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Chip and Pin credit cards

I recently received a new Visa card from Chase bank to replace my existing one. I did not ask for this change, but they said they are trying to transition everyone to the new "chip cards." The card does have a chip embedded in it but I'm not sure if this is the same as the "chip and pin" cards that are commonplace in Europe. The letter that came with the card makes no mention of needing to use a 4-digit pin with it. It just says that it can be used in Europe. But from what I know, the chip cards in Europe have to be used with a pin.

Just wanted to know if anyone has received such upgrades from their credit card companies and if so, whether or not there was any mention of needing to use a pin with it.

Posted by
15578 posts

I got a new Amex card with a chip. I assume it is simply a chip & signature.

Posted by
371 posts

I just recently got one too from our bank (just arrived, we didn't request it), mine is NOT a chip & pin card like we use in Europe - those will definitely come with a pin. I think the ones all the banks are sending out now are just chip & signature cards (as mentioned above). We had to specifically ask for a chip and pin card for European Travel when we got ours a few years ago - and it did arrive with a pin.

Posted by
11970 posts

Yesterday I received from my Hilton Honors membership a solicitation for Hilton Honors Visa Chip card. When I called Citi to inquire CitiCards told me that they have only Chip and Signature.

I think I give up on the US switching to Chip and PIN and rely on my Italian Chip and PIN through my Italian bank account.

Chip and Signature, that is becoming the norm in the US by the deadline of Oct. 1, 2015, are pretty much like having the traditional magnetic strip cards, so no improvement for usage at automatic kiosks in Europe.

They are pretty much a joke for fraud prevention too. Yes they are harder to clone than mag cards, but if they steal it from you, they can still use it for a while until they get canceled. With a PIN a stolen credit card would be worthless because the thief doesn't know the PIN and can't use it. But with a signature, everybody can forge it and rarely sales clerks ask you for ID when you pay with a credit card.

In my case they often do however because....

I don't EVER sign my credit cards in the back.
Rather I write in that little signature strip: REQUEST PHOTO I.D.

Posted by
75 posts

I received one of those from my credit union last month. I was not sent a pin, but called and requested one, stating that I wanted the pin so that I could use it as a chip and pin in Europe. I was able to set a pin for the card. I have not yet taken it to Italy (we are going in the Fall) and I do hope it works there when chip and pin are required. The credit union said it would.

Posted by
516 posts

Thanks everyone for your fast and helpful replies.

When I first researched the whole chip-and-pin issue a few years back, none of the US banks offered such a card. Then the chip-and-signature cards started coming out, which as we can all agree, are still useless in Europe. I too write "Please see I.D." in the signature space of my credit cards, so that helps with security here at home, but it doesn't stop a thief from using my card at automated machines such as gas stations and self-checkout stands at stores.

All credit cards come with a pin, even ages before they were embedded with chips. The purpose of that pin is so you can use it an an ATM for cash advances. Whether that same pin can be used in conjunction with your chip-and-signature card in Europe is a different issue. I'll be interested to hear what your experiences are, ksb1949.

Posted by
2046 posts

That Chase Visa card is not Chip-and-Pin, only Chip-and-signature. We too just received our replacement cards for this. Also, not terribly useful abroad as it has the 3% foreign transaction fee. This fee is not on the Capital One cards (as of yet), and Cap One has promised to roll out Chip-and-signature later this year. For those of you in Canada, Cap One does in fact issue Chip-and-Pin cards.

Posted by
230 posts

I just got two cards in the mail today, Discover (useless in Europe) and Capital One. Amex promised me one 2 years ago and I'm still waiting. I wonder if anyone has actually been successful in using these new cards yet. Can a chip and signature be made to work like a chip and pin?

