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Updated list of "true" chip and PIN cards?

We had a USAA true chip and PIN MasterCard which worked very well in Europe in 2013-2015 and also in Australia and New Zealand. Then they replaced it with a Visa card and on our 2016 trip it would cause the machine to spit out a receipt for signature. We never needed the PIN function on that trip but I wonder how we would have fared if it were required.

We did fine in Patagonia in March with the chip and signature card, but wonder if we will encounter problems in our September Trip to Austria and Slovenia. Can anyone advise? I would love to have another true chip and PIN card, but maybe it is not necessary? In any case, who still offers these in the US? Thanks for your help.

Posted by
1092 posts

The last I knew Target still had a true CHIP and PIN card.

Posted by
1845 posts

Lola, I will be watching this thread with particular interest as I have the same (well, same "brand" anyway) USAA card you do and have been getting the same results in Europe you have. Didn't need to use it on my trip to Berlin in May so no really current experience. Thank you for bringing this subject up and I will be interested in any potential list of "true" chip and PINs.

Posted by
2956 posts

Andrews FCU , and Barclay arrival+ MasterCard are true chip and pin cards . The issue that seems to confound most people with this issue , is that in the majority of instances , they still have to sign a slip , rather than entering a PIN . The answer lies with the cards programming of its CVM ( card verification mode ) . There can be anywhere from one to five ( roughly speaking ) modes for a given card . For the two above cited cards , they will default to a signature ( first mode ) and ask for a PIN ( second mode ) in an off line transaction such as a ticket kiosk or parking garage . While you still sign most of the time , in those instances when the PIN is required , it functions very well . The twenty minute embedded video here helps explain the concepts - http://www.emv-connection.com/cardholder-verification-methods-concepts-implementations-and-impacts/ I have used both of these cards for years with success .

Posted by
2727 posts

Isn't the Target chip and PIN card, the red card, internal to Target purchases only?

Posted by
1136 posts

My experience was as Steven explained. We have the Andrew FCU card and for most transactions, we are asked to sign a receipt. However, when we stop for gas at an automated station (no attendant), we can use our pin and get gas.

Posted by
4499 posts

Steven is pretty much correct with one caveat: Just about every US credit card will be chip & signature but many will have a PIN as a secondary authorization (so technically they are not chip & PIN). Even most of the earlier cards that did use PIN as the primary authorization have reverted to signature with PIN backup like in the USAA case. The good news is that with those cards, the PIN will kick in for transactions that require a PIN such as automated machines, Netherlands train stations, and gas pumps.

If you are given a PIN when your card is issued (often in a second mailing or email), then it is almost for sure intended to serve as the secondary transaction authorization and will work in Europe when needed.

If you have to request a PIN, it is most likely intended for cash advances from an ATM and may or may not work at automated machines in Europe (though it is still a good idea to have it in case of emergency).

Posted by
2956 posts

Confirming Douglas' comments - both the Andrews and the Barclay Cards , supplied the PIN in the manner he describes ( second mailing ) .

Posted by
11681 posts

Thanks! Can someone remind me of the requirements for the Andrews FCU card? Usually there is some sort of affiliation requirement for federal credit unions ( I already belong to two!)

And is this the right Barclaycard? Arrival Plus World Elite?

https://home.barclaycardus.com/cards/barclaycard-arrival-plus-world-elite-mastercard.html

It has an $89 annual fee but it is waived the first year. Is it worth doing the $3000 spend to get the 50,000 bonus miles? Are they reasonable easy to use? It looks like one converts them onto " travel credit" toward a ticket purchase, which means one is not limited to reward seats as with airline mileage programs. But the $500 credit will not go far toward purchase of the Business Class seats we usually get with our miles. I guess I could look at different airlines than our usual and see how much of a dent $500 would make in the cost.

Posted by
1136 posts

I did have to join something else to apply for a credit card, but it was free. I don't see where it says anything about that anymore, so maybe you don't have to do that now. (I have had my card for over 5 years). I have the Visa Platinum card (No yearly fee, no conversion charge on foreign purchases) and it also has many travel benefits. (They actually called it a travel card when I got it.) The only other thing I had to do was open a savings account and deposit $5.00 (which remains there to this day). It was a bit of a hassle to get the card though. I had to send them lots of stuff including tax returns to document income, etc. It was the most I have ever had to do to get a credit card.

