I need a credit card that will work in gas stations all over the Uk. I have heard that they are just taking the smart cards. What are U.S. travelers alternatives? I have never had problems with my credit card or bank atm card before. But there have been articles recently saying that their cards have been rejected at more and more places. Go cash only? But with a road trip, I find it unlikely that I will be able to deal on a cash only basis, particularly at gas stations. Any help out there??
I haven't had the problem yet although I keep hearing about it. To date, I'm still able to find places that take my credit and debit cards.
In general merchants that deal mostly with tourists will have the magnetic strip hardware to read US cards; merchants that deal mostly with locals may only take smart cards. Technically, if the merchant doesn't have the hardware to read US magnetic strip cards they are required to accept it even if that means they have to make a phone call to Visa/MC to get approval. But of course there is the way things should work and the way they do work, and some merchants may not be willing to do this. But there will be some gas stations that will have the hardware. If the gas station won't accept your US card I don't know of any other alternative than using cash.
It's not uncommon for gas stations to not have strip card readers - many people here pay cash for gas or use a debit card. So I would suggest that you keep enough cash to pay for gas in case your card won't work.
And hope that the US credit card companies get smart soon and switch to chip & pin.