Posted by
574 posts

Some US issuers will give a genuine chip-and-pin card. For example, USAA does. See https://content.usaa.com/mcontent/static_assets/om/Media/docs/126885.pdf

However, there is a catch. Two, really. First, the issuer can choose what order to apply the rules of whether the transaction requires a signature or a PIN. If the machine you are accessing is an unattended one, such as a ticket machine at a train station, the only option is PIN. However when the card is used at a staffed place such as a store or restaurant the issuer can configure it to request a signature. There goes the higher security. Worse, the US ones will have a mag stripe as well as the internal chip. So a thief can just tell the store to swipe it as if its an old-fashioned card. So you're protected against thefts at automated places where someone probably can't steal that much, but not in a store where you may end up "buying" a flat-screen TV or expensive clothing.

Posted by
123 posts

I recently got a Visa card with a chip on it from Bank of America. It does have a PIN, which I can use to check the balance in an ATM. Today I had some work done on my car, and I noticed that the garage got a European-style card reader like the ones in all the European restaurants. I inserted my card into the reader. It did NOT ask me for a PIN but it approved the transaction. I signed the receipt like I always do.

I'm in the process of switching to a credit union. They gave me a MasterCard without a chip and told me that the cards with the chips would start being issued in July. Unfortunately this is too late for my upcoming trip to the Low Countries. Of course I'm bringing both credit cards (plus two debit cards) on the trip. If the credit union cards don't work, I'll fall back to the B of A cards.

Posted by
4822 posts

From my experience, If you receive a chipped card and are not provided a PIN prior to activating or have to request a PIN, you do not have a Chip and Pin, most likely a Chip and Signature.

Even if you have a true Chip and Pin, it is likely that (with the exception of the USAA card where you can pick the CVM order) that a Signature is still primary, and the PIN secondary. That means just about anywhere in the US you will sign a slip, and even in Europe, you will still be prompted to sign, unless the terminal you are using insists on PIN as Primary.

On my Chip and PIN, In Berlin, I was asked for signature about half the time, PIN most of the rest, and in some cases, for low dollar amounts, no validation at all.

All that said, I have found that even a chip and signature is better than no chip, but mag strips are still accepted most places except kiosks and some POS terminals.

Posted by
4500 posts

There are lots of threads on this topic, but here is a quick summary:

Almost all US issued "chip" credit cards will use the signature for primary validation. A few may also issue a PIN (sometimes only on request) and that might work as a secondary validation in an unmanned kiosk. Otherwise a PIN will still only be for advanced withdrawls from an ATM (still a good idea to have that just in case of an emergency). Contrary to popular belief, these chip and signature cards are not "worthless" both for security and for European travels.

A chip and signature card will work just fine, even better in reality, than the current magnetic strip cards. While most card readers in Europe can still read a magnetic strip, many clerks don't know how to swipe it. So with a chip card, they can insert it they way they are used to. All you have to do is tell them "no PIN" and they just push a button to have the machine spit out a slip to sign.

For unmanned kiosks, a chip and signature card MIGHT work if the value is less than $50. Most US cards allow for non-validated purchases under $50 and so you may be able to insert your card and have it work. No guarantees for various reasons (both your card and the machine's verification system). But this is hit or miss and the only way to know is to try.

Chip and signature cards are also a big step to fighting fraud, especially the kind where new fake cards are made. This is a big money issue for the card issuers and a huge hassle for customers. For example, the skimming and hacking of card readers in the past few years (such as at Target), is largely done to get the info to make fake cards. It was cheap and easy for organized crime to do this. The new cards will make that nearly impossible, even without PINs.

Posted by
75 posts

Thank you for that summary, Douglas. It was very clear.

I am still curious as to whether anyone has used the chip/signature/pin cards issued in the USA at the train stations in Italy (I did read Douglas statement that it MIGHT work for transactions under $50, but wonder if anyone has actually found it to do so at train stations). It is my understanding that we will need to have a chip and pin, or cash, to purchase train tickets there. This is the primary reason I would be taking the chip/signature/pin card with me to Italy. I do also have a Capital One credit card, which I plan to use for most credit card transactions (since it carries no exchange fee) and I have a Charles Schwab Debit card (no foreign exchange fee and no ATM fees). But neither of those cards carries a chip. This is why I would like to find out from someone who has tried a chip/signature/pin card in train stations in Italy. Thank you.

