnetic strip card is acceptable. Also the automatic told machines on the motorways in France do accept old fashioned antiquated cards.

A far bigger credit card problem in Ireland is the dreaded dynamic currency conversion that is so prevelent there (dcc). If some merchant offers to write up the charge in your own currency rather than euro, say NO NO NO. It is a violation of their agreement with the credit card companies although they try to scam you into accepting dcc.

Read up about dcc in other places on this forum and online.

But have no fear, for the most part your credit card without chip and pin is perfectly valid.
xyz123 is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 05:43 AM
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Thanks so much for the information and reassurance. I figured other people from that unnamed country would be screaming bloody murder here on the forum if there were unexpected problems using their credit cards, but our UK friends were quite insistent we needed a PIN...of course they were still smarting from having trouble renting a car in the unnamed country with only a UK debit card in hand.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 05:58 AM
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Hi ski,

You might run into difficulty with clerks telling you that they accept only C&P cards.
The machine will accept your card, but the clerk might not know how.

ira is online now  
Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 05:59 AM
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As a matter of interest, Irish merchants can bypass the chip and pin protocol even with a chip and pin card. I was in the process of settling a hotel bill last week and had a memory lapse, failing to remember the PIN. The hotelier immediately offered to employ "old technology". As it happened, I had another card with me for which I could remember the PIN, so I didn't avail of the offer.

Dynamic currency conversion was devised by an Irish firm (Fexco) and is one of our worst contributions to modern society. As xyz123 advises, refuse it: it is evil.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 06:02 AM
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You will come across DCC in Ireland most of all in hotels, restaurants, car rental desks, tourist shops and offices. Less common in service stations, ordinary shops, supermarkets; i.e. in places with more than average turnover of foreign visitors.

If in doubt, as you hand over your card, say, "I'd like to pay in euro." The terminal is so configured that when a non-euro denominated card is inserted or swiped, it displays the original euro amount and coverted amount in the card's billing currency, US$ in this case. The operator has to press the green 'Accept' botton for the transaction to go through. If you tell them in advance you want to pay in euro, all they have to do is to press the yellow/red 'Decline' or 'Cancel' botton and the transaction will then go through in euro, without DCC. If they still press the green botton and you get DCC-ed amount, remind them politely you asked to be charged in euro and will they please void it and resubmit it in euro. If they say they can't or they won't, ask for manager, and if they still won't, tell them you'll ask for a chargeback to your card issuer. You will then find, in all probability, the transaction can be cancelled and the charge will be made up in euro, miraculously! Chargeback can cost them big money.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 06:07 AM
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"our UK friends were quite insistent we needed a PIN..."

They need a PIN since their cards are different than yours. They probably just assume the same applies to you - but not the case.

Now a slight bump. -- I just got back from the UK and for the first time one card reader would not take a US card. We were in a small wine bar/cafe and they brought the card reader to the table. There was no way to process a non-chip/PIN card. It was a brand new card reader their rep had just delivered the previous day or two. It was a BIG surprise to both the cafe manager and to my friend who was paying for lunch.

So there may be the odd place your card won't work -- but I spend a fair amount of time in the UK/Ireland and there have been thousands of posts about cc use in the two countries and believe me - if this was widespread we'd hear about it.

There may be the odd ticket machine that won't take your card, but there is usually a manned ticket window nearby.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 06:19 AM
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Just wanted to pop in to say that on our recent trip to Ireland I had no DCC problems. I was asked once or twice if I wanted to charge in dollars (as I was a couple of times in Spain and the UK). But I was never presented with a bill already done in dollars, as I had been in the past.

Same thing with chip and pin. I'd had a couple of problems on previous trips. But none this time.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 09:23 AM
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So apparently caph52 all the bad publicity that dcc has gotten on many tourist forums is finally sinking in on merchants in Ireland.

Ireland has never been a big problem in getting redress on this as most merchants understand English but I've had this stunt pulled on me in Spain and in Italy where I don't speak the language and suddenly the clerk, after running the card, doesn't understand English. It is quite a production with some of the managers on this as they know (or are told) to tell one of the following lies

1. The converted amount is just for your convenience you are really being charged in euro.

2. They have no control over it.

3. It is required by law.

4. Why are you complaining, it's a good rate (at which point they trot out the cash exchange rate to try to show you it's a good rate)

5. Transactons cannot be voided.

6. No speak English.

As was suggested, if they won't re-do it simply circle the euro amount and write local currency not offered and tell them you will request a chargeback (and follow through if they refuse to follow mc/visa regs on this).....

But as noted here, the cancer seems to have stopped spreading.

(BTW, some of the banks still charge the foreign conversion 3% even if the charge is written up in your currency (Citibank is very big on this!)
xyz123 is offline  
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