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ATMs & Magnetic Strip debit card...

Just to be sure...haven't been to Europe in 8 years and want to make sure that magnetic strip debit cards will work in ATMs in England. Last time we were in Europe we were in France, and there we couldn't use our magnetic-strip cards in grocery stores since everything seemed to have been converted to the chip & pin cards (we will need to grocery shop since we're on a home exchange). We had to go get cash everytime we did our shopping. Is this the case everywhere now or just certain kinds of stores or certain countries?
Thanks so much in advance for your help!

Posted by
6 posts

The chip & pin is nearly everywhere. Some places will graciously accommodate you while others...not so much. Suggest you research your credit cards to learn which ones have that feature & change at least one before you leave. All the best, Cathy
Gainesville, Florida 6/24/13

Posted by
8960 posts

All ATMs will accept magnetic strip cards. There are a lot of grocery stores in Europe, that only accept chip & pin debit cards, no credit cards of any variety, so make sure you have cash on hand.

Posted by
4524 posts

Don't get a chip & PIN card for a trip you take every 8 years. ATM's still take regular old magnetic debit cards for cash - that hasn't changed. Many off-tourist businesses do not have the capability or clerks do not know how to still use the magnetic swipe and sign cards - so be prepared to pay cash in such places (like neighborhood grocery stores). Tourist oriented businesses will almost all still take magnetic cards. Automated machines will mostly be chip & PIN. Chip & PIN has been adopted almost everywhere in Europe, but the northern countries are more advanced in its use than in the south.

Posted by
970 posts

ATM's in the UK happily accept magnetic strip cards. As I understand it, stores, cafes, etc., are supposed to accept them, but many have staff that don't know how. That said, I've never had a problem handing a U.S. card to someone in any well traveled part of the UK. They know how to handle them. Still, I always go around with cash in my pocket. Locations that use automated systems are much more likely to be only chip and pin.

Posted by
9110 posts

I've made four trips to the UK in the past nine months. ATM cards work fine. Mag strip credit cards generally work (twice had to reach for the CP, both times at gas stations out of probably fifty total gas purchases). AmExp is widely accepted even at small groceries (but not at Clark's for some odd reason). I've never had a debit card.

Posted by
3319 posts

Excellent! Thanks so much everyone!