Posted by
2002 posts

Yes, ksb, they do work! We arrived in Milan on the 16 May and purchased round trip tickets at a kiosk for Varenna. Took just a couple minutes without any problems at all.

Posted by
4689 posts

I have a couple of cards with chips in them, but only one is a chip and PIN (it's one of the "conditional" cards that uses the PIN only when no human being is involved in the transaction - e.g. at kiosks - signature otherwise). One card is definitely not a chip and PIN. In Croatia recently, I was still able to use it to pay tolls on the highways at automated kiosks by inserting it - no signature or PIN required. I think this is one case where the chip helped me. I'm not sure I would have been able to swipe an old-style magnetic strip card at one of these machines. I doubt it.

FYI, just because you can ask for and get a "PIN" for your credit card with a chip doesn't mean it is really "chip and PIN" - many cards have a PIN option for (expensive) cash withdrawal from an ATM using your credit card, but that PIN won't work for making purchases the way it would with a true chip and PIN card.

Posted by
516 posts

I agree with Andrew on this:

"FYI, just because you can ask for and get a "PIN" for your credit card with a chip doesn't mean it is really "chip and PIN" - many cards have a PIN option for (expensive) cash withdrawal from an ATM using your credit card, but that PIN won't work for making purchases the way it would with a true chip and PIN card."

I have a PIN for all my cards just in case I need to make a cash advance withdrawal at an ATM, but I'm quite sure this PIN won't work with the card in a "chip-and-pin" machine in Europe. If you call your credit card company and speak with a service rep regarding this I'm not so sure they know the difference either. They might tell you that yes, you have a chip-and-pin card simply because your card has a chip in it and you have a pin to use for ATM withdrawals.

Posted by
5461 posts

I was totally disgusted when I realized that my Chase Chip and Pin was not a Chip and Pin. I have sent an email voicing my total disgust with them and their inability to address customer needs. It won't do me much good, but I felt better afterwards.

So, my question is, why is the US going for this chip and sign when the entire world is on chip and pin? Were they sold a bill of goods by a supplier? The business have to get a new reader no matter what, so it's not that cost. I bet that they ran some focus group and the some idiots who never travel outside the US told them that go to Chip and Pin would just be way to painful. And besides, we're Amuricans and we want our own system. The world should follow US we don't follow THEM. But if that was the case, why not make the Pin optional for those who want to travel to Europe. I might even have been willing to pay a one time fee to make that happen.

Posted by
1406 posts

all US credit cards are being replaced/upgraded to chip and signature. My new Amex gold has a chip but they clearly state that it's chip and sig. I think this is a partial attempt to deal with CC problems in the US and has nothing to do with chip and PIN that travelers want in Europe.

You can google up lists of banks and credit unions that offer true chip and PIN, and if you want/need one you better apply NOW so you'll have it for your trip. I got one from Andrews FCU and was so excited to use it in the UK, Switzerland and France and each time it defaulted to signature. Wanted to use it in Paris at a metro ticket machine but ... it was broken!

Posted by
516 posts

Unfortunately for us travelers, I don't think travelers' needs and European norms are going to be the driving force for American credit card policy anytime soon.

Posted by
2046 posts

The curmudgeon in me wonders if we don't have chip-and-pin because those cards could not be used to obtain those lucrative for the banks cash advances from our current ATMs...

Posted by
5318 posts

My Schwab debit card was re-issued (on my request ) with a chip -- and it has a PIN for ATM withdrawals. But I believe they said it was still chip-and-signature for everything else.

Posted by
4689 posts

I have the Andrew's FCU card too. It's been great to use it at machines e.g. buying a train ticket at Amsterdam's airport with my PIN. I have other chip credit cards I use for almost everything else (better awards programs), and I don't mind signing with them instead of using a PIN.

