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Tell me about European credit cards with the chip

Tell me about European credit cards with the chip

Old Jul 30th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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Tell me about European credit cards with the chip

I'm curious about the way they work and why our US cards don't have a chip. In our previous European travels our Master or Visa card did work all over except in some machines. Is it something US credit cards will have in the future----what's the advantage? Or is it just that the credit card prossessor is different?
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 09:08 AM
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We have the chip/pin credit cards in Canada. It's a more secure system as you have to enter a pin # instead of having to just swipe the card.

We still use the card in the U.S. but it's just swiped. Most of the European countries we have visited recently are using the chip card.

It's a slightly different process as the card is inserted at the bottom of the machine instead of being swiped along the side.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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Exactly - you can see the chip on the top of the card - you slip the card into the machine at the bottom and then it looks like a bank machine, you see the amount, it asks for your pin and then you give the machine back to the merchant and they print the reciept - no signature needed.

The advantage is that you cant forge a signature - you have to know the PIN. The cards can still be used by swiping but merchants wont let you do that if it has a PIN and they have a PIN machine. But when we go to the US it can still be swiped and signed.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 09:38 AM
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One nice thing is that you don't lose sight of your card.
For example, in a restaurant, the waiter brings a portable reader to the table.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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These cards are becoming the standard in the eu (as well as many other places)....the USA has resisted them. For the most part, it is not an issue at least for now. There is some talk the eu is going to give merchants the right to refuse outdated cards issued by backward countries such as the USA and when that happens.....as it is right now as long as you stick to the usual touristy places and use human beings to complete your transactions, you should be okay. Chip and pin cards for the most poart are almost non existant in the USA; some banks are going for a thing called chip and signature; it's almost as if they are afraid to admit the USA is way behind the times but as I say, right now it probably won't affect you.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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This is a kind of question that you will get answers coming from many angles.

"Chip" is an ambiguous term. It can be
1. RFID chip, the Quick-Pay type, that is available in the U.S.
2. Smart CHIP used in conjunction with PIN, "CHIP and PIN". This is not generally available to U.S. users except for the high end card offered only to "selected" users or to those willing to pay high fees.

In the context of European travel, the #2 "CHIP and PIN" is the relevant item. #1 and #2 have nothing to do with each other.

With cards with Smart CHIPs, you punch in PIN as a means of validating the identify of the user.

The difficulty arises depending on the usage model. Some user's usage model is such that a simple magnetic strip card works everywhere, so they ask "what is the big deal? I have never had any problems." While others whose usage model require CHIP and PIN cards will come home saying, "I had nothing but problems."

The basic difference in the usage model is whether you are dealing with a person or a machine.

1. Transaction with a person. When you deal with a person, you are "supposed" to be able to continue to use magnetic strip only cards. However, the salesperson may not be trained to deal with magnetic strip only cards or don't want to bother with it. Reading this forum, it appears that with perseverance you can get a magnetic card accepted. You have more problems in some countries than others.

2. Transaction with a machine. Here, there are less or no workarounds. France, in particular uses machines that take only CHIP and PIN cards. SNCF ticket machine and unattended gas stations usually give headache to magnetic strip only card users. I had no such problems with vending machines in Italy.

U.S. banks see CHIP/PIN not yet as a key revenue source. If you follow U.S. financial news, large U.S. banks are starting to offer CHIP/PIN cards as a premium product available to selected high net-worth users.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the detailed info.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 12:39 PM
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>One nice thing is that you don't lose sight of your card.
For example, in a restaurant, the waiter brings a portable reader to the table.<

They do the same thing with a US CC.
Hey X,

>it's almost as if they are afraid to admit the USA is way behind the times<

It has nothing to do with keeping up with the times. It has to do with cost. Europe has a much higher rate of CC fraud, so it needed a more secure card.

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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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ira...These discussions take place all the time on various forums. The reality is I do understand the cost of converting the whole US payment system what with new termnals everywhere will cost quite a bit and the claim is, as you say, the amount of credit card fraud in the USA is somewhat lower than Europe. I can buy that but......

As noted, there is a growing feeling within the eu that they should regulate the use of the archaic magnetic strip cards; one gets the feeling that's coming and coming sooner than one might think., Then what?

And what's happening in the USA as noted is some issuers are beginning to make available credit cards with chips for their high rollers but...and it's a big but...these cards are chip and signature cards....they will still require the cardholder to sign a charge slip after it is inserted in the terminal and people who have one are reporting difficulties in the same places there have been difficulties with magnetic strip cards such as unattended kiosks or gas stations.

Now one must understand that the chip and pin cards do have magnetic strips for use in backward countries that refuse to join the 21st century in this matter of which the largest one, of course, is the USA.

But for the life of me, I can't understand why the American banks, retaining the current payment system in the USA, refuse to issue chip and pin caqrds to those who need them for travel say to Canada or within the eu. They can charge me the cost of producing a chip and pin card which would also include the outdated magnetic strip. I think it costs them something like 12 cents to produce a card such as that so if they wish to charge me 12 cents, I would gladly pay it to have a 21st century credit card and not continue to have this problem.

I also wish the US government would mandate the use of those portable terminals in restaurants so that I don't have to give up my card in a restaurant to pay a bill. As it is, I have begun to refuse to hand over my credit card to waiters and have asked that I go with them to wherever they run the credit cards. They look at me like I'm nuts but I don't want the card out of my sight at any time; a prime source of the theft of credit card numbers.
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Old Aug 10th, 2011, 02:11 PM
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VISA can encourage merchants to accept EMV cards after all:

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