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Using a credit card in Denmark and Sweden

Hello! I'm going on a trip to Denmark and Sweden next week and am confused about whether or not I need to get a PIN for my Capital One credit card in order to use it over there. I called Capital One and they are quite insistent that no, I do not need a PIN, and that the only PIN available is for cash advances, not purchases. They have assured me that my card will work without one. But I've seen on a few forums that Scandinavian countries often use a chip-and-PIN system and your card won't work without a PIN. Anyone have experience using this particular card in Scandinavia? And, if I need to get one, is the cash advance PIN the same PIN that you use for purchases?

Posted by
8889 posts

is the cash advance PIN the same PIN that you use for purchases?

Yes, a card has only one PIN. But don't get a cash advance unless you have no other options, as they charge you interest from the date of the withdrawal. Use your debit card (and its PIN) for cash from an ATM.

All cards issued in Europe (Debit and Credit) are chip and PIN. I can't remember when I last signed my name on a credit card chit. Whether a card will work without a PIN depends on a number of factors:
(A) Is the amount below the "no verification needed" limit?
(B) Is it an unmaned machine? - these may be chip and PIN only, as there is no way to sign.
(C) Does the person remember how to do a non-chip and PIN transaction (they went out with phones with dials on them)?

Posted by
859 posts

Yes, you can use your chip and signature card in Denmark and Sweden as long as there is a person there to process your card. You can use your card for very small purchases. If you are trying to buy train tickets at an unmanned machine, MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, is that you need a debit card with a PIN.
My credit cards would not work in Copenhagen or in Ystad to buy train tickets.
I have a Capital One 360 debit card that worked beautifully there. I think my bank ATM/debit card would have also worked.

Posted by
3457 posts

US credit card companies lie. They fail to answer questions with a world view and focus on the US view of things.

In the US, it is true that a PIN on a credit card is only used for cash advances. This is not true in the rest of the world. Ask for your PIN today. When they go into the spiel about cash advances just agree with them. It may show up in time for you to have it for your trip. It has been helpful to me in Europe to have a PIN on my Capital One card for use in train station kiosks and similar places. I have never been charged for a cash advance when I used my PIN for purchases. I never get an ATM cash advance with a credit card -- the fees are simply too high.

Posted by
1352 posts

Just returned from Norway and as noted above, didn't have issues using a credit card - some places wanted a signature, others not. As stated by Vanderbrud, the only place that asked for a pin was the automated train ticketing machines - luckily I could go into the office and purchase from a person.

Posted by
859 posts

In addition, I tried using my PIN number for my credit card at the train kiosk and it didn't work.