My other credit union claims they will soon be replacing our current non-chip Visa credit cards with full chip-and-PIN Mastercards. Mastercard - really? I wonder how will MC is accepted vs. Visa in Europe these days...

Posted by
3263 posts

We have accounts at 2 credit unions. I don't know about MC credit cards because neither my husband nor I have one, but my go-to debit card is an MC from the credit union that has the highest withdrawal limit. I have used it at ATMs in over 10 countries so far with no problems. My memory could be faulty, but it seems like both MC and VISA signs are displayed together just about everywhere credit cards can be used.

Posted by
4500 posts

Answering some of the recent posts:

MasterCard is as widely accepted in Europe as Visa. It is Discover that is almost never accepted in Europe.

American card issuers are going with chip and signature cards for now as they seem to think Americans can't learn how to use both a chip card and PIN at the same time. Given my observations of customers ahead of me in line who don't seem to know how to use their old fashioned cards, I'm not surprised. There is a feeling in the industry that if people forgot their PINs, they won't use their card and merchants and card issuers would lose money. My understanding is that PINs will be coming in the next few years, once people have adapted to using the chipped cards. Some banks are issuing cards now with a PIN as a secondary validation, in the event of unmanned kiosks. But almost EVERY US card will still use the signature as the primary validation.

There is no difference in advanced cash withdrawls using a chip card or old fashioned card. You still need a PIN for that and every card either has a PIN or can be given one on request. It's just that this PIN may only work for cash advances and not for regular transactions.

Posted by
5461 posts

I actually heard back from Chase and executive calling had some suggestions and comments. She says that Visa and Mastercard are working with merchants to get the machines to accept swipe and sign cards and in fact, hope to have some of this in place by the middle of July. It will be interesting to see if this actually happens. She also suggested that whenever you are using a non-staffed machine that you try your card and see if you can hit cancel once it has read the card. We know that this is supposed to work with staffed situations, but she is suggesting that it might work elsewhere as well. That could be what will happen in mid-July!

I did ask why we went chip and sign when the rest of the world is chip and pin, and she really didn't know. Her comment was that sometimes we don't know the reasons and the chip and sign could be offering something better....If that is the case, I would hope that they would broadcast that to their customers!

So, points to Chase for getting back to me. I hope that we hear about improvements later in the summer.

Pam

Posted by
30971 posts

Pamela,

" Her comment was that sometimes we don't know the reasons and the chip and sign could be offering something better."

Offering something better? LOL!!! That customer service rep seems well meaning, but woefully misinformed.

Posted by
2229 posts

I got word today from Cap One that our Venture One cards would soon be replaced with chip cards (ooh ahh). They said: We’re serious about your security. That’s why you’ll be receiving a replacement VentureOne® card with our latest level of protection—chip technology., and...Welcome to Chip Technology: Your Next Level of Card Protection, and...Over the next year, you’ll see more merchants adopting chip‑enabled registers

Uh, yeah, they are so serious about my security that it's painfully obvious from their words that there is another level..oh well, baby steps.

Note: I have edited my reply due to a correction PM'd to me on a post before mine.
Dave

Posted by
574 posts

I did ask why we went chip and sign when the rest of the world is chip and pin, and she really didn't know. Her comment was that sometimes we don't know the reasons and the chip and sign could be offering something better

There is a discussion of this at http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/10/chip-pin-vs-chip-signature/ They say most card fraud in the US isn't via a stolen card, its via a stolen number that crooks then use to fabricate their own cards with a magnetic strip. This will be a lot harder with chip-based cards. As for "chip and sign could be offering something better", that's true too -- something better for the banks, that is. Its a race to the bottom. The average consumer has 3 cards with them. No bank wants to be the one that requires you to remember a PIN when the other 2 cards just require scrawling a signature.

The article also references a spreadsheet maintained by the forum Flyertalk that lists all chip credit cards and what order the rules are applied for signature & PIN.

