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My Chip & Pin/Signature Experience

I just returned from a month in Italy and France. I used my American Airlines Aviator Master Card which has a chip. I used the card for gas purchases, in restaurants and grocery stores. Only one gas purchase was at a manned station the rest were self service. Insert the card and enter the pin. Worked fine in both countries. The instructions on the display were in Italian or French. I speak neither but with a little guess work it became easy to use.

In restaurants and grocery stores the chip was used but always required a signature. Well almost always. One time I used the pin but I can't remember what the circumstances were.

I never tried the chip/pin at a toll both. I used it a a car park several times. The machine seemed to read the chip and completed the transaction with no pin required.

I used a regular stripe debit card at cash machines to withdraw cash. I experienced no problems and most of those machines offered English instructions.

Posted by
506 posts

I think the continuing confusion about these cards is when you said "I put my pin number in" We have all chip and signature cards and have used them on the last three trips to Europe and not once had a pin number to enter. It read the chip and we signed. So do you have a special card?

Posted by
181 posts

I just have the normal Barclay card as described above. Signature at restaurants & groceries but pin at self service gas stations.

As much as I drove if the pin had not worked it would have been a real problem for me.

Posted by
693 posts

If you had an Australian chip and pin then you would always use the pin in Italy. Signatures are no longer accepted in Australia for Australian issued cards.

Posted by
6017 posts

TheAmerican Airlines Aviator card is somewhat new, I believe it came about from merging the Miles cards programs from American Airlines and US Air.

They do advertise the card as Chip and Signature with PIN capability for unmanned kiosks and terminals, exactly as the poster described in his experience. Most likely the card is set up with Signature as the primary Credit Verification Method (CVM), with Pin down the list of options and including no validation for small transactions as the poster mentioned.

Not plugging the card, but I have been looking to get an AA card since I flip back and forth between flying American and Delta, this might be a good option. To me it would keep my miles active and get me a free checked bag domestically, that alone is worth having the card.

Posted by
920 posts

When AA and U.S. Airways merged, folks with the old Barclaycard US Airways MasterCard were issued the aviator card. Unfortunately, you cannot get this card unless you previously had the U.S. Airways card.

Posted by
181 posts

The Aviator Card also has no fee for International use. That was especially helpful when staying for a month.

On our return flight Wednesday on the domestic leg they were pitching the other card and suggesting that Aviator Card holders could switch over and get another 50K miles.