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U.S. Credit/Debit Cards

On NPR this morning it was reported that they use imbedded chips in their credit/debit cards and many of their transactions don't use credit/debit cards with a magnetic strip. I am going to Paris in March and I have always used my debit cards at the ATM machines to get cash. Will I still be able to do so? Thank-you, Janice

Posted by
8293 posts

Yes, the (old-fashioned) U.S. debit cards will work in ATM machines, but are unlikely to in metro ticket machines and such.

Posted by
2081 posts


You shouldnt have any issues.

However, when it comes to purchasing using your CC overthere, ASK first. So far ive never had an issue, but i havent been to every store either. If they accept your CC, they will just print out the receipts as they do here. They may ask for you ID too.

Also, when it comes to ATMs, you may come across one that WONT accept or work with your CC card. Dont worry, just make note of the bank/owner and use a different one.

happy trails.

Posted by
33 posts

I used the CC with chip embedded from Bank of America as "the travel CC in Europe". Your problem will happen IF you don't tell your bank that you'll be using your stateside CC in Europe, the bank "could freeze" your credit card account thinking it is been stolen, then the card won't work, bank is sending you emails to connect them... phone calls to your bank from Paris ($$$) to fix the problem...ahhh, get the picture! DON'T leave without connecting your bank as to the "vacation plans" too Paris or you might find yourself without $$$ funds.

Posted by
9109 posts

Don't stress about it. All ATMs accept magnetic strip cards, and any merchant that deals with tourists on a regular basis will have the harware to read our old-fashioned magnetic strip cards. The only problems you will encounter are ticket machines at metro/train stations.

Posted by
5 posts

Just this week I called my credit card company (Citi) and they had no problem issuing me new cards with the chip for European travel. I received them in the mail the next day.

Posted by
9 posts

Yes, please call your credit card company to request a chip and pin. It's safer anyway so switch over. I've done two of my cards and they did it for free (Mastercard/Amex). It's safer because you have to use a pin for the card. The good thing is that your card will still have a magnetic strip that you can use in addition to the chip/pin. If you do it now you will still have time. It only took about a week and a half after I called for the cards to arrive.

Posted by
9110 posts

Take all this earnest discussion with a bit of salt.

I spend a couple or three months in Europe a year. One of my cards is both stripe and c&p, but it's the one least used - - well less than five percent of the time. In all the times I've used it, it was purely for convenience since there's always been a work-around.

Getting all cards switched to c&p only will probably impose domestic use limitations.

Posted by
5 posts

The magnetic stripe card also won't work at some gasoline pump and on toll roads. And most banks in the US only issue chip and sign cards, not true chip and PIN cards. Those also won't work at the same places that magnetic stripe cards won't work. But French merchants will be more comfortable with them. Just tell them when you hand them the card that you want to sign.

There are two places in the US to get true chip and PIN cards: USAA and Andrews Air Force Base Credit union. But neither is easy to obtain. Start early.