Posted by
4500 posts

^^^ Thanks John. That link actually has an excellent summary of the main points about chip & PIN versus chip & sign. There is a lot of misinformation out there in general, and on this board about chip & sign. Many people here have repeatedly claimed that chip cards with signature validation are of no value or some sort of step backwards. It just isn't the case. I assume most people also don't realize the vast majority of CC fraud is from counterfeit cards, not stolen cards.

Everything I have read on the issue has stated that PINs will be coming in a few years. The article notes that until the transition is complete, all chip cards will have a magnetic strip and that also encodes the PIN. If stolen or hacked, criminals can use the PIN to create counterfeit cards and make ATM withdrawls. Once banks can eliminate the magnetic strip, they can more safely issue PINs. Note that many small retailers though will not install chip readers for years since their exposure to credit card fraud is smaller. Until they do, banks will need to issue cards that include the magnetic strip.

Also note this answer: The networks have actually done a good job over the last year to 18 months in pushing the [merchant banks] and terminal manufacturers to include “no cardholder verification method” as one of the options in the terminals. Which means that chip-and-signature cards are increasingly working. There was one issuer I spoke with that had issued chip-and-signature cards already for their traveling customers and they said that those moves by the networks and adjustments overseas meant that their chip-and-signature cards were working 98 percent of the time, even at the unattended kiosks, which were some of the things that were causing problems a lot of the time.

I'm not sure if the 98% claim is accurate, but it seems more kiosks in Europe may allow transactions with no PIN for chip & sign cards. Many already do for transactions under $50.

Posted by
300 posts

The magnetic strip doesn't/won't encode the PIN. Some Chip cards have the PIN embedded in the chip, but encrypted so it can't be extracted from a card.

Posted by
4500 posts

The magnetic strip doesn't/won't encode the PIN. Some Chip cards have the PIN embedded in the chip, but encrypted so it can't be extracted from a card.

I don't think that is true at all. Existing US credit cards have or can have PINs. It's just that they are only used for cash advances at ATMs. Chip cards all come with a magnetic strip, which will still be necessary for ATMs, gas station pump payment and those retailers that don't upgrade their card readers. So the magnetic strip will have the PIN encoded. It still won't work for validation with the magnetic strip except at ATMs. But that is exactly the concern of US banks - that a counterfeit card could still be made and used for cash withdrawls at an ATM.

You are correct that when using the chip, the data is encrypted - and also dynamic (which loosely means the network reads the card data differently each time). But the concern is that people will still be using the magnetic strip at times, and that will be the security weakness for the time being.

Posted by
4691 posts

I don't know for sure, but I proposed in another thread here that maybe US restaurants refused to buy and install wireless PIN-enabled POS terminals like Europe has had for years. An impoverished bodega only needs one, wired terminal at the cash register counter. A restaurant needs multiple, wireless PIN devices.

Posted by
2430 posts

I understand it would make a lot of sense if we did have chip and pin cards universally. However, I used my Cap One Venture chip and signature card throughout Sweden and at Heathrow. It was so much easier than cash, that I will likely never use the ATM overseas again in Europe at least…except Greece? I loved it! I used it at train/bus kiosks, in cabs (where the drivers told me they never had an American pay with their card before…so are the cards being truly tested?), hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. No figure was too small or too large. One exchange even stored my train ticket on the card, and the conductor had no problem reading it. All vendors preferred not handling cash, and, I must say, that alleviates being short changed as well. One must just wait until the machine realizes there is no pin, and then it will continue. If you get too antsy and pull it out before it tells you to do so, too soon, it will seem like it didn't work. One needs to tell a cashier this once in a while as well, so they are patient. When I got home and checked the charges, there were no surprise charges and the exchange rate was lower than the published one I used for my estimates. It was a win, win. Wray

Posted by
4689 posts

I can't imagine not having some local cash on my for my recent trip to Croatia and Bosnia. Some of the sobe (B&Bs) I stayed at did not accept cards. This would be true in many other European countries as well. I expect an ATM card is always going to be essential for me traveling in Europe.

