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Money Problems....Chip and Pin ??


Apr 3rd, 2011, 05:00 PM
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Money Problems....Chip and Pin ??

I was just informed by Travelex Exchange that ATM's in Europe are only accepting cards that have a "chip and pin". Can anyone explain this to me??? How do I know if my BofA card will be accepted in Europe? Should I buy one of those Pre-paid cards.... but they are only honored by Master Card subscribers......What do you think?
alyce is offline  
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 05:59 PM
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ATM´s in Europe accept all ATM cards whether they are pin and chip or not. The ATM´s in France will usually accept 6 digit pin´s contrary to what some have written. Additionally French bank ATM machines impose no fees on withdrawals. What your bank may charge you is something else.

If by BofA card you mean a credit card, magnetic strip cards are not accepted at ticket kioks, pay at the pump gas stations, and some toll booths. Otherwise you will need to find a sales agent to complete your transaction. Expect delays as fewer and fewer employees are knowledgeable about processing magnetic strip cards. Bank of America assesses a 3% fee on all of your international charges.

All of the pre-paid cards I have looked at have very high usage fees - avoid them.
Sarastro is offline  
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 06:01 PM
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What is the source of your Travelex information? Is it a web site?
greg is offline  
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 06:16 PM
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Interesting. Of course they would say that. They want your cash. Shady sales tactic IMHO
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 06:34 PM
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Chip and pin cards are like U.S. credit cards except that they use a microchip and require the owner to enter a PIN in order to complete a sale. Those cards are now widely used throughout Europe, and many of us here are waiting for U.S. credit-card banks to issue the same kind of cards. As mentioned above, magnetic-strip cards are still accepted in most places, but not everywhere--including self-serve gas stations after hours. We were able to avoid some of the problems because a kind friend offered us the use of her French credit card, and that was a lifesaver on two occasions.

In most stores a manager will know how to use a U.S. credit card if the salesperson can't make the machine "work."
Underhill is offline  
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:14 PM
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We are currently in Paris. Our BoA ATM csrd works fine at the BNP Paribas bancomat (what Europeans call ATM's) and BoA does not charge fees for the transaction as they do at other bancomats.

I have seen one small restaurant on rue St Antoine that does not except swiped credit cards, but it is rare.

The reason, by the way, that Europe uses chip-and-pin cards is not that they are more advanced than we but that their communication technology is historically less secure than ours and the extra layer is needed. I am not going to argue this, but you can look it up.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 12:44 AM
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I've never had a problem using my BofA ATM card in France. Do use BNP Parabis banks to avoid fees.You are using and ATM card , right. Do not use a credit card to get money from an ATM machine. The fees add up from the first second you withdraw money.

I love my new BofA Virgin atlantic credit card...no transaction fees, same with British Airways Chase Mastercards!
avalon is offline  
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Apr 4th, 2011, 01:20 AM
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I use either my local credit union ATM/debit card, or my BofA ATM/debit card, depending on the country & partner banks. Both are basic US mag strip cards and have worked at any ATM I've ever tried all across Europe.

What Travelex is telling you is flat out wrong, either because they are misinformed or they are trying to deceive you. I noticed recently at JFK airport they have a big ad sign "chip & pin - don't get caught unprepared."

You can call it creative advertising or call it scare tactics.
J62 is offline  
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Apr 4th, 2011, 01:31 AM
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European banks are switching to Chip and PIN for payment in shops. It is to stop skimming. They haven't switched completely yet but will be in the coming years.
I assume ATMs will still read swipeable cards but I don't know for sure.
The Netherlands switches next year to this system for payments in shops.
hetismij is offline  
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Apr 4th, 2011, 03:34 AM
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Be sure to contact BoA and your credit card companies to inform them of your travel plans. BoA has an agreement with BNP in France... check with them who they deal with elsewhere.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
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Apr 4th, 2011, 05:32 AM
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If you bank with BofA get the number to call from Europe. In my case they "Forgot" to put the alert on that allows me to use the phone in Europe. Since this was after I was on hold with them for an hour to do this I "forgot" to continue to use them as a bank for my money.

The number they will give you to call from Europe actually connects with a human right away, only time I have ever had that happen at BofA.

My bank doesn't charge me ATM fees anyplace so I am happy (USAA)
CarolA is offline  
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Apr 4th, 2011, 05:46 AM
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Cash machines generally do not accept credit cards, only ATM and debit cards. I mistakenly put a credit card in a cash machine in Edinburgh and it did not come back.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 06:26 AM
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ATM's in France (officially called a DAB in documentation but called simply a 'distributeur' by the French) will accept any card with any of the various logos on it: Visa, Master Card, Visa Electron, Maestro, Plus, Cirrus, etc.

Here are all of the explanations from the official organism in charge of bank cards in France: http://www.cartes-bancaires.com/spip.php?lang=en
kerouac is online now  
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Apr 4th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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Thank you everyone. As usual Fodorites come through. This "chip and pin" story was told to me by a Travelex clerk and it definitely through me for a loop. I plan to use my BofA ATM card....I'm only aware of a 4 digit number..??? 6 digit ????? Thanks for all the info.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 06:42 PM
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I am always mildly amused by the misplaced enthusiasm of those carrying Bank of America ATM cards, diligently seeking out those BNP ATM terminals in an effort to save the $5 fee per withdrawal that Bank of America charges its customers.

You can use your Bank of America ATM cards probably anywhere, at any bank ATM but you´ll pay the $5 if it´s not BNP. Or you could obtain a USAA ATM card like CarolA has and not worry about whose bank ATM machine you are using because USAA never charges a withdrawal a fee regardless of whose ATM machine you might want to use.
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