Posted by
2956 posts

As I recall (it's been some years ) the affiliation for Andrews was with a no fee consumer advocacy group , a minor issue . The terms of the Barclay card are , indeed , as you are interpreting them , The travel credit ( which is a direct dollar to dollar equation - 1% reward ) is applied to an extant statement . You never lose the points but they are valid for redemption for 90 days from purchase . example - you spend $3,000 on June first - you redeem them ( and apply them to your outstanding balance ) giving you a direct 1% credit ( $30 ) on your bill . If you go past the ninety day window , they stay in your account , and the next time you have charges you can redeem whatever you have . It does not matter who you make purchases from , if they are travel related you get the 1% credit from your Barclay statement . I find that while you can get by with standard chip and signature cards most of the time , having cards that will function with a " true " PIN is a handy advantage . They have saved me standing in lines for local transit tickets , getting out of parking garages , tolls , a hotel or two , the list goes on . I have two Andrews cards ( separate accounts ) and one Barclay account .

Posted by
2811 posts

Lola, Andrews does have an affiliation requirement, but at least when I joined 4 or so years ago to get a chip card, there was a consumers organization you could join for a nominal fee which gave you access to AFCU membership. Be aware that their application process is cumbersome, especially if you're self-employed. The good thing about their card is that besides having a PIN, there's no fee for foreign purchases.
As to "true" chip and PIN cards, it all depends on your definition of chip and PIN. If by a true chip and PIN you mean that the PIN verification is the first priority, there may be as few as 6 financial institutions that offer them. But if you just mean a card with a PIN that can be used at machines where a person is not present (e.g., gas stations, train stations), there are more (such as Andrews).
The web site below can be used to find the various types:
http://www.spotterswiki.com/emv/index.php

Posted by
15577 posts

Yes the organization was basically "People who like credit unions", since that was the requirement to join the organization. No fees, dues, or anything to sign and mail in. They are not bullet-proof. People have reported they did not work in toll booths in southern France, as the org that runs the toll booth has a bank not connected to Andrew's network. I had a problem with an NRW ticket kiosk in Cologne and had to feed it bank notes instead. But other than that, worked great.

Posted by
54 posts

This page has a searchable database that can tell you what the CVM's on your specific cards are and in what order they are used: https://www.spotterswiki.com/emv/

If you have a laptop with a chip reader then there's also an app you can use to check the CVMs yourself. My cards all matched what's in the database, so I believe it's generally accurate.

Posted by
11681 posts

Thanks again, everyone. I believe the Barclaycard best fits our needs, due to the reward aspect, and is also easier to get.

I do have a question about the rewards. I understand that if I spend $3000 on the card, I will get $30 statement credit toward a qualifying expense ( travel-related) plus the 50K sign-up bonus. That is the useful part, as I can use the $500 credit toward flight tickets on an airline we cannot book through our mileage programs.

But can I choose when the statement credit gets applied, or will it be automatic? In other words, say part of my $3000 spend is for hotels and other travel expenses on our upcoming trip to Slovenia and Austria. When I have earned the 50K bonus, will it automatically appear as a statement credit to offset the trip expenses? I do not want that to happen, as I want to "save" the credit to apply toward flight tickets on a future trip, still in the early planning stages. So I am hoping that the statement credit for travel expenses takes some affirmative election on my part, through the card website. Or is it automatic with no input from me?

Posted by
2956 posts

The answer is that you will have to invoke the statement credit yourself on the website , it's not automatic .

Posted by
169 posts

We just applied for the Barclay Card you are talking about as well. Waiting for it to arrive before I book train tickets, a few tours and purchase some additional luggage and travel accessories so we can get started on spending the $3000. Thanks for all the links and advice everyone.

Posted by
169 posts

I thought I would add to the post after we received our Barclaycard. I was able to make our train reservations on OBB from Budapest to Vienna, Vienna to Salzburg and Salzburg to Munich. I really wanted to do this ahead of time, be able to print the tickets as well as download the PDF of the tickets on my phone, as well as having the email confirmation. My husband wanted first class and seat reservations so the total for all of our tickets was $265, more when converted to EU so probably more like 300eu. I also booked concert tickets at a Salzburg website and a few tours on Viator. We did have to call Barclaycard initially because my first transactions ever using the card were on an Austrian website so I guess that set off an alert. But the customer service was great and we didn't mind answering a bunch of questions again for our own security.

Posted by
1 posts

Capital One, even with a PIN, will not work at European gas stations or train ticket kiosks. Barkley Visa cards do work. Too bad, as Capital One is supposed to be a great travel card. Good luck filling your rental car.

Posted by
1 posts

I'm an airline pilot. I've got both the Andrews card and the Barclay's card and never have I found the PIN function to work. Every single time I've gotten a signature slip. This even though Barclay's states that after the first transaction with the signiature the PIN function will now work. In the UK many store operators, outside of London, are refusing my cards as the signature cards are too easy to forge. B&Q no longer takes Barclay's Card or signature cards. B&Q is their Home Depot. Most gas stations will only accept the cards when you actually walk into the shop. The Kiosk will not accept the card. I use my cards every single week and not once in 4 years have I ever been given the chance to enter my PIN number. I've also tried the same at the underground stations with the same result. So if someone has a card that they've actually had to put in a PIN I'd appreciate it. It's my understanding that this is all the fault of our banks. Too be honest, these cards are so unsafe and easily used for fraud. No one in these countries use anything other than Chip and PIN. So we are the oddball. If you dropped your card and you find someone to to accept the card, it's so easy to use when you're not the owner.

