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Chip and sign

I have a chip and sign VISA card not a chip and pin card. Will I have a problem using my card in Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Italy?

Posted by
11154 posts

I was just in Sicily in May 2014, and my friend used his chip and signature Visa in hotels and restaurants with no difficulty; not once was it refused in a place that took Visa.

I have no direct experience in the other countries you asked about.

Posted by
6047 posts

i have a chip & sig MC and it worked fine all over Germany last couple of weeks. I only used it 3 times because I don't use a cc much but it was never a problem.

Posted by
4690 posts

I used my non-chip Visa card with magnetic strip all over Germany and in France too, in April, at hotels and restaurants, without issue. Magnetic strip credit cards are still widely accepted in most parts of Europe at least at hotels and restaurants. A chip and signature card has a magnetic strip, too; it's not clear the chip really adds much benefit yet.

I have a credit union chip and PIN Visa card, too, for use at train station automated ticket machines, etc. (I get rewards on the non-chip Visa card so preferred to use that when I could).

Posted by
30973 posts

swarfel,

You may have a problem using a Chip & Signature card in the Netherlands, but the other countries should be fine as long as you won't be using any automated fuel pumps or whatever. I've found that the Netherlands seems to be further ahead on the transition to Chip & PIN technology, and places like Amsterdam Central will ONLY accept Chip & PIN credit cards. If you plan on buying tickets there, I'd suggest having cash at hand.

Posted by
4690 posts

Keep in mind that there's a difference between a PIN used for cash advances at ATM machines (something that has been around for years on non-chip credit cards and usually very expensive FYI) and a PIN used for purchases where you'd use the PIN instead of signing. They are different, unrelated PINs. If you call any US credit card company and ask for a PIN, most likely you'll get the cash advance PIN that will not work in Europe for purchases. If your credit card doesn't support PIN for purchases, they can't add one.

Posted by
4500 posts

Chip and sig cards will sometimes work. It seems to depend upon the technology the machine or merchant is using to verify. Some people report that the transaction will work without any PIN or signature required. And sometimes it doesn't work. There is no way to tell.

The card will always work in a manned transaction where a regular old magnetic strip card will work.

The Netherlands are reported to be the most difficult country to get any non-chip & PIN card to work, whether auto or manned. So be sure to have plenty of cash on hand.

Posted by
30973 posts

Check with your bank to see if they can add PIN functionality to your card. Then you could sign when humans are present and use your PIN when needed.

AFAIK, that won't work at many locations in the Netherlands, whether humans are present or not. They will only accept a "true" Chip & PIN card at places like Amsterdam Central.

Posted by
5035 posts

What do European visitors to the US face when they come here with their C&P cards?

Posted by
8906 posts

AFAIK, that won't work at many locations in the Netherlands, whether
humans are present or not. They will only accept a "true" Chip & PIN
card at places like Amsterdam Central.

The following merchants in Amsterdam will accept a magnetic strip credit card with pin for payment:

Etos health and beauty chain
Albert Heijn convenience stores (not the supermarkets)
Mark & Spencer

What do European visitors to the US face when they come here with
their C&P cards?

Most chip & pin card also have the magnetic strip on it. But they are out of luck with merchants that require zip code verification.

Posted by
4500 posts

A true chip & pin card is just that, a chip & pin card.
There is no such thing as working sometimes as a chip & signature card and other times as a chip & pin card.

Mostly correct. But a chip & signature card WILL sometimes work without the signature. Since most US based cards are still only chip & signature, the point several of us are making is that sometimes they will work - but not always.

Some people also report that their US chip&PIN will default to a signature when manned and PIN when not manned. It all depends on the validation technology the card issuer has.

Posted by
9110 posts

George's statement is absolutely correct.

Some people also report that their US chip&PIN . . . .

It's clearly evident from this and other threads that these some people have no idea exactly what they have.
My dual card has both a strip (which may or may not require a signature depending on the purchase amount) and a chip (which never in hundreds, maybe thousands, of transactions has never once required a signature whether the reader was unmanned, manned by humans, or manned by zebras. And I ain't alone.

Posted by
123 posts

My bank doesn't offer chip and PIN yet. I have had no difficulties either using the credit card to charge items, or using the debit card to take money out of ATMs, in Britain, France or Italy.

Posted by
2081 posts

swarfel,

if you want to readup on this there is 15+ years of thread.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1304271-usa-emv-cards-available-today-chip-pin-chip-signature.html

but you should be good to go.

the problem some people arent liking is when there is a priority to the verification process where Pin is #1 and has been changed or will not take PIN as priority, but signature is the default.

youre going to have fun.

just a personal comment. All i have is 1 swipe VISA card and its been okay for the last 2 years. I plan on using it this year but i am also looking into a chip card since its probably a good idea to have at least 1 additional card.

happy trails.

