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Always Take A Second Credit Card

I just returned from a 3 week RV trip and I had something happen that I never would have expected. The chip fell out of my credit card. Yes, apparently that can happen. Who knew? I was lucky because I found it. I would have worried about inserting the card into a machine after that happened. I had a second card and my husband had his card so we were okay. It made me think of being in Europe, potentially traveling solo. What would I do if I only had the one card? Has anyone else experienced this?

Posted by
5980 posts

No never heard of a chip falling out. Sometimes I've had a card just not work for mystery reasons, even here at home. One time, my bank cancelled my card without telling me because of a hack at the bank, while I was traveling in Italy and unable to pay the hotel. And preferably you and spouse should have cards from different banks. (curmudgeonly rant warning)This is one reason I am not so enamored with cashless travel. Technology fails more often than cash.

Posted by
6841 posts

That is very unusual considering how much we pay for things using cards. What I'd do if that happened I'd contact the card company immediately and use another credit card or temporarily use my debit. I always carry a reserve of cash I only spend when faced with a cash only merchant. and credit cards in my neck wallet separate from the main credit card that I use when I travel.

Posted by
1867 posts

Wouldn't the magnetic stripe still work as a backup? But, still good info. I always have 2 credit cards with me just in case something happened to one. I once had a card expire while I was away. I hadn't noticed and for some reason I hadn't received a new one.

Posted by
8236 posts

I had never heard of it happening before, but the reality is the chip is simply pressed into the indentation in the card.

Posted by
5307 posts

Wouldn't the magnetic stripe still work as a backup?

Only if the merchant has a way to override. At a terminal that accepts chips, the magnetic strip would tell it that the card has a chip, then instruct you to insert the chip...it is a security feature. If the merchant has a terminal that is swipe only (unlikely in Europe), then the card would work fine.

Chips also have a habit of picking up contamination that shorts across the pads on the chip, giving it a good rub usually helps.

But also, over the years, I have had a number of instances of a card working early in the day, not working at a merchant or restaurant, then working later in the day. A back-up, or back-up for the back-up, is critical for worry free travel.

Posted by
1039 posts

Yup, I reached into my wallet for my usual, well-used Chase VISA card at the grocery store a few months ago and discovered that the chip had fallen out. As always, I carry a second cc, whether at home or when traveling. When I returned home from the grocery store, I called Chase to ask them to send a replacement card. They said that if I could not find the chip (I couldn't; too tiny) they had to cancel the card and issue me a new one with a new number. They said that if someone found the chip it could be used to access my account (who knew??). And also, yes, a couple of years ago, while standing at a bus stop in Palermo, I reached into my neck pouch for my bus ticket and managed to let my usual VISA card slip through my fingers and drift slowly straight down into the deep dark drainage grate at my feet. Gone forever. Of course, that second cc (deep in my waist money belt) saved the trip!

Posted by
2598 posts

I carry two debit cards (Schwab and my local bank) and three credit cards (AMEX, VISA x 2 from different companies; all no foreign charge fees) at home and when I travel. I had one of my debit cards eaten by a machine in Krakow -- was very glad to have a second debit card to get cash.

I like Jazz's idea to have a reserve stash of cash just in case.

Posted by
3770 posts

Wow, I hadn’t heard of the chip falling out of a card! It’s probably a good idea for me to check my card before returning it to my purse when I’m shopping at home, too.

I did have an issue with a credit card when I was traveling for work. My husband’s debit card was eaten by an ATM, and it automatically cancelled my card because they were the same number. Luckily it was my last day before returning home.

For traveling in Europe - solo or with my husband, I bring an ATM card, a Capital One ATM card and another credit card. Thankfully I’ve always been able to get cash with the bank or Capital One card. (I rarely use a credit card in Europe.). I am a consistent money belt wearer, so all of them are secure.

Posted by
2047 posts

Checking my Credit Cards now. I also didn’t give my chip a second thought. Would the Card still work with Tap-n-pay? I would think, hope so. We travel with 2 CC each, same account but different Numbers. Maybe will look into a third, always be prepared I say.

