It has been a year since my last trip to Europe. I'm hearing that because Europe is converting/converted to credit cards with EMV chips, we Americans can have trouble using their chip less cards. Has anyone had recent experience, either good or bad? We are not able to get a a card with a chip from our bank, Wells Fargo. Have any of you found a card in the US with the chip? Thanks!
Not much has changed, you won't have many problems. Any merchant that deals with tourists on a regular basis has the hardware to read our magnetic strip cards. Some automatic ticket machines only accept chip&pin cards. Chase now offers a chip&pin card: http://www.chasecreditcards.com/jp-cards.asp
Joni, just an FYI but WF is doing a trial run with chip-and-PIN cards with 50,000 of their favorite business travelers. I tried to be one of their favorite travelers, too, but......no. There are 'chip-and-PIN pockets' - the ticket machines and ticket counters at (I believe) Amsterdam Centraal train station, for example, only accept c-&-PIN...you'd need to pay cash. Just always have a stash in your moneybelt...Keep your cash reserves topped up. As mentioned, Chase has one, and USAA is supposed to be looking into it...but for the most part, it's not a huge problem. Unless, of course, you've been standing in line for 45 minutes only to find out you now have to search for an ATM machine...and get back in line...I don't expect that things have changed that much since you were last there, though. You may have to remind them to 'swipe' your card.
There has been a lot of discussion on this topic here on the HelpLine, and based on some of the comments I've read it appears that some U.S. Banks are currently testing "chip & PIN" cards. Perhaps this is a start, and more Banks will get on-board with the new technology?
Just got back from France...No problem at all except when trying to buy gas when the station is unattended. Then you have to have the chip card. If there is an attendant they can run it for you. After hours people can still buy gas using the ATM machine at the station...everybody except us!
The Chase card has a $95 membership fee, after the first year.
For my trip next month, I looked into this and decided to get a prepaid debit card in Euros from travelex.com with enough Euros to see me through a minor emergency if the regular cards don't work. It is not, apparently, possible to reload online and despite "24/7" telephone support you may find yourself on hold for 25 minutes, as I did this morning.
Todays Sunday NY Times Travel Section has a good sized article on using plastic in Europe. It also discourages the use of pre-paid cash cards as being too expensive when compared to any other means of transaction business in Europe.
Have been in Europe a month now. Husband's card works perfectly and mine is sketchy.