Smart card credit cards

Jul 22nd, 2008, 12:31 AM
  #1  
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Smart card credit cards

I have been told that the UK has converted to micro-chipped credit cards and that most merchants no longer have facilities to process the older magnetic strip credit cards.
I still have one of the old-fashioned unchipped Mastercard credit cards. Am I going to experience problems using it in the United Kingdom?
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 12:37 AM
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You shouldn't do. Sometimes machines have problems reading the smart card bit, and display a message "use magnetic strip" , so shops generally have a combined chip/strip reader.

The most likely source of a problem is untrained staff who are reluctant to use old style cards (my parents found this when visiting from overseas) - but it is unlikely you will have problems in any tourist areas.
willit is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 12:45 AM
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Many Europeans still have credit cards with only a magnetic strip also. It simply isn't possible to change so many cards in one go.
When you pay say that the card needs swiping and mostly they will know what to do. If they don't ask for the manager.
Often the card reader is a combined CC/debit card reader - and debit cards still use the magnetic strip.
hetismij is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 01:55 AM
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ALL manned EFTPOS terminals in use in UK have a facility for swiping magnetic strip card except a very few places such as automatic petrol/diesel pump at certain supermarkets (many Asda stations are unmanned and won't take magnetic strip cards).
Strip reader is integrated into the merchant's main terminal, not the customer's keypad for typing in PIN for chipped cards, so you have to hand over your card to be processed.
You shouldn't have difficulties, but when you encounter hesitancy, just remind the operator it's a swipe card, not chip&pin.
Alec is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 02:16 AM
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What gets me is th einsistance of some nearly illiterate clerks in a certain convenience store I go to to always insert my magnetic strip card into their chip reader even though I tell them it's a magnetic strip card...these jerks insist they have to insert the card into the chip reader first...the problem is the place where I sign the card is very vulnerable to this and after a few of these, it starts to have lines through it and makes it hard to read the signature...after a little while longer, the signature panel begin to erode exposing the word void underneath it...I have to keep calling the bank to replace the card.

Almost everywhere I go, the terminals have the facilities both for the chip and pin cards and the swipe...what I do like is this forces restaurants to have little portable terminals they bring to the table and swipe the card right in front of you rather than taking it to a back room where the terminal is located out of your sight and the card can easily be compromised (probably a big source of credit card fraud)...

It is apparent the USA has rejected the technology, the USA in this, and many other things, being contrary minded...one would assume the banks have done a study and found their losses from fraud are less than the cost of implementing the chip and pin system so we in the USA will be stuck indefinitely with the technologically more danger inferior magnetic strip cards; so much for our believe how technologically advanced we are.

What could be done, and I've spoken to my state legislator about this, is requiring all restaurants to have these portable terminals so the card is never out of your sight when it is swiped. But they don't seem in a hurry to protect themsevles and their customers with this simple step either.
xyz123 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 04:09 AM
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..just mind what Alec said. I was trying to fill up a car in France on Sunday. The station was on a highway and unmanned. My card wouldn't work! Fortunately, I was traveling with someone who had a "French credit card" so all was well..but that is the only time I ran into problems.
travelbunny is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 07:37 AM
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I have a chip in 2 of my cards - the ones I am most likely to use. But there is no PIN. It's the Blink system. Is that usable with the European system?

When I do use it in the US, I touch the card to a sensor and then I don't have to sign unless it's over a certain dollar amount.

Thanks for any info.

Bridget
lola618 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 07:54 AM
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I have not had a problem with this in the UK. Indeed, I haven't had too much of a problem anywhere in Europe. The primary exceptions are at unmanned gas stations, where I suspec you are out of luck, and at grocery stores, where I'm sure they can be used, but often the staff just don't know what to do with it.

Be sure to tell them that you also don't have a PIN code for it, as this is usually a bigger issue than the chip versus magnetic stripe issue, and using the magnetic stripe does not preclude the need for a PIN.

one would assume the banks have done a study and found their losses from fraud are less than the cost of implementing the chip and pin system so we in the USA will be stuck indefinitely with the technologically more danger inferior magnetic strip cards;

It is a bit more complicated than that. In the US, the banks aren't really liable for any sort of fraudlent activity. Either the cardholder pays (though US cardholders tend to have more protection than Europeans), or if the cardholder disputes the charge, then the bank doesn't pay the store/vendor. So, it is really the stores that assume most of the risk. Both the consumer and the bank are better protected in the US. Of course, that is little solace if your card is stolen and you have to spend a great deal of time sorting the mess out, but that is a different issue.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 08:01 AM
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travelgourmet...

