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swipe and pin debit card

Scottrade Bank doesn't issue pin debit cards. My card is swipe and pin. They say there is no problem using it in a European ATM machine. I'd like to know if anyone has used swipe and pin for ATM cash withdrawals? I don't want to change cards or co-mingle funds and accounts. I will be taking a Visa travel card for purchases. I'm also taking our joint BAC account debit card as a back-up, but I don't want to use it because my husband will be home and it will probably trigger a fraud alert.

Posted by
4535 posts

I think you may be a bit confused in your terminology (it is confusing to the average consumer).

I think you mean your debit card is not Chip & PIN. Instead, you have a magnetic strip card with a PIN as most US Debit and ATM cards are.

If you do mean a magnetic strip card with a PIN, those are still accepted at virtually every ATM throughout Europe. There may be occasional exceptions, and times when a card doesn't work in an ATM for some unknown reason. Just try another bank's machine if you run into that problem. Many European machines suck in the card and hold it until the transaction is completed (unlike the "swipe" you may be used to in the US).

Also be aware that many bank and private ATMs may ask you if you want your transaction amounts converted into your own currency. That is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and may seem helpful for you but is really a way for them to add fees or their own exchange rate to the transaction. Always do business in the local currency and be able to do any conversions in your head.

Posted by
2707 posts

Yes, I mean magnetic strip. So swipe and enter a pin.

Thanks for your answer.

Posted by
8421 posts

hw, Douglas' comment is important - its not a swipe. Your card gets sucked in and spit out at the end of transaction. This is a bit disconcerting to Americans as they see their card disappear if not used to it. And you have to take the card and the cash out quickly or it will be sucked back in to prevent theft.

Posted by
2707 posts

Thanks for clarifying. Last time I travelled we took travelers checks and I don't think debit cards were invented.

Posted by
3517 posts

The magnetic stipe and PIN debit / ATM cards will work fine anywhere in the world to get money from a bank owned ATM until at least 2020.

I used my mag stripe debit cards as recently as February in London and Paris without issues.

The important things to remember are:

  1. It must be a BANK OWNED ATM. The no-name ATMs you find in bars, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. may or may not work.

  2. You must notify your card issuer bank of where (countries) and when (date range) you will be using the foreign ATM. Otherwise they may freeze your account.

  3. Make sure your requested amount from the ATM does not exceed your daily limit. If you feel you need a higher daily limit, ask your bank and they may increase it.

  4. Avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion where the ATM offers to bill you in Dollars (or your home currency). That is just a way for the ATM owner to make more money charging you whatever rate they want.

Posted by
5835 posts

In addition to Mark's important things to remember:
5. Bank ATM cash machines may have a withdrawal limit lower than your daily limit.

Also note that "private" ATM dispensers may have a usage fee above that of a foreign transaction conversion fee.