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Credit card usage in Norway, Sweden

I've seen this question posted on other sites, but do you typically need a pin to use your credit cards at gas stations or hotels? Or is it that they just take chip cards? I've seen conflicting answers on this.

The past two times I've gone to Europe, I heard about this, but it turned out to be the case neither time (Spain, Austrian, Italy, Hungary and Paris on those journeys). It was just swipe or insert.

Posted by
23237 posts

But it is drifting more and more into the true chip and pin cards instead of the current US chip and signature and especially in northern Europe. If there is a live person taking your card they will know how to handle your US card. If it is an unmanned gas station, ticket, etc., you will need a true chip and pin card.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks Frank,

I was guessing the Scandinavian countries were getting more that way. I'll contact my card companies and see if they are set up for that. Winners get to go to Norway, Sweden and Finland with me.

Posted by
1478 posts

I recently returned from Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Everywhere that there is a clerk (store of some kind) chip and signature is fine. In Norway I tried to buy a Coke zero with a large bill and the clerk asked me to use a credit card instead. So, you can use a credit card for very small purchases. Even food stall vendors took and sometimes preferred credit cards. I bought local train tickets at the Copenhagen airport and in a small town in Sweden at kiosks. I could use cash in Copenhagen but in Sweden it was credit card only. My Capital One Visa chip and signature would not work. My Capital One 360 Debit Card with chip and pin did work. I assume my bank ATM Visa card would have worked as well.

I did open the 360 account because of what I have read on forums just for this reason. It is also nice to help with budgeting because whatever I bought with that card was already paid for when I got home.

Posted by
4509 posts

Thanks for CapitalOne advice, it never occurred to me that their chip/sig credit cards would not work on Sweden.

Posted by
255 posts

Currently in Scandanavia, our experience with paying with US chip & sign CCs is just as described by others who have posted recently on this subject. In Denmark, automated kiosks want a PIN (which we have), while live people eg waiters and clerks want a signature. Ditto for Norway and Sweden, except that in Sweden most people wanted to see picture ID eg drivers license to match name on CC. In Norway we are renting a car and gas pumps are just like kiosks in wanting PINs. We have used CCs for almost every purchase no matter how small, have not bothered with getting local currencies from ATMs. The only exception was in Denmark where my spouse wanted to buy one plum from a small corner store. They wouldn't take a CC for such a small purchase. One other note, one museum in Copenhagen ran the transaction with DCC without asking and one upscale restaurant tacked on a fee of just over 1% for "credit card fee charged by credit card company" which the waiter explained as a "tax on foreign credit cards". No other places did such things.

Posted by
500 posts

Just returned from here. Chip/signature almost everywhere. Otherwise, just slide it in and ... you're approved!

Posted by
94 posts

We are in Norway now and are having a difficult time buying gas without a chip AND pin. One attendant at an Aurland station said that he would use his credit card if we paid him in cash. He was worried about Americans running out of gas as it happens a lot. We declined the offer but now are thinking that we should have done so. Otherwise, we have had no problem using credit cards (without pin) everywhere for any amount.

Posted by
4509 posts

Kay: what about chip and PIN debit cards for Norwegian gas stations?

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks for the replies. I contacted my card companies and have/am getting my pins -- not the one for the ATM, as I specified, but to use in Scandinavian countries. So, hopefully, that will be settled. Since I am renting a car in Norway, but not Sweden, I am hoping to not have an issue with gas stations, finding them or using my card.

Posted by
94 posts

Tom...I'm not sure I understand your question about chip and pin credit cards at gas stations. Most of the newer gas stations require them. Sometimes you can go into the shop and ask them to reset the machine for use without a card. Then, you go inside and pay. We have found that some of the older gas stations, or gas stations that seem to be owned by oil companies, have not changed out their pumps and thus, will take a regular credit card. I hope that is the information you were seeking.

Posted by
4509 posts

Kay, I am talking about debit cards not credit cards. These always use a PIN and have a chip so they are OK?