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Italy with non-chip-and-pin card, 2015 edition

Italy with non-chip-and-pin card, 2015 edition

Feb 16th, 2015, 09:40 AM
  #1  
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Italy with non-chip-and-pin card, 2015 edition

I have traveled in Europe several times with American non-chip credit and debit cards, and lived to tell the tale, so I'm not expecting to have major drama. However, I noticed that on my trip to Spain (especially in Barcelona) last year, having a non-chip card was more of an inconvenience than it had been on previous trips - restaurant servers had to do an extra step, things like that.

I'll be traveling to Italy in May, and for the first time renting a car while in Tuscany, so I'm wondering about self-service gas stations especially. Are things at the point where having a swipe-only card will be a big issue for us? I have one card with Chase and one with BOA; I haven't checked BOA yet, but Chase will issue a card with a chip but no PIN (signature only). So I'm not sure whether that would solve the issue. Thanks in advance!
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 09:49 AM
  #2  
 
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You won't be able to use unmanned service stations with only automatic fuel dispenser, which requires chip and pin card. So fill up when you see a manned station. Some automatic pumps take bank notes as well. Also use manned toll booth on autostrada. Your card may work in unmanned booth but you don't want to find out it doesn't and inconvenience drivers stuck behind you. Italian drivers aren't noted for patience. Also metro/bus ticket dispenser may not take unchipped card, but usually takes cash.
Alec is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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If the card has a chip I believe that you will have the option of adding a pin number, it's just that American cards use the signature first and then the pin number if necessary. This was true of the old credit cards--if I wanted to use it in an ATM, I would have to have a pin number for the credit card.
Michael is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 11:12 AM
  #4  
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Thanks to both of you for the quick responses! That was my suspicion about the service stations. The friend I'm going with does have a chip in her card, but I'm not sure if she has a PIN set up. I was getting my impression based on the Chase site -

Currently, we don't offer credit cards with the chip and pin capability. Our chip-enabled credit cards feature the chip and signature capability.

Sounds like it's worth a phone call to them, at least!
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 11:42 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I have a US bank account, whose non-chip-and-pin card I use regularly here in Italy. It works fine in shops and restaurants. They often look a little perplexed when they see it doesn't have a chip, but their little machines have a slot for swiping on the side. As mentioned above, you'll need to use cash in automatic tollbooths and unmanned filling stations.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 05:13 PM
  #6  
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Thanks so much, bvlenci - I'm glad to know it won't be a big issue!
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 08:07 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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>>>so I'm wondering about self-service gas stations especially<<<

You can often pay cash at the pump, but you might need a fistful (don't know the current price, but higher than US).
kybourbon is offline  

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