Please sign in to post.

credit card with chip

Is it necessary to travel with a credit card that has the chip in it? Or can I just use what I have and alert credit card company that we will be traveling to Italy? Thanks!!

Posted by
3580 posts

So far, I haven't had a chip card, but think one would be helpful. You should be fine with a regular card (for the time being, anyway). I'm looking into getting a Bank of America travel card that has a chip.

Posted by
507 posts

Tbrenk,

You definitely want to inform your bank of your travel plans whether you have a chip card or just a signature card. If the bank is is unaware of your travel plans, you take the risk your bank will freeze the use of your credit card when it is used somewhere other than your home country. This will cause some embarrassment on your part as well as needing to make a call back home to the bank to explain you are overseas.

The chip 'n signature card gives more security than a signature-only card does. You find it used more in Europe while the USA is just changing over. I am aware that Bank of America issues chip cards.

Enjoy your trip.
Ciao!

Posted by
2975 posts

There is a difference between a chip and pin card and a chip and signature card.

If you are looking to get a card just for travel, I'd consider making sure it was a true chip and pin card.

If you scout these forums you will find that most people do not have great difficulties with a traditional American Credit Card in Europe except for
1. Sometimes cash is King and no credit cards accepted
2. Self-service kiosks or ticket booths need chip and pin. Usually there is a service counter nearby with a person who can help you.

Posted by
507 posts

Tbrenk73,

I did not mention a chip'n pin card. I have the Travel Card from Bank of America. BoA did not automatically mail a Personal Identification Number to me. I needed to request it after my card arrived, and it was sent in the mail.

NOTE Should you use a chip'n pin credit card in an ATM or anywhere to withdraw money from your account, you will incur a hefty fee as your bank counts the withdrawal as a cash advance. (Check with your issuing financial institution for more information.)

Posted by
20686 posts

The chip and pin is common in Europe not the chip and signature. As long as there is a human handling the card your standard mag strip card will be OK. In stand along operations - unmanned gas stations, ticket stations, etc., the mag strip card is not accepted. The Netherlands is nearly total chip and pin so just use cash. We use cash about 98% of the time so a chip and pin is not critical for us.

Posted by
5352 posts

And by October 2015 American credit cards will all probably be chip and pin.

Posted by
324 posts

12/2014
Very frustrated in Amsterdam. I found that none of the chip reader machines would recognize my chip debit card. I called Chase. They had no explanation. Be aware that some places will ONLY accept PIN cards, so cash is out too.

Posted by
11613 posts

I have never had a problem with the old mag strip card but I haven't bought gas or kiosk items except for train tickets where the machine takes cash.

Posted by
3449 posts

Credit cards and debit cards may be treated differently in Europe. Your foreign debit card may not be recognized in many places. The quicker and usually cheaper solution is to use the debit card in a bank ATM to withdraw a substantial amount of currency and then use that cash for most purchases. However old-fashioned, cash is very convenient.

Posted by
4694 posts

Having been to Italy this year, I'd answer the OP that hotels and restaurants in Italy will be happy to take your swipe card, as long as they take credit cards in general. You will be unable to use unattended transportation ticket machines and unattended gas stations. The answer is different in the Netherlands, where you are not going - they now deprecate swipe cards, although hotels accept them, perhaps as a necessity of doing business.

Although I agree with most of the advice here, I'd add the following notice I got from Chase this month (they administer the AARP Visa Card ... ) This announcement should not be applied to anyone who hasn't received a similar message.

**Travel notifications no longer required*

Your Account Ending in xxxx

Dear Firstname MI Lastname:

As part of our continuous efforts to improve your experience with your AARP card, we've made an update to your account.
In the past, you may have notified us of your travel plans to ensure uninterrupted service while traveling. Because we value your business and your use of this card, you no longer need to provide us with your travel information.

Our fraud detection systems will continue to protect and monitor your account, and we may still decline charges that appear fraudulent.

Your account satisfaction and security is our priority. Should you need us while traveling, call the number on the back of your card anytime. Thank you for choosing Chase.

Sincerely,
Chase Card Services*

Posted by
10 posts

A clarification please. My Amex cards have the chip. Do I need a PIN to use them as credit cards or only for cash advances?

Posted by
20686 posts

Some how that doesn't increase my sense of security. I liked the idea of notifying the cc company when I was traveling in Europe. I would be concerned that their fraud detection system might decide that it is suspicious activity if I used the card in the US and twelve hours later in Paris. Since I am not carrying a cell phone, who are they going to call?

Posted by
4694 posts

Well, Frank, I don't carry a cell phone either. More than once, I've checked my email in Europe and found a phone message at my home number, reporting that my account was frozen. I usually call them from abroad using Skype, and get things sorted out.

