Chip and Pin Again!

I am going to Paris in a couple weeks. My husband read yesterday that we may have problems with our credit cards. I thought it was only parking garages and metro tickets. Has anyone had a problem using their cards for anything else in Paris?

Posted by Darcy
Lewiston, Idaho, USA
1201 posts

Judy, my newest card is a chip & signature card but I've never had problems even with my earlier cards. But then, I only use my cc to pay hotel bills (if they take cc) and use my debit card to get cash. I have always found that cash is best in most circumstances and actually would prefer not to have my cc (and especially my debit card) number "out there". My only concern for our next trip is buying petrol on a Sunday when an unmanned station might not accept a a chip & signature card so we'll just plan ahead to have "extra" cash.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6699 posts

One area where we encountered chip and pin was the toll booths on the highways. All credit card only lanes appear to be chip and pin. We had to back out of one to the displeasure of lots of drivers behind us. You can go to the staffed booth which is usually on the far right. The best solution here is to carry at least 25Euro in bills and change. There are booths that will accept the cash. Secondly, the fueling stations should you rent a car. You can easily get gas or diesel at the fueling stations but the automatic pumps are chip and pin. You can go inside and the clerk will have a device that will accept the U.S. "swipe" cards.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1965 posts

No problem with anything else, just metro tickets, parking, and some gas stations. There is always a way around using an automatic machine in a large city like Paris. It's a different story in some rural areas, but In Paris there is always a solution. We are in Paris for at least one week every year. We do have a chip and pin card because we spend a lot of time in the countryside.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Judy, If you're planning on travelling via RER from CDG into Paris, the automated ticket Kiosks at the airport ONLY accept "Chip & PIN" credit cards and Euro coins. Unless you have cash, you'll have to queue at the ticket office (which could take awhile). The Paris By Train website has good information on the transportation options from the airport. Happy travels!

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7188 posts

No problem in Spain in April. I normally use cash except for hotels and gas (rental car paid by card from US). The metro ticket machines in both Madrid and Barcelona required chip and pin cards but also took cash in smaller bills (signs said 20 was the limit, but many wouldn't take anything larger than a ten).

Posted by Ann
Delray Beach, FL
25 posts

As posted elsewhere re this subject, Bank of America's "new" travel reward Visa card has the chip/pin. Once you get your card and activate it, a pin will be sent separately.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7675 posts

I just spoke with a representative at Bank of America, and I was told that their new chip card is a chip and signature card, not chip and pin. The card, she says, does have an associated pin number, but it is for the purpose of making ATM withdrawals (same as the pin number that mag stripe cards have), not purchases. It will not work in true chip and pin applications, such as unmanned gas stations and ticket kiosks.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1584 posts

That should be pointed out to the people posting on the "chip and PIN" discussion in "to the West." Someone there thinks his Bank Americard Travel Rewards Visa signature card is chip and PIN and he may be disappointed when he tries to use it where chip and PIN is required.

Posted by Robert
Portland
629 posts

Seeing Sasha's reply brings up another issue again that I'm not sure has been successfully answered before, although I recall some discussion: will a chip and signature card work in some, all, or no unattended machines (primarily train stations and gas stations)? Who has actual experience with that? I recently got a BOA chip and signature card as a backup to my Andrews Chip and PIN card. My understanding is that a chip and signature card may/will work in many unattended machines; that instead of asking for a PIN it may just process the charge, or that something like 0000 will work. Anyone know for sure based on experience? I just saw a link in another post that gives an answer in general terms (http://www.cardhub.com/edu/chip-and-pin-vs-chip-and-signature/), but I'm wondering if anyone has managed to use a card they knew was a chip and signature card in an unattended machine in Europe.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1584 posts

Good question! It would be nice if someone would report back on their experience. Actually on the "to the West" thread someone reported success with their Chase British airways card in France, I believe at gas stations or ticket machines where it should make a difference. She said the card is true chip and PIN, but my card of that type is chip and signature. So if it worked in the machines, either (a) it really is ship and PIN, which goes against everything we have heard about US visa cards issued by Chase and other big banks; or (b) a chip and signature card will work in those situations as well as chip and PIN. I'd like to get this figured out so I know whether to go out and get one of the "true" chip and PIN cards before going to France. (Have also heard that some stores in Germany reject cards that don't have chip and PIN).

Posted by Judy
Grass Valley, California
111 posts

Well I can report back in a few weeks the troubles that we have had using a regular credit card in France. BofA offered to try and get us a chip and I think signature card when we were in the bank last week. But we are not driving and I think we can just pay cash for the metro. I did read that it will be 2015 before the US has real Chip and Pin. No one may really beable to write in about this because I got the impression that even this chip and signiture is very very new.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2891 posts

Robert and Sasha, On flyertalk on the credit card board, there are several long threads (500+ posts) about chip and pin / chip and signature. On some of those posts, people have reported successes or failures related to their chip and signature card. Unfortunately, weeding though all those posts is not particularly easy. I do recall seeing a post that "chip and signature" card worked in Paris metro kiosk.