Posted by
1095 posts

"Note that many small retailers though will not install chip readers for years since their exposure to credit card fraud is smaller. Until they do, banks will need to issue cards that include the magnetic strip."

In my area it is the small retailers that have chip and pin readers. A local restaurant and a local beer store are the first to have them. Yes, in Pennsylvania we have beer stores. You cannot buy beer at the supermarket.

Posted by
4500 posts

maybe US restaurants refused to buy and install wireless PIN-enabled POS terminals

I think this is a very big reason why the US won't use PIN validation. I haven't seen it stated explicitly that way, but the cost for the restaurant industry to have the handheld terminals would be massive. I can imagine the industry lobbied hard against this with the banks. And it would be a HUGE stumbling block to having PIN validation.

Posted by
4822 posts

Just my opinion regarding the "why" of signature and not PIN in the US as a rule....I really do not think it is the readers, or the cost to retailers, those readers have a short life (my local grocery store changes them out every two to three years) and the processing agencies bear some of the cost as incentive to retailers. Add to that, to read the chip, you have to have new or capable reader...so the reader is not the issue.

I won't even go into the argument that Americans are either too stupid or do not want to be bothered with a PIN...everyone uses them daily...a hollow argument.

I think the real reason for signature vs pin has to do with verification. Use of a PIN ideally requires an active connection to the processing center and a method to actually compare the data sent and validate the PIN. Most transactions you do by Credit Card are not necessarily validated (Signature is nothing, electronically it is usually only verification of an active account) with the transaction data being sent later. All this would be a significant infrastructure cost, mainly to the CC issuers and processors. I think the tact taken by the big CC companies is not to admit their own objections, but to blame retailers and consumers, and appear to be "saving" everyone from chaos.

Posted by
607 posts

We have had these chip credit/debit cards up here in Canada for years. As far as I can remember, my cards can still do it all: magnetic strip swipe or chip reading, signature or PIN.

I would think that the card chip technology is very easy to implement. The bigger issue may be what "interbank network" systems your bank has partnered up with. The chip card and the ATM must be on the same network system in order to work together. My Mastercard uses Cirrus and Interac. My Visa uses Plus and Interac. I believe that Interac is used by all Canadian bank ATM's which are national, so I can use my card at any ATM anywhere in Canada.

In the United States, i believe that there many more different interbank network systems (NYCE, Pulse, Star, ATH, Shazam, Interlink, etc.) which are not used by all banks or all states. The US banking system is very fragmented.

When we went to Europe, my banks told me that my Cirrus card could only work on a Crrus ATM and that my Plus car can only work on a Plus machine. Most Euro ATMs have both, but some only had one or the other. Look for the little symbols on the back of your cards. If the ATM does not have the same symbol, your card may not work on that particular ATM.

Posted by
103 posts

I just asked today about this at a branch of my bank which is transitioning to chip cards. The person I spoke to (someone sitting at a desk, not a teller at a window) wasn't even aware of the difference between chip and PIN and chip and signature. She went to the corporate intranet and discovered that the new cards, to be mailed when current cards are about to expire, will be chip and signature. They will have PINs but the PINs can only be used for cash advances.

Regarding Canada, we've been using our magnetic strip cards in Canada without problems for several years now. The only issue is that they aren't compatible with the portable hand held devices for payments with chip and PIN cards. Instead, we have to walk to a cashier who always seems to know how to process our transactions without delay -- even teenagers at gas stations have this training. And this is true even in rural areas where we never see American license plates.

Posted by
300 posts

I don't think that is true at all. Existing US credit cards have or can have PINs. It's just that they are only used for cash advances at ATMs. Chip cards all come with a magnetic strip, which will still be necessary for ATMs, gas station pump payment and those retailers that don't upgrade their card readers. So the magnetic strip will have the PIN encoded.

Warning - technical info follows. Google EMV validation methods for more info on what I'm saying below. One example here.

