I have searched for awhile for a true chip and pin card. There was a recent post on the topic and it was pointed out the Andrews Federal Credit Union issues them. On the surface, there is an easy way to membership eligibility. However, I have to share my experience which was less than satisfactory. They are difficult to reach. They do not get back with questions that they might have. In sum, they are the least professional financial institution with which I have had the misfortune to deal. I have decided to wait for other institutions to offer the product.
The issue of needing a chip & pin credit card has been very overblown in the media. The average American tourist does not need one there and will get along just fine without it. I'm all for giving information, but as you note, it can be a real hassle to obtain one compared to the benefit it provides. Who would benefit from a chip & pin card? Those traveling long term or more frequently (say for business), students on exchange, those living in Europe and those that are planning extensive driving road trips.
I suspect that with all of the talk about the Andrews card, they have been overrun with requests and inquiries. Credit unions aren't like big, nationwide banks with fancy phone apps and online banking. The small credit union I deal with here is maybe a little behind the times in some ways, but their lack of fees for foreign transactions, and the service I get there makes up for that. But Douglas is right. There is little need right now for a chip and PIN card except in specific circumstances. Perhaps by the time it really is a critical issue there will be more issuers here.
Both Visa and Mastercard have published a "roadmap" for transitioning U.S. cards and infrastructure to the EMV chip, so you will likely see more options as time progresses. corporate.visa.com/newsroom/press-releases/press1142.jsp www.mastercard.us/mchip-emv.html
On my last trip, I did have a Andrews Chip/Pin Visa, and the few times I needed it, I REALLY needed it: getting gas at an automated station after hours, getting my car out of a gated parking lot after the attendant had gone, buying subway tickets at a machine, etc. It did take a bit of work to engage Andrews, but as a previous poster said, they are a small company with their own processes. Their business plan seems to be to provide banking services to government and military people who could be sent just about anywhere. We tourists are an afterthought for them. I normally use my Schwab Debit card for no-fee-anywhere ATM withdrawals, and my Capital One MC or AMEX for the rare credit card purchases, but sometimes cash won't do, or sometimes you're short of the correct bills or coins, and sometimes all the US cards in your pocket just won't work. It's good to have options. I look forward to the US catching up with the rest of the world. But we're stubborn, aren't we? We still measure distance based on the length of some old King's shoe. We still measure area by the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plough in one day. And don't get me started on 'horsepower'.
Yes, they've been swamped, but we got one last year. I just had to call a few times and transmit documents.
So, is there a comprehensive list where a pin and chip card is required?
I too tried to negotiate an application. They were completely nonresponsive. When I finally did get a hold of them to get the status of my application they said they needed payroll stubs and without ever contacting me let the application expire. I have an 800 credit score so I'm not sure what they need payroll stubs but they apparently have a policy against leaving a message on an answering machine so they let just let it go. I think I would rather do business with a more professional organization. Are there any other options?
Jeff, precisely my experience. All, fine, make excuses for an overrun/poorly managed institution. However, if one has such issues becoming a client, just think how things will go with any future problems. Another issue, they will not permit an account to be closed within 60 days without a $25 penalty.
Are there any other options? Yes - the Travelex Cash Passport is one. It's a pre-paid card but has a chip & pin and can reportedly be used in automated machines. BUT it comes with a high cost. There exchange rate is about 10% higher than the interbank rate. Most credit card and ATM fees range from 1-4%. So if you absolutely need one, this should work in those intstances, but only use it as needed. But let me be clear on this again, the average tourist does not need a chip & pin card for Europe. Please see my post above for the exceptions.
Supposedly Diner's Club is now issuing a true chip and pin card.
Traveled to France for 10 days in late Sept/early Oct, and prior to that - in early August, put in for a chip and pin with Andrews. They were nothing but nice the entire process....and that's what they require. For all these people who are complaining....you are applying for a card from them, but more than likely, otherwise, would never have become a customer. Have a little patience, do the steps that they require, and you will have your card in 4 - 6 weeks. Again everyone, cut them some slack....they probably DO NOT have the staff to accommodate the people on these websites who are now looking to IMMEDIATELY get the card from them.