Posted by T.
Seattle, WA, US
154 posts

To answer Robert's question, I used a Bank of America chip-and-signature card in Belgium and the Netherlands in September and it worked in automated machines. It did not spit out a receipt, the machines wanted my PIN. When I talked to VISA about this chip-and-signature card, they told me it will work in the Paris Metro system. The Flyertalk forum has lots of information about where these cards workand where they don't. Remember that sometimes only that country's card will work in an automated machineeven other European cards with chip-and-PIN won't work. I agree with Rick that they are not worth worrying about UNLESS you rent a car in France or the Low Countriesit can be hard to get gas at unattended gas stations unless you have a card with a chip (I know from experience).

Posted by Margo
Boca Raton, Fl, US
1 posts

I just spent from Oct to Feb in all of Europe and transportation places, trains,buses would not read the chip and signiture credit cards. I was happy to have a Canadian credit card.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
398 posts

Has anyone used the Cash Passport from Travelex? I thought I'd just put the minimum ($250) on one to have available for subway machines and perhaps some of the bicycles. I know I will pay a premium for Euros but the convenience is worth it to me.

Posted by Judy
Grass Valley, California
111 posts

After spending our holiday in Paris, which was spectacular, everyone should try the holidays in Paris. We just used our regular credit card and did not even try at the Metro stations. When we came back we were talking to our Bank and they talked us into a chip and signature card, so we got it. The only great thing about it is, it is a no fee card, so we don't have to pay that 3% on top of the exhange rate. It think the chip and signature is all that is available for now.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7969 posts

Somebody drug this thread out of the dust bin. Anecdotes can go on forever. Here's the scoop: 1. You can get by on just a mag stripe and cash just fine. 2. A chip and signature won't work as a chip and pin because . . . . it ain't got no pin. 3. Scads of us have chip and pins. 4. Some cards are a dual: stripe/signature and chip/pin. A preloaded anything doesn't make much sense. Travelex and similar screw you coming and going. Letting somebody hold your money and make interest on it while they're already screwing you is nuts. Unless you're a charging maniac, the difference between an ftf and the atm exchange rate is inconsequential.

Posted by Irv
Beverly Hills, MI
369 posts

My experience has been that a chip and signature card is a waste of time. Every time I encountered a situation that required a chip and pin card, the chip and signature card DID NOT WORK, it is just as useful as a magnetic stripe card. This included train stations in Amsterdam and Paris, an underground parking garage in Brugge and a gas station in France. Most places will take a magnetic stripe card but when you need a chip and pin at an unattended location, there is no substitute. Most places do have one machine that will take take currency but you have to find it and in the case of a 3000 car parking lot finding it can be a long walk in the rain.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
398 posts

Anyone have experience with the Travelex Cash Passport? Don't really need opinions - just wondering how well it works, any issues with the company, etc. I read that the bicycles available in many cities can only be used with a chip & pin card. I really do not want nor need another credit card so this seems like a good compromise for the things which REQUIRE a chip & pin. Thanks.

Posted by Judy
Grass Valley, California
111 posts

Seriously, right now you don't need a chip and pin. Just get some cash from the ATM, you are not talking a lot of money with things like the metro, garages. We did just fine with a bit of cash for that stuff and the regular credit card. The only reason I went for that chip and signature was because it had 0 fee's. I am sure the day will come that this will be a big problem if the US doesn't get a chip and pin. It is very easy to get money now in Europe. We take two separate credit cards and a debit card and some cash and no problems at all. Fortunately or unfortunately Europe is not all that foreign anymore.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2375 posts

Christi - While I have not used a Travelex Cash Passport, you are right in thinking it can be a substitute. My understanding is that it uses chip & PIN and will work for automated machines. Hopefully someone here has used it and will confirm. Travelex is a reputable company and you'll find offices and cash machines in the UK. They do charge a 10% premium over the interbank exchange rate, but that is about the same rate as buying currency in the U.S., which many people do.

Posted by Robert
Portland
629 posts

I got an Andrews chip and PIN a year ago before a trip to France, and it came in handy, but it's rarely essential. It was useful for gas, as more and more gas stations are unattended, and it speeded things up on the Metro. Also, a couple of times I used it when I went to charge something and they said they didn't have a swipe machine. I suspect that the machine may have had a place to swipe but they didn't realize it. In any event, I now have it, and there's no annual fee and no FTF.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2891 posts

Christi, There was a long posting on tripadvisor a while back with experiences on Travelex card; the poster experienced some issues. Here is the post from TA I'm sure if you search on TA, you will find more reports of experiences with the card.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
398 posts

Thanks for the replies. We were hoping to use the Velib bikes in Paris & I know you need a chip & pin to set up at the kiosk.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7969 posts

All might not be lost. Those bikes used to take AmEx, but the relationship may have changed.

Posted by Eric
Dana Point
101 posts

I have used the Travelex Chip and Pin card, and it worked fine the couple of times I used it, once at a retail store for an "emergency" curling iron purchase in Belgium (don't ask, the incident still raises hackles in the family!), and also at Amsterdam Centraal to buy train tickets from a kiosk.