When you use your old-style debit card in an ATM or at the grocery store and enter the PIN, the ATM or terminal communicates with your bank to validate the PIN (and also to verify that you have sufficient funds). It's not necessary to have the PIN on the magnetic strip (and it would be a bad idea since the data on the strip isn't encrypted) since the terminal relies on an online connection with your bank. to process the transaction.

An EMV ("Chip") card might or might not have the PIN embedded within the Chip. Explanation follows.

Credit card transactions include a cardholder validation method (CVM) intended to show that the card user is an authorized user. Chip credit card transactions can have several possible CVMs, and there's a process in which the card and the terminal negotiate to determine a method common to both that is the most preferred by the card. Possible validation methods include signature, online PIN, offline PIN, and others.

Signature validation is what you're used to for many credit card transactions in the US. The terminal prints out a paper receipt which you sign and the merchant retains (one time in Germany I signed a box on the restaurant's iPad with my finger but that's unusual in my experience). Even in Europe were everyone else will probably be entering a PIN at the terminal Americans will by and large still be signing for their purchases since US-issued cards are either are set up only for signature validation or have signature validation a higher-preference method than PIN methods.

For PIN transactions there are two ways to validate a PIN, online and offline. Online PIN validation is similar to how debit cards are currently validated in US transactions. You enter your PIN and the terminal communicates with your bank to see if the PIN you entered matches the valid PIN stored at your bank. Note that in order for the transaction to complete, the terminal must have a phone line or Internet connection (hence the "online" in the method name).

Conversely the offline PIN method doesn't require any external communication. The PIN you enter is compared with the PIN that is stored, in encrypted form, on the chip in the card. If it's a match the transaction completes. Note that the terminal doesn't check to see whether you have enough credit in an offline transaction so offline transactions are limited to fairly low-value transactions like transit tickets, parking machines and gas pumps. Also note that there's no way for an old-style card or a Chip card with no embedded PIN to complete an offline PIN transaction since the validation requires a PIN stored in the card.

Most US-issued chip cards don't currently support offline PIN. Of the few US cards that do support offline PIN most have signature as most-preferred CVM. This means you're likely to be signing for your credit card transactions in Europe for a few years even after all your cards are re-issued with chips. Also note that your new Chip card still might not work at that ticket machine or unattended gas station.

Posted by
300 posts

Regarding Canada, we've been using our magnetic strip cards in Canada without problems for several years now. The only issue is that they aren't compatible with the portable hand held devices for payments with chip and PIN cards.

Really? In my European travels (I have less experience in Canada) the portable devices have a slot on the side to swipe a US credit card. The waiter is likely to be unfamiliar with that method but usually are willing to follow my gentle guidance on how to swipe. I never had a problem using a mag stripe card in a portable terminal in Ireland last month (admittedly, Ireland gets more American visitors than many countries on the European continent so the waiters tend to be more familiar with the quirks of a US credit card).

Posted by
300 posts

Just my opinion, but one likely reason US banks aren't initially supporting PIN transactions on chip cards is that they earn a higher interchange fee on signature transactions than PIN transactions.

The fee difference is why the stores default to having you enter a PIN for debit card transactions and the banks encourage you to sign for a debit transaction as with a credit card.

Posted by
30971 posts

"Regarding Canada, we've been using our magnetic strip cards in Canada without problems for several years now. The only issue is that they aren't compatible with the portable hand held devices for payments with chip and PIN cards."

In my experience, that may or may not be true. It depends on what type of POS terminal the merchant is using. Some of the cellular-based portable POS terminals do not have a slot on the side of the machine for swiping a magnetic stripe card and therefore they can only process Chip & PIN credit cards. The chip-only machines seem to be popular with places like Pizza delivery or whatever. The wired machines inside stores are typically able to process both types of cards.

Posted by
3 posts

I have a Southwest Airlines Chase CCard. No international transaction fees which is great. It is only a chip and signature card. She said you can get a pin associated with it, BUT, if you use the card with the pin it is like a cash transaction, ie, like taking a cash advance from them, and will be subject to a crazy 19% interest rate!