Got my new Wells Fargo Credit Card today and while activating it on line, noticed that it can be used not only as chip and signature but also as chip and pin. Speaking to a customer service rep, I learned that you must request a PIN from them and one will be mailed to you. BUT - they charge a 3% transaction fee on foreign purchases. I'll carry it only for super emergencies when my other cards without an FX fee don't work.
I used my Wells Fargo Chip and Pin card on a recent trip to London and Paris with zero difficulty, however, due to the 3% transaction fee you noted, I only used it when I could not use one of my fee free signature cards. It sure was nice for when I absolutely had to use an automated machine for transport tickets. I was very glad to have it for those situations.
My Wells Fargo signature credit card has always had a 3% fee for POS purchases, so I don't think the 3% fee has anything to do with it being a chip card. A lot of banks have not been charging FX fees on credit card purchases in Europe because they got something like 4% from the merchant, but I expect the new EU regulation limiting merchant fee to 3/10% to change that real soon.
Except for our CapitalOne MC, all of our other credit cards over the years - Citi, Chase, BofA, Wells, and the various offers for my college graduate kids that keep coming in the mail- have charged the 3% foreign transaction fee. Was even charged that fee when we just bought AerLingus tickets online at home (didn't use the CapOne because the card used had 5% on airfare that month).
The CapOne is the only one that has not charged this fee, and is the only one that travels with us.
"The CapOne is the only one that has not charged this fee, and is the only one that travels with us."
My Chase United Explorer card did not charge me any fees (currency exchange) for use in Germany a year ago.
In the past, credit cards had no currency exchange fees in Europe to encourage you to use them (since the card company got 4% from the merchant). Now, the EU has passed a law limiting the fee a card company can charge the merchant to 3/10%. I expect the no-fee cards to go away.
We discussed that EU change with our B and B owner while in Europe in April. His feeling was that it would be some time before this went into effect, if it actually does.
As for the Chase card cited, that is a card with an annual fee. The free cards are the ones that have the 3% fee (save, e.g., Cap One). One would need to spend close to $3,000 foreign per year to balance the fee, and this is without getting into the other restrictions on the card benefits.
There are lots of credit cards that do not charge any international transaction fee. 3% is about the highest I have heard of.
I have two cards with no foreign transaction fees: Capital One, and Barclay's. Both, also prove the option of some cash back to offset a bit of the expenses, 1.5% and 1%.
In this day and age I see to no reason to pay a foreign transaction fee.