Not sure I agree with you...as a merchant if the signature on the card matches and the card is not on the do not accept list (which is verified with the terminal), I don't see how the merchant can be held responsible for fraudulent use of a credit card....internet merchants do have problems as the card is not physically present and I have read of cases where they have been left holding the bag but not the High Street merchant...

But yes, under federal law, cardholders in the USA do have a broad range of protection...mostly they cannot be held for more than %50 of fraudulent charges but it is very rare that a bank even bothers with the $50....
xyz123 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Is this just an issue in the UK, or does it extend to other parts of Europe, as well? We're renting a car in Italy in October and I'm now wondering if we'll have problems filling up on the road.
slangevar is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 08:54 AM
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Filling up, in Italy, under normal circumstances is easy. Where it is a problem is when the service stations are unmanned (i.e between around 12:30 and 3pm) and the automatic fuel pumps don't accept foreign cards.

This happened to me in Siena last year where I tried 3 UK cards (Visa, Mastercard and Amex) all to no effect.

Fortunatly it was approaching 3pm, and one of the atendents was able to open the office and take payment.
willit is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 09:30 AM
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On freeways, the service stations are always manned, 24/7. But you pay more.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Okay - good to note. Must fill up with gas between 10 and 12:30, and 3 and 5 (or on the highway).

(My mom used to run out of gas all the time, so I'm a little obsessive about it.)
slangevar is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 12:20 PM
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as a merchant if the signature on the card matches and the card is not on the do not accept list (which is verified with the terminal), I don't see how the merchant can be held responsible for fraudulent use of a credit card

All I know is that this is how it has been explained to me. I remember being asked for my id by a watch shop when he was replacing a pin on my watch strap (maybe $10). He explained that somebody had come in and bought a pricey watch with a stolen credit card and that he was on the hook. I'm open to correction, though.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 01:01 PM
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'I have a chip in 2 of my cards - the ones I am most likely to use. But there is no PIN. It's the Blink system. Is that usable with the European system?'

No, it's different from chip and pin used in UK and elsewhere. Yours appears to be an RFID system where a chip imbedded in your card communicates with a terminal by tapping it on a pad or placing it close and transaction is automatically recorded. It's similar to a system used to collect tolls automatically and for fare collection by Oyster card in London and Octopus in HK.
Alec is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 05:03 PM
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On a side note, I'm so annoyed that American credit card companies won't just start issuing smart cards.

It seems like someone could make a bundle with pre-paid global smart cards (sort of like the Amex gift cards, but with a smart chip that can be used globally).
slangevar is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 05:54 PM
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travelgourmet...

We discussed this a while ago...master card USA merchant procedures make it very clear a merchant may not request id during a mastercard transaction (I think visa has the same rule)...

Hold on, you may say, it's for your protection. Why wouldn't you want to show ID to prove you're you.

Well, I've had my credit card compromised three times in the past. The first time the renewal cards were stolen right out of the post office...the second and third, somehow my number got compromised and in one cast $8,200 was charged in 3 days...it went through their security aparatus and the only way I found out about it was when routinely checked my balance one morning while in Paris.

It presented no big problem...a few phone calls, a notarized affadavit, and the whole matter was resolved. The only hassle, if it is one, was changing the automatic payments when the new number arrived.

Now, if my identiy is stolen, that's a horse of a different color in resolving it. And identity thieves operate on the principle of gather ing information. If, for example, I'm dealing with a dishonest clerk (not likely but it happens) if she compromises my credit card number, it can be dealt with. If, in addition, she gets my driver's license number or address or whatever, she has more information to turn over to the vermin running these identity theft rings...I've had a bit of a hassle with a couple of merchants over this, but I take out the paper from mastercard USA indicating a merchant may not request any other identification other than comparing the signature on the card with the signature on the sales slip.

Some folks think they're being smart by writing see ID on the signature panel...that, technically, invalidates the card.

Also, the 3 digit security code on mastercards and visas is only supposed to be used when the card is not present, say on an internet transaction...if a clerk steals your credit card number, they will try to get that number too.

From reading the mastercard merchant's manual, it is my understanding that if the card is present, and properly signed, the merchant is protected but I'm not going to swear on my last dime that this is so.
xyz123 is offline  
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