So, is there a comprehensive list where a pin and chip card is required? Bruce, There can't be a comprehensive list because more and more places are refusing to accept non chip and pin cards around Europe, but it is spotty. By definition, if anyone were to attempt such a list, it would be out of date before it had been published. It certainly is not everywhere, and not in all circumstances, but the march of the chip and pin only card transaction is inexorable.
..."the march of the chip and pin only card transaction is inexorable."
I prefer to stroll.
A chip and PIN is virtually a necessity in certain situations in Europe. Getting gas can be a real chore requiring a lot of planning w/o it; with it, you don't have to worry about it. Yes, Andrews is a little backward, but if you can't spend the time necessary to deal with it, you don't have the patience to travel. I got frustrated with them at times, but now I have the card and it's good until 2015, and by then every bank will have one, or whatever takes its place.
"A chip and PIN is virtually a necessity in certain situations in Europe. Getting gas can be a real chore requiring a lot of planning w/o it." Not necessarily in all of Europe. This applies only to countries where unmanned, pay-at-the-pump stations are common. They don't exist at all in Germany, I have not encountered any in Austria, Switzerland, or the Netherlands, and they are rare in Belgium. The only country where I commonly read reports where this causes anything greater than an inconvenience is France.
A more general benefit of chip-and-pin is its stronger defence against identity theft. Published statistics indicate a significant drop in credit card fraud where the chip-and-pin system operates. In the long term, this credit card format pays for itself in the security savings to financial institutions and (one would hope) to the consumer.
"...Published statistics indicate a significant drop in credit card fraud where the chip-and-pin system operates..." For now. Counterfeit chip&pin cards are already being manufactured by criminal groups, and the pin encryption on the chips has been cracked by hackers. Nothing is full-proof;)
One addition to what Tom said. Italy is another country where unmanned service stations are very common, especially on weekends and during the traditional afternoon break (1 - 4 p.m.). We first ran into problems with them a number of years ago, when the chip card was first being introduced and we hadn't heard of it. We nearly ran out of gas a couple of times, when our cc's wouldn't work in the unmanned stations. If you know you need an attended station, you just plan for it. Also, most autostrada stations can take unchipped cards. We were in Italy for three weeks in May and had no problems using our cc's or in keeping our car gassed up. I agree with those who advise that you not get overstressed about this.
Agree with those who say you don't need a chip & pin card in many places in Europe. And the places where it can be inconvienent to not have one, well, you can plan around it by carrying cash for tolls and transit tickets, and getting gas during regular working hours. Unless someone was doing extensive driving trips in Italy/France once a year or more, I don't really think it's worth the hassle for most travelers right now to get one. For me personally, the only situation where I was really grateful to have one was when making a large purchase at IKEA.
I also have not been successful with Andrews FCU. There are long wait times on the phone. There are a lot of hurdles even to apply and the staff has not been overly helpful in problem solving. I easily applied for the Bank of America Travel card, which advertises as a chip and pin technology but have just read on another site that a traveler returning from a month in France found it to really be a chip and signature card. Does anyone have recent experience with an easy to obtain, U.S. chip and pin card?
@Jennifer, "I also have not been successful with Andrews FCU. There are long wait times on the phone." It's possible that they may be overwhelmed with requests for "Chip & PIN" cards, as they're one of a small number of financial institutions able to provide them at the moment. Someone provided a list on the HelpLine recently, showing all the U.S. EMV card issuers at the present time. I'd have to search to find it, but that may be of some help in your search. Good luck!
Jennifer, for what purpose do you need the chip and PIN card? It has been noted above that the Travelex Cash Passport has chip and PIN technology. It is a prepaid card with a 10% "fee" over the interbank exchange rate. So it doesn't come cheap, but for a few uses when only chip and PIN will work, it's a quick and easy option. And you aren't applying for new credit cards all the time...