Your sentiments are fair, but the fact is that U.S. credit card companies have buried their heads in the sand for years because they didn't dare force the merchants to buy new POS terminals, while fraud soared with U.S. cards, and went down with Chip-and-PIN cards overseas. I don't know if Chase made this change so save themselves money, or because they found a better way to look for fraudulent charges.

I had a recent breach (probably due to the Home Depot POS invasion) where they called me at home to say that two suspicious charges had been made at a Walmart 70 miles away, that I've never been to. They were indeed fraudulent. Since it was not an online purchase, it must have been a card manufactured from my data at Home Depot. Good practices on my part had no way to defeat that breach. Once a Chip-and-PIN card HAS to be inserted in the U.S., that particular theft technique is useless.

Posted by
4833 posts

In reply to baumerandy, your American Express is likely a Chip and signature card, meaning you can use it in chip reader style units, but you will be asked for a signature as opposed to being prompted to enter a PIN. You may actually have a PIN, but that may only work for cash advances at an ATM. I would check with your card issuer for details.

As for having even just a chip and signature card, I did find transactions easier over my mag strip only cards. A few places they looked at the card like something was wrong, at one a young clerk was not sure how to process it....but in all cases the mag strip card was accepted.

Posted by
31029 posts

"In the past, you may have notified us of your travel plans to ensure uninterrupted service while traveling. Because we value your business and your use of this card, you no longer need to provide us with your travel information."

I went through my usual procedure of notifying all my card issuers prior to my trip this year, and found a slight change from previous years. This time they fell into three categories....

  1. Those that still wanted to be notified and also wanted my travel dates and which countries I'd be visiting.
  2. Those that now provide an automated function on their "robot telephone systems" to notify of travel.
  3. Those that no longer need to be notified.

Sometimes being diligent and notifying the financial institutions isn't enough. On one trip a few years ago, there was a "technical issue" with my primary ATM card. I tried it in different banks and different times of the day with no success. After a few days of this, I received a call from my credit union to ask what the problem was. If they hadn't been able to reach me, they would have "frozen" ATM withdrawals, which would have affected my backup card as well. That was a 3:00 am call I didn't mind taking, and one reason I like to travel with a cell phone!

" I found that none of the chip reader machines would recognize my chip debit card. I called Chase. They had no explanation."

Is your chip card a true "Chip & PIN" or rather a Chip & Signature? That may explain why it didn't work in Amsterdam. I've never had a problem there with my cards, so not sure why yours wouldn't work? The Netherlands seems to be further along on the Chip & PIN conversion than other countries in Europe, and I found that even the staffed ticket desks at Amsterdam Central would ONLY accept C&P cards.

Posted by
4505 posts

And by October 2015 American credit cards will all probably be chip and pin.

Incorrect. The US is mostly moving towards chip & signature, not chip & PIN. There is a difference in the validation protocol that can affect some transactions elsewhere in the world.

This issue is still very confusing to even veteran posters here. A refresher:

Cards with chips are validated either with a signature, a PIN or sometimes a prioritized combination of both. Europe almost exclusively uses chip & PIN. Many machines though, when dealing with a chip & signature card, will spit out a receipt for your signature. In some cases, US cards will use a PIN as a backup if there is no attendant. And sometimes the chip & signature only card will work in unattended machines even without a PIN (that depends on variables out of your control).

A old style magnetic card will still mostly work with attended transactions in Europe. The Netherlands is a oft-reported exception. But you will often need to tell the attendant that the card is "no-chip" so they can process it as a magnetic strip card.

Debit cards often will not work in Europe with point-of-sale transactions, no matter if chipped or not.

Debit and ATM cards all work just fine in ATM cash machines.

Posted by
8906 posts

@Douglas

Debit cards often will not work in Europe with point-of-sale
transactions, no matter if chipped or not.

False. I use my magnetic strip debit card for 90% of my purchases in Europe in both Paypass and swipe modes. Never been refused by any merchant that accepts MasterCard.

Posted by
2239 posts

tbrenk, to answer your first question, it all depends. One could go through their trip start to finish without the need or desire for a chip and pin card, it happens all the time. However, and I just posted on this in the France Forum earlier today, when we arrived at Marseille and took the shuttle to Vitrolles station for a train, the ticket office was not staffed-at 11 a.m Saturday morning. The only way to purchase a ticket was with a chip and pin card, which I had. I did a young American couple a favor too and bought two for them, in exchange for their cash.

We had just arrived after an all night flight from the west coast, and we had probably 150 euros with us, but a c & p was the only option; glad I had it. So...it all depends.

Posted by
8906 posts

@George in Ottawa

I have never had any luck, nor do I know of anyone who has had any
luck using their North American ATM card in Europe (several countries)
for transactions OTHER than cash withdrawals

There is a difference between ATM cards and Debit cards. ATM cards are for the exclusive use of the ATM machines; hence the name. Debit cards have either the MC or Visa logo on them and can be used at any most merhcant that accepts credit cards.

