We have an upcoming trip to Austria (Switzerland as well) but found out our "chip" credit card can't be used with a PIN outside the U.S. It's my understanding transactions in Europe require a PIN. If that's the case, we're stuck with using cash or the bank card. Has anyone encountered the non-PIN chip card issue? Recommendations?
Ignoring the fact that what you seem to have sounds unique (and it's restricted operation even more so), just about anyplace that takes a credit card will take a swiper and signature. The exception is unmanned facilities, in most cases.
One doesn't need a chip card in Europe, certainly not in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. I don't have one. In May I was in Austria, before that in Germany, I used the magnetic stripe US credit card, which always went through, ie, no problems. Other times I paid with cash which is preferred anyway.
My U.S. Visa credit card wouldn't work in Europe one time in many, many visits. The merchant did the same thing that they'd do "back home"--key'd in the account numbers and got my signature.
Just be sure to contact your credit card company prior to leaving to tell them the countries you're going to visit and the dates.
And make sure you know your 4 digit number PIN.
I cannot think you'd ever need the PIN unless you were taking a cash advance, and we all know such a transaction comes with high service charges and big interest charges.
I use my Capital One Visa for rental cars, meals and hotel rooms--before I use cash obtained at an ATM. I'm also carrying two separate ATM cards--both of which have sufficient funds for any travel needs.
My Cap One Visa w/ mag strip worked in Austria - Salzburg and small villages in the Tirol - past January.
Thanks for your responses. It seems people (that I've spoken with, in addition to this forum) have had varied experiences with using a credit card. So I guess we'll use what we have & it'll work out. Yes, cash advances aren't even a consideration at any time, traveling or not.
I use my US credit card all the time (no pin required) with no problems at all.