Posted by
16771 posts

I agree that you're only likely to have this problem in Holland. But do be prepared to use cash much more often than at home, whether the vendor takes some credit cards or only takes cash. ATMs for withdrawing cash are everywhere and work with foreign debit cards that have a Visa or MasterCard logo.

Posted by
4500 posts

George's statement is absolutely correct.
Some people also report that their US chip&PIN . . . .
It's clearly evident from this and other threads that these some people have no idea exactly what they have.
My dual card has both a strip (which may or may not require a signature depending on the purchase amount) and a chip (which never in hundreds, maybe thousands, of transactions has never once required a signature whether the reader was unmanned, manned by humans, or manned by zebras. And I ain't alone.

The chip technology is basically the same. It is the card issuer that establishes the validation protocol for their cards. So a chip card might only be validated with a signature, only with a PIN or with a combination of both. The fact that chip cards also come with a strip is irrelevant as pretty much all chip cards still come with a strip. And of course some issuers allow for transactions under a certain amount (usually $50 in the US) to be processed without validation. And some chip cards come with a PIN that can only be used with the strip (for ATM cash advance use). Some chip & sig cards are set up to allow a transaction at unmanned stations, but many unmanned stations don't allow the transaction without the PIN.

What is absolutely correct is that the systems are confusing. Because most US card issuers are taking baby steps into the chip world, while a few others are going with full PIN systems, people are rightly confused about what they are getting and how it can be used.

Posted by
4500 posts

"And with Visa's new directives mandating signatures when humans are present at the transaction..."
WHAT ? Mandating by VISA ?

Dick was confused. The mandate by VISA is that all merchants accept signature as a means of validation, not that signatures are mandated.

The problem for us in the US is that many places blatantly ignore those rules, such as in the Netherlands and many small merchants that either won't be bothered or don't know how to do it.

Posted by
4691 posts

I called the State Department Federal Credit Union (which describes my card as "Chip and PIN" ... ) after our recent trip to London. The phone agent didn't have to check with his supervisor to answer my question, he readily stated that if the transaction cannot be completed with a signature, it will be completed with a PIN entry.

I didn't have the opportunity to verify the accuracy of that statement. All our transactions in England and Italy were completed with a signature. It also seemed to me that the verification handshake took much, much longer than it does in the U.S., even though every vendor had a classy-looking, newish POS terminal.

Readers of this thread should note that there are many similar topics here, some of which have a link to an excellent Google Docs post that provides good details about current USA offerings. Here's one on Flyertalk:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1304271-usa-emv-cards-available-today-chip-pin-chip-signature.html

Posted by
4500 posts

Whether you are prompted for your credit card PIN as opposed to your
signature is not determined by the merchant. Our vendor has informed
us that per VISA recommendation, PenFed chip cards work in the
following PIN/signature order:

This is confusing but reading their statement carefully, I notice a couple of things. PenFed seems to be using an independent vendor for its VISA cards. This is probably typical for smaller banks and credit unions. So in this case, it is the vendor that determines the protocol.

Note too that the statement reads "per VISA recommendation." That is not a mandate, but the PenFed vendor is using their recommendation. If it were a mandate, the rest of the world would be using chip & sign protocols.

Posted by
4500 posts

@Dick - The confusion was that in your earlier post you described that VISA was "mandating" a signature for verification. We were simply pointing out that it isn't a mandate, it's a recommendation to the issuers, as your links confirm.

I've seen those links before and they do a good job of explaining how chip cards work. They really ought to be required reading for those that want to post their expertise about chip cards. As I had noted and much of this thread confirms, there is a lot of confusion over how they work and why some are PIN and some are sign and some flip-flop with both.

Posted by
9 posts

I was just in Scandinavia and had no problems with my Visa card (Mastercard didn't always work - even debit) - even at unmanned gas stations.

I did have one shopkeeper show us a trick for some terminals - especially when the employee says "Chip + PIN only", but the terminal has the magnetic stripe reader along the side: Have the employee ring up the transaction on the terminal, then insert the card in the slot (like a Chip + PIN card would be). When the terminal fails to read the chip (which isn't there...), then you should be able to swipe the magnetic strip and sign. Note that you may have to have someone translate the screen to push the button for "Signature" without a PIN (and not the "Cancel" button).

Hope this trick helps - it did in small town Sweden.

Jim