We actually got our cards through Hyatt and British Airways-both Visas-might be something to consider. There was no hassle-very easy.
We have a chip & pin card from British Air via Chase Bank. Simple to obtain, extremely useful to have on our last driving trip in France (April, 2012). Yes, there is an annual fee of $95, but for me that's peace of mind knowing I won't have an issue with unmanned toll booths or gas stations. Yes, we did encounter both of those issues on our trip. It was a true chip & pin, no signature required in France. Here in the US, we still must sign when using the card. Chase offers many credit cards--just look for the British Air card. Deborah
Visa. Last week I called Visa & they changed my existing card to a pin card, no problem. Received in 3 days. The name on the front of the card is a little different, called Bank Anericard Travel Rewards Visa signature card. Definitely a must to have is driving & fueling.
As has been noted before, the Bank Americard Travel Rewards Visa is a chip and signature card, not chip and pin. I was told by a representative there that it will NOT work in true chip and pin applications, like unmanned gas stations and ticket machines. You might want to check before trusting that you are covered in those areas.
This article Chip and Pin vs Chip and Signature does a good job of explaining the difference between the two types of cards.
I can say that I was able to use the Chase British Airways chip and signature card at the RER machine in Gare du Nord. We needed two tickets to the airport and it was later on a Sunday night and the machine only accepted coins and credit cards. We were 1.4 euros short in change and our other cards didn't work. I'm not sure what we would have done w/o the card since I didn't see any workers around nor any change machines (at least working ones). I did have trouble using it at the Roissy ticket machine at the airport but I'm guessing that might have been due to jet lag and not reading the directions (not sure but it could have easily been my fault). Chase also has the Hyatt card which is also chip/signature with no foreign fees. Not to mention it comes with 2 free nights in any Hyatt such as the Park Hyatt in Paris. Having just stayed there on points it would be something to remember.
(I'm sure there are other cards as well and no, I don't work for Chase or any banking job.)
My BofA Travel Rewards chip card came w/out a PIN, but I called and they sent me a PIN in the mail. I have yet to use it at a petrol station.
I believe the Travel Rewards card is actually a chip and signature card, even though you can associate a PIN with it. It is not a true chip and PIN card.
In other words, that PIIN is for the magnetic stripe, not for the chip.
I just ordered one and the service rep said it's made to work internationally. She didn't even miss a beat when I asked if I could use it at automated gas pumps in France. It'll be here in 5 business days with its accompanying pin, which she said I cannot change and is embedded into the card. If I was lied to I'll be bummed. Making sure the tank is full can easily be dealt with. Trying to find the only person manning a 5-story parking garage because your car is being held hostage by a recalcitrant ticket machine is something different. Same with printing up will-call train tickets on the fly.
"Trying to find the only person manning a 5-story parking garage because your car is being held hostage by a recalcitrant ticket machine is something different." I have never seen a parking ticket machine anywhere that doesn't accept cash.
I read the article linked in the above comment about the difference between chip and pin, and chip and signature. However, it didn't answer this question: If I have a chip and signature card, and call Chase to get a PIN, does that affectively make my card a chip and PIN I can use at unmanned kiosks? We are planning a 3 week driving tour of France this summer and would like to have the assurance of such a card in those times where it is really needed.
Along with the ongoing confusion for many about the difference between chip and pin and chip and signature ,I'll throw this out. About two years ago , prior to taking the card from Andrews , I got in touch with CHASE ,( my bank here in NY ) and inquired about a PIN for the chip and signature cards they offer . FWIW , They told me at that time that using the card with a PIN would process any transaction done in that manner as a cash advance with the fees associated with that type of transaction . I can't vouch for the veracity of the information they provided at that time , but it was enough to put me off using a chip and signature card with a PIN . Something to bear in mind . In any event , my Andrews card works as expected .