Posted by
4820 posts

Regarding the Pin vs Signature Issue: Nearly all Cards issued in the US that have a usable PIN are still signature priority, meaning if the merchant offers Signature as an option, that is what will happen, a slip will be spit out and you will sign. Last time I researched, there were only a few cards, meaning can count on one hand, that are issued in the US and are PIN priority.

Additionally, there have been some reports that merchants can limit card transactions to local or European cards, and in some cases these are limited to Maestro or similar cards, which is a European Debit Card or can be a Pre-loaded Card.

As for examples in the previous post, perhaps at the gas station, the pumps and terminals in the store do not differentiate the Signature priority validation, so you have to go inside. The Home store example puzzles me, except maybe they do not view themselves as having to cater to Foreign Card Traffic (hardly a tourist destination) so they simply exclude any card with a Signature option, or even any Foreign cards as a security measure. European businesses are more restrictive since they are liable for a bad transaction, not the card company.

Posted by
4687 posts

I found that the only Andrews card without an annual fee seemed to have no "points" rewards. So I went with SDFCU instead. (Fact check?) I've since paid an inactive account fee at Andrews, which seems kind of consumer-unfriendly. Yes, the account is inactive.

Another factor to consider is whether paying the card bill requires a paper check. For several years, even the Bank of America Billpay product required two extra days to mail a check to SDFCU. This year, without any intervention from me, it became a normal ACH transaction the next day if done before 5PM.

Edit: While this thread is mainly about PIN operations, I want to mention that my SDFCU card was nominally, "No Foreign Transaction Fees" (which is a "regulated" credit card marketing statement .... ), but a few years later (2017, I think) they started itemizing and charging me a 1% VISA Network Fee. My point isn't whether SDFCU or evil VISA gets the money - the point is that there are either ZERO fees for use abroad, or there is a 1% fee for use abroad. That is a major factor in selecting a Chip and PIN credit card.

Posted by
4686 posts

I had an Andrews FCU Visa for a while and used it only once a year - when I traveled. I never got hit with an "inactive account fee," but if I had, I'd call and ask them to remove it, then just cancel the card if I wasn't planning to use it again soon.

The Andrews FCU Visa was fine, but I used it only at machines when my chip and signature cards would not work. So I didn't care about the rewards. I've since gotten another chip and PIN credit card, so I didn't need the Andrews card anymore.

Posted by
2811 posts

4cdlange, I've had an Andrews card for about 5 years, and I've managed to use the PIN at unattended gas stations (which is basically why I got the card), metro/tram station machines, and SNCF train station machines, all in France. I don't think it's ever failed to work with a PIN at those places; that's occurred at automated toll booths, but that's a different issue. On the other hand, as you note, everywhere else a signature is required.

Posted by
6795 posts

Like Robert, we've used our Andrews pin at gas stations, in metro ticket machines, and museum ticket machines with no problem over the years. We have an French easy pass for the autoroutes, the Liber-T.

Posted by
4686 posts

Just about anyone should be able to join Andrews Federal Credit Union (no relation!) so you can get the visa - at worst by joining the American Consumer Concil (ACC) for a one-time $5 fee. Credit unions usually have some requirement to join (you need an affiliation of some sort) but it's easy to join the ACC - I did it before it cost anything. I have never been to an Andrews branch - no need to, the nearest one is in Maryland anyway.

A bonus of joining the Andrews FCU is that you can also open a savings account and get an ATM card for travel use (no fee for use overseas, 0% currency conversion fee). Transfer some travel funds to your Andrews savings account, use that as your primary ATM card while traveling, use your regular one as a backup only. No need to risk using your usual bank account ATM while traveling.

Posted by
1005 posts

I've also used the Andrews card for about five years and it has been a life-saver in Europe. I also had a Bank of America card with a chip, but it often would not function in France at ticket machines, parking lot machines, or automated gas pumps. Thank God I had the Andrews card as a backup. As other posters have noted, in America or if it's a live transaction with a cashier, the card will default to signature first.

Someday soon I hope the US will go completely to PINs for verification and drop the signature option.

Posted by
1 posts

My USAA chip and signature VISA card works fine - signature first priority, pin only when it’s the only option. What I don’t like is the magnetic strip. I avoid merchants who won’t use the chip and don’t want the mag strip on my card.