Posted by
3893 posts

I recommend bringing multiple credit cards. Often American Express is not welcome. In Spain, it seems Master Card is most preferred. I like to use my VISA card for car rentals because it has the best insurance coverage. Before I leave on trips to Europe I double check my cards for foreign transaction fees and let them know I am traveling.

Posted by
5654 posts

Interesting. Another reason to travel with secondary credit and debit/ATM cards. I had credit card locked when the company's fraud detection (correctly) suspected a fraudulent charge on my card the first day of a US road trip.

Posted by
77 posts

"Checking my Credit Cards now. I also didn’t give my chip a second thought. Would the Card still work with Tap-n-pay?"
NO. That little chip IS your credit card. Everything else is a holder.
Cutting your credit card in 2 is meaningless these days (to destroy it). If that chip lives, the card lives even if 90% of the plastic around it is cut off. You need to destroy that chip (cut it into pieces) to kill that card.

Posted by
1947 posts

Oh my goodness, I never thought about that as a possibility!

I just upgraded my travel credit card and this further confirms my inclination to keep the old account (no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees) open and carry the old card as my backup. My previous backup card has foreign transaction fees, so I never wanted to have to rely on it.

Posted by
2883 posts

Thanks for the heads up Andrea!

jmauldinuu, what was the follow up with the card issuer if you found your chip? I’d hate to be issued a new card with new number too—too many things on auto pay with various cc’s. Did they send you a new card but with your same number?

Posted by
8236 posts

A couple of weeks before my chip fell out entirely I noticed after a transaction that one corner was slightly lifted. I pushed it back into place. Fortunately when my chip fell out I was in my RV and my husband spotted it. If the chip had been lost the card would need to be cancelled. I use the card frequently (I earn miles) and it it connected to a lot of payments. I’m sure glad I don’t have to change those things. When I called Chase after arriving home from my trip I was told a replacement could be sent and would arrive in 3-5 business days. I’ll be leaving for LA in a few days and didn’t want to take a chance of it arriving while I’m gone. I’ll call back in a few days and I should return home before it can be delivered. In the meantime my hubby will have to use his card for everything.

Posted by
126 posts

Andrea, Thanks for the FYI. I’m glad that the situation with the chip falling out of your credit card turned out OK for you considering what might have happened. I’ve added another task to my travel prep to do list.

Posted by
685 posts

Lots of reasons a backup is good. One reason is in case your card gets stolen and has to be canceled. My brother in law had his wallet stolen on the Paris RER (notorious site for pick pockets but he didn't really believe the hype). They called and canceled his card which also canceled my sister's. Left them with VISA debit cards for a 2 week trip. Made it work but not ideal. One of our accounts is essentially the same acct but my husband and my card have different card numbers so I assume if only one gets canceled the other is still good.

I too have been having chip issues lately. Started at just the readers at one local retailer but now won't work on any. Sometimes the reader would allow me to just use the mag strip but others if it senses there is a chip it forces you to use it even if it gets a malfunction error. Kind of stalling on getting a new card because it has several auto-pays that acct.

Posted by
77 posts

2 credit cards (different banks), 2 ATM cards (different banks) standard operating procedure when far from home. Period. I have friends who had the atm outside the Capitoline Museum in Rome eat their card on a Friday night. They had ZERO back up and zero cash. Luckily they had bank of me (yes, I was fully repaid when we all got home). That was the last time they put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Posted by
8236 posts

CK-traveler, if your chip is damaged and it is in your possession I don’t know why your new card can’t have the same account number. After I get my replacement card I will destroy my old card/chip.

As for cards using different banks, hubby and I both have cards from two different sources. We have two totally different accounts at the same credit union, so if some happens to a debit card (only used to withdraw cash from an atm) we can transfer money to the other account. Is there some reason this wouldn’t be adequate? I use our travel account, only having our regular account cardsin case of emergency.

Posted by
111 posts

I'd never ever carry only one card anywhere - solo or otherwise. Also if travelling with a partner be wary of only having one CC with 2 different cards (one each) - if one needs to be blocked because its lost or stolen - that can affect the other card. I've also come across places ONLY accepting Visa or Mastercard - not both( not in Europe though). I always have at least 2 credit cards and a debit a card

Posted by
21206 posts

My standard recommendation is 2 debit cards tied to two different accounts and four credit cards. In all the years of travel we have never had a bad debit or credit --- BUT -- I still worry. I like back-up to back-up.

Posted by
183 posts

Thanks Andrea for the heads up. This is very important to know. I had no idea this could happen.
I just checked my cards. Yes, the chip could just pop out.
Does anyone know how to secure the chip to the card if it's loose?
Could we put a dab of nail polish or glue?

Thank you in advance.

Posted by
8236 posts

Carole, I was wondering the same thing. Would the card still work if I somehow glued it back in? I decided against it. The underside of the chip has a circle of small dots with a little red square in the middle, in case anyone is curious. I don’t advise you to pry the chip out in order to see for yourself. Just saying... :)

Posted by
1867 posts

I've been reading up about it and that chip is the card, if the wrong person came across it, they could pop it into a new card and use it. So it stands to reason you could glue it back into your own card, but I'd be ordering a new card asap and destroy the old card. Cut up the card AND the chip.

Posted by
8236 posts

Yes, I will be doing that. I’ll order my replacement card in a few days so it isn’t delivered while I’m in LA.

Posted by
183 posts

Good to know I'd better not try gluing the chip back. I agree ordering a new one is the way to go.
Thanks for your feedback.

Posted by
1605 posts

If you have more, take more. Once when I was driving from Phoenix to Denver I needed to fas up in Albuquerque. My first 2 cards were denied ( not for being maxed out ! ) but the third was o.k.

Posted by
1268 posts

Some random questions/thoughts...
When destroying an old card, is cutting the chip in half sufficient? Fyi, I cut a card in strips, alternating between 2 trash cans and put the second half in next week's garbage

I also tend to only use my united card to earn mileage, but of course you can't let those other cards go too dormant, an easy solution is things with monthly fees, like my Ancestry account is parked on a little used card

Carefully think through the impact of shared credit card accounts with your spouse. If they lost their wallet it would be a hot mess. My sister is going through the struggle of those accounts being automatically closed upon her husband's death which means that she has to go through the hassle of opening new accounts with customer service representatives who aren't trained to be gentle with the bereaved.

Posted by
5654 posts

Carefully think through the impact of shared credit card accounts with your spouse. If they lost their wallet it would be a hot mess.

Capital One joint account credit cards have different card numbers. If one is lost/stolen, the other is still good.

Posted by
8947 posts

Checking my Credit Cards now. I also didn’t give my chip a second
thought. Would the Card still work with Tap-n-pay?" NO. That little
chip IS your credit card. Everything else is a holder.

Not so.
Tap and pay cards use a separate chip which is buried inside the plastic of the card; it's not visible.
So it would still work if the chip&pin/signature chip fell off. In addition if your card is also setup in your Apple Pay or Android wallet the card would still be functional.

Posted by
1039 posts

Mona, My understanding is that if you have the full card - including chip - in your possession, you can ask the bank to simply issue you a new one because your old one is somewhat damaged. In that case, they won't give you a new, different account number but will reissue a new card with same account number. Yes, was a hassle having to cancel the card because the chip was lost. I assured them that the chip had to be in my purse somewhere, but they weren't buying it and for safety insisted on issuing me a card with a new number. I did have to go onto multiple auto-pay accounts and change the cc number for billing.

Posted by
30 posts

I've never had a chip failure, but I was ridiculously careless in Paris (especially considering I believed all the messaging about pickpockets), and had my wallet stolen. I always keep a second card in the safe in my room which was a lifesaver. I also learned to not carry my debit card with me unless I'm specifically intending to go to a cash machine. When it was stolen I had no way to get cash (well, except to go to a bank and get cash on my regular credit card at 23% interest). Fortunately a very nice couple on my tour offered to sell me cash so I was able to use a check to get cash from them. I do travel solo and for years have traveled with multiple cards for just such an emergency.

Posted by
8236 posts

Update:

I received my replacement credit card yesterday. It has the same CC#, expiration date and 3 digit code as the old card. It also has the tap to pay feature, which my old card didn’t. I like that.