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Just got a "Chip and Pin" Credit Card from my local Credit Union

It is a VISA Card, and contains a chip. The accompanying literature states, "Here is your new PIN number to use with your VISA Chip Card issued by the Credit Union. Your new card contains a microchip to enhance your security, and the PIN has been pre-selected to take full advantage of this technology."

I used it here at home at a grocery store, but the terminal didn't ask for my PIN number...hmmm....

Posted by
2939 posts

I have had a chip and pin for years. The only place that doesn't ask for a PIN is in various places in the US. I always feel like a dolt when I go south of the border as none of the systems are what I am used to in Canada or abroad, so don't expect to be able to test it at home.
Others have said they have chip and pin cards that aren't actually international PIN cards, so unless you can make a quick trip to Canada to test, you still may not know what you got.

Posted by
4835 posts

Did the terminal ask for a signature?

In practice it can get confusing, since both the card and the terminal have protocols that are not apparent to the user.

What you likely have is a PIN capable credit card, but other protocols (Cardholder Verification Method or CVM) with a higher priority than PIN. These CVM can be Signature, Online PIN, Offline PIN, No Verification as the most common. Both your card has a list of these, and the terminal has a list, the one that appears higher first on both is the method used.

Very few cards in the US have PIN as top priority as do very few terminals, in Europe Both cards and terminals have PIN as priority. So likely in the US, you will rarely be asked for a PIN, even traveling in Europe it will be a mix, with you being asked for a signature much of the time. The good news is that it should work in most unattended kiosks (for tickets, gas, etc.)

As for your experience at the grocery store, if you did not have to sign, then the "No Verification" CVM took over, which usually applies to purchases under a set Dollar amount, usually $25 or $50 depending on the store.

Posted by
4507 posts

Your card is a US bank issued card - it will ask for a signature for verification. That is the system the US banks have adopted. Because the PIN was provided along with the card, it will almost for sure work as a secondary verification system in cases where a signature is not possible (like some kiosks in Europe). It will also work for cash advances.