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No chip and signature cc

I'm going to Rome in November for 10 days. We have a Visa card and a visa debit card. Neither have a chip and when I called the bank there are no plans to issue a chip and signature card before our travels. Will I be ok with the cards I have now or do I need to apply for a credit card with a chip? I'd really rather travel with what I have and not worry about getting a card I don't have plans on using after this trip.

Posted by
4524 posts

Magnetic strip cards still work just fine in all ATMs. They mostly work as credit cards in transactions conducted by a person, though generally in touristy areas/businesses only. It likely will not work in automated machines and in areas/businesses that do not cater to tourists.

I'm surprised your bank won't be issuing a new credit card as it will be after the October 1 deadline and you requested it. (The ATM/debit cards won't be switched to chips until October of 2016).

Posted by
30 posts

Be sure to carry cash. All metro ticket vending machines and convenience stores, super markets accept chip and pin.

Posted by
6742 posts

You can get a Capital One card - it has a chip and no foreign exchange fees.

Posted by
48 posts

My understanding is that almost all of Europe has switched to the chip and PIN/signature system (as some other people pointed out-- cards without this functionality will be accepted in more touristy locations/businesses). So if you don't plan on making major purchases that you would use a credit card for and can get by with the cash that you withdraw from the ATM, then you should be fine. I guess I would personally be a little concerned about traveling with a credit card that I might not be able to use, especially if there was an emergency. I don't know if you've pre-paid for your hotels and things like that, but you might want to call ahead to check if they will accept a card without the chip functionality.

Posted by
6 posts

My cc is through our credit union and yea I called and was told that they won't be switching to a card with a chip until 2016. My hotel and a few tours have already been booked and paid for.

I keep putting this off as H is a one credit card person but it looks like I need to get another card to be safe.

Thanks for the advice.

Posted by
5360 posts

It is my preference anyway to always take at least two credit cards, and typically I have three (a MC, a Visa, and my American Express), if only for added security. If there is an issue with one network or card, another usually works. Getting a second card, even if you choose not to use it makes sense.

I think you will find the mag strip card accepted in nearly all places, touristy or not for the typical things (Hotels, Restaurants, and Shops), as other have said, not at unattended kiosks for tickets and places that focus on POS terminals like Grocery stores and small shops.

What you will run into, especially if staffed by younger people, are clerks unfamiliar with the mag strip. One guy in England looked at my wife like she was crazy until another clerk came over. (To date myself, I recall back when networks were less reliable, here in the states they would pull out the old machine with carbon copies to run the transaction when things were down, most clerks today have never seen one of those.) I did notice that nearly all terminals, including handheld ones there still had a slot for the mag strip, or there was at least one in the place that did.

Posted by
2127 posts

I think you'll be fine with a magnetic stripe card, but I would consider getting a card with a chip, if only two have two credit cards in case you have trouble with one. I like to have two debit cards (from two different accounts) and two credit cards when traveling overseas. It's not unheard of to have issues with an account being blocked by mistake. You know, belt and suspenders, just in case.

Posted by
4524 posts

I keep putting this off as H is a one credit card person but it looks like I need to get another card to be safe.

Honestly, if you don't want a second credit card then don't get one. Yes it can serve as a nice backup - but your trip is 10 days. Do you really need a whole new credit card for 10 days when the big expenses have already been paid for? A lot of people here advise getting new cards, second ATM cards, opening accounts with banks that don't charge fees, etc... It's all perfectly reasonable advice. But I've always thought it kind of over the top for people that go on a 2 week vacation. Bring some extra cash with you (dollars) and change those if you have an emergency with your credit card or debit card. I usually like to keep 200euro in reserve and then spend it as the trip nears its end.

Posted by
180 posts

I was in Ireland and even at Heathrow and used my credit card without a pin number but a chip at a self check out. When it asked for a pin the employee helping did something and I was able to use it without a PIN number

Posted by
37 posts

Most cards in U.S. that have the chip are "chip and signature" cards. They will not work as "chip and pin" cards in many terminals in Europe (including gas stations, toll booths, ticket machines, etc). One that I use is the Barclaycard World Arrival Plus, one of the few hybrid chip and pin/chip and signature cards available in the U.S. It also does not charge a foreign transaction fee as opposed to most other major cards that charge 3%.There is an $89 annual fee (waived for the first year) but they have an an attractive sign-up offer worth $440 if you spent $3000 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. You also earn 2% on your purchases that can be applied to any travel charges to the account. Check out Nerdwallet.com for more info. Nerdwallet is a great resource for looking up credit card and debit card comparison info.