My understanding of the Chase card ( which I have) is that the PIN works with the magnetic strip, not the chip.
Lola, what has been your experience with the card ? Have you noticed any transactions posted as cash advances ? Also , what activates the chip ? Just curious , Thanks , Steve
USAA announced in February 2013 that they are now offering chip and pin credit cards. I just ordered the new card, which also contains a mag strip for non-EMV chip readers. Supposed to be same numbers and features as the current card.
There's a problem with the USAA card: it only comes in freakin black so you can't get a Marine Corps emblem no more. But it does work just dandy both ways.
Steven-I used the "chip" function of my Chase card for the first time on a ski trip in Canada last January. The machine spit out a slip for me to sign, just as if I had swiped the magnetic strip. The transactions posted as regular purchases, with no FTF's which is why I like that card. But since the Chase card is not a chip-and-pin, we went ahead and got the USAA chip card Ed mentions. Yes, it is all black, so I can't see if it has a magnetic strip as well, but Ed says it does and that is good enough for me.
Get out your magnifying glass. Wiggle it around in good light. It's on top. The blank space between: 'For account information......' and 'Not valid unless.......' Sheesh. Do I have to be everybody's grandfather?
FYI - State Department Federal Credit Union has a chip and pin (EMV) VISA card and, better yet, there are no foreign transaction fees. Anyone (in the US) can become a member. The application process was a bit convoluted and took awhile but otherwise good service.
It took me less than a day to get approved for my Andrews chip and pin card. The secret? I did it all on line. First, I arranged for income verification with my employer. Mine provides it electronically, which I'm sure speeds up the process. Second, Apply to Andrews and create a savings account: https://www.andrewsfcu.org/ Third, apply for the Global Trek card
http://www.andrewsfcu.org/credit_cards_and_loans/credit_cards/globetrek_rewards.html I had to print out my signature verification sheet and mail it to them. They will mail my card when they get my signature. I think the key issue is that if you apply online, the information goes directly into the bank computers. Andrews can act quickly on the info. If you apply by hand or by phone then the info needs to be hand entered by someone and that can end up in a stack of paperwork. But since people are already online in this forum they should be able to handle the electronic application process.
Hi all: what is a chip & pin card? My husband and I will be travelling to Italy-Rome, Florence, Venice (using trains between these cities), then flying to Paris for a week. Will we need one of these cards? It is our first time to these countries. Thx,
In May 2012, we had very few problems with our traditional credit card (with magnetic strip). This May and June (2013), we had significant problems, i.e. could not buy train tickets anywhere in the stations (even at the windows)--this was not unexpected. Unfortunately, we were surprised that our card was rejected by have many merchants and restaurants in numerous cities (Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen.) When we returned home, I contacted USAA and they issued us a Chip & Pin Cards. The application process was very easy and they promptly issued the cards. No, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF USAA. (Yes, it is a real Chip & Pin card and is NOT a Chip & Signature card.)
We just returned from 35 days in the UK and France. We had a car for the majority of that time. I went armed with my Andrews Federal Credit Union chip and pin card (which I got through pure determination) and my Chase Marriott Visa chip and signature card. I saw that the Marriott card was available with a chip. I already had the card, so I called and they sent me one right away. And may I say it is quite a card, thick and stiff as a board. Those taking it even commented on its great rigidity. The only advantage that I could see in the chip and signature card is that I could stick it into their little machine rather than swiping it on the side of their little machine. It tells them on their machine that a signature is required. It then prints out 2 forms, one to sign for the merchant and a receipt for me. I purchased diesel with cash, so I can't comment there. Every parking lot machine both in the UK and France accepted cash. Not all accepted bills, so have coins for those machines. And we did not drive anywhere there were toll roads, so I'm no help there. After all that work to get the Andrews card, I never used it, for 2 reasons. I'm building up Marriott points for a week at their resort on Kauai, Hawaii. And I do not like how I have to pