I used mostly debit cards on first Northern European trip two years ago with no problem. I have added a couple of credit cards without chips for my Italy trip this month.. Will I have trouble using them? If so what should I tell the bank to correct this? Thanks
Don't worry about it. All ATMs will accept magnetic strip cards. Most all merchants that deal with tourists on a regular basis will also accept them. The only problem you may encounter is with train tickets machines or gas pumps. Sometimes they are setup for chip cards only. Just be sure to inform you banks that you will be traveling overseas so they don't block them.
Doug, When I was in Italy in June, I noticed that the Kiosks for train tickets would accept both types of credit cards. I use "Chip & PIN" cards exclusively and the machine operated just like they do at home, requiring a PIN to complete the transaction. However, I assisted some travellers from the U.S. who were using the older Magnetic Stripe cards, and the machine also worked with those, although it didn't ask for a PIN. As the others have said, in stores and restaurants with staff either type should work. Happy travels!
The only places in Europe that I have found to never take magnetic strip cards are grocery stores. Smaller gas stations usually don't take them, unless they have a night-time self-service pump, but larger chain gas stations often take both. Most other places accept both unless you are really off the beaten tourist track. Taking a chip card will make your life easier without worrying about whether places take the magnetic strip or not. I was told many times over the summer that my magnetic card was old-fashioned!
The trouble with "never" is that it is seldom correct. We were all over Tuscany this past May with standard mag strip cards credit cards and had no problem in grocery stores - big and small - or gas station with attendants. PS. Most banks are not issuing chip and pin so there is nothing you can tell the bank to correct. We are headed back in Oct without no chip and pin cards and do not expect any problems. However, we do tend to use mostly cash so our credit card usage is not high.
I did notice that some merchants had to manually keypunch my account numbers to get them to work. It's no big deal.
We use mostly cash in Europe but this past July we unexpectedly had 12 hrs. to spend in Amsterdam due to mechanical problems on our flight from Mpls which caused us to miss connecting flight. Rather than sit at Schipol all day we took a train into Amsterdam and saw the sights. I was going to use my Cap. 1 m.c. for the train tkts at the ticket counter and the lady said I needed a pin so would not work. So paid cash. Was the first time ever in many trips to Europe including Poland that I needed a pin with my Cap. 1.
@Janet, The Netherlands seem to be much further along on the conversion process than many other countries. I also found that they would ONLY accept C & P cards at Amsterdam Central, and they had large signs stating that on each ticket window. Those travelling with older cards must use cash.
Thanks everyone for your input. I am always amazed on how much information is available on this helpline.