Posted by
4505 posts

@Michael - I don't doubt that you can use your debit card, but many people, including some in this thread, report that their debit cards WON'T work in Europe. It appears to be based on bank settings. And I think most of us know the difference between a debit and ATM card. So my original statement was accurate, that debit cards "often" won't work.

Posted by
8906 posts

@Douglas
From the Mastercard site:
"Debit MasterCard (standard) is accepted at millions of merchant locations worldwide, including restaurants, hotels, and online retailers"

From the Visa site:
"You can use your Visa Debit card at millions of places worldwide that accept Visa debit cards. They include restaurants (including fast-food and quick-service restaurants), retail stores, grocery stores, dry cleaners, movie theaters, drug stores/pharmacies, gas/service stations and doctors' offices. You can also make purchases online, by mail or over the phone. And you can even pay your bills with your Visa Debit card. When you're traveling, use your Visa Debit card to make purchases — even larger ones, like airline tickets."

Posted by
31029 posts

I've never been able to use my Credit Union Debit / ATM card for POS transactions in Europe. It doesn't even work in the U.S., but it's fine for ATM withdrawals anywhere.

Posted by
10 posts

We have a Chase Chip/Signature card that works fine in attended European card readers printing out a slip for your signature and providing a receipt just like home. It has not worked in unattended ticket, fuel stations, etc.

For a true Chip/PIN card we have an Andrews Fed. Credit Union Global Visa. It may require a signature in most but not all attended locations; in some attended locations the pin is required. It also works in unattended fuel stations, ticket machines, etc. by using the pin. It is a life-saver especially when driving and in an area where most fueling stations are unattended; evenings and Sundays. Have used the pin feature in Spain, France, Denmark, UK, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia.

Posted by
507 posts

My BoA Travel Card is a chip'n signature card. I made a call to Bank of America, requested a PIN which was sent under separate cover.

My point: Banks may not automatically assign a PIN to a credit card. If you have a chip'n signature card, ask the issuing financial institution to assign a PIN to the card. It should send one.

Posted by
9363 posts

Receiving a PIN number for a chip and signature card does not make it a chip and PIN card. It is unlikely that it will work the same way a chip and PIN card would, particularly in applications like unmanned gas stations.

Posted by
4505 posts

^^^ It depends Nancy. If the issuing bank allows a PIN as a secondary validation, it probably will work. If the validation is ONLY by signature, then it probably won't work (although even in this case sometimes it will if the bank automatically approves transactions under $50 as many do). Sometimes the PIN provided is only for use in cash advances at an ATM machine (which can still be an important, though expensive backup).

A lot of people seem to think that there are two physical types of chip cards: one for signature and one for PIN. There aren't. EMV or "chip" cards work on essentially the same technology. The difference is the validation protocol established by the card issuer.

Just like the debit card issue, each person needs to find out from their own card issuer what the policies are. Easier said than done as many customer service reps probably have no idea and may even give out faulty info. Probably better to read up on it instead.

Posted by
31029 posts

Douglas,

"Incorrect. The US is mostly moving towards chip & signature, not chip & PIN. There is a difference in the validation protocol that can affect some transactions elsewhere in the world."

Unbelievable!!! Why would they not adopt the same EMV standard that's in use everywhere else in the world, including here in Canada? In adopting Chip cards of any type, does that not mean that the POS terminals will have to be changed anyway?

Posted by
4833 posts

Unbelievable!!! Why would they not adopt the same EMV standard that's in use everywhere else in the world, including here in Canada? In adopting Chip cards of any type, does that not mean that the POS terminals will have to be changed anyway?

In my opinion, it is because the issue really is not POS terminals. Yes, merchants would need new terminals, but my observation is those get changed out frequently anyway, and most being changed out now have chip readers.

I suspect that the bigger issue is changes to the systems of the big card issuers, who would then have to validate the PIN. Lets face it, a signature really is no validation, so the current system is just read the card, if it goes through, great, it may not even be checking the details of the card, just that it is a valid existing card, no secondary validation is done. Adding a second validation, unique to the card, takes a bit more doing.

Posted by
31029 posts

Paul,

Thanks for clarification. And here I thought that U.S. card issuers were finally going to "get with the program".

Posted by
4505 posts

The reason given for US banks to change to a chip & signature system rather than chip & PIN is that the banks believe that making Americans learn to use a PIN for transactions would be too confusing. They are afraid people will be confused with EMV embedded cards as it is. I make no claims as to whether this is a valid concern or not, but it is the main reason given in various media reports.

The card readers will be changed and will work with either signature or PIN validation. So that investment won't be wasted.

I would guess that most card issuers will soon have a PIN as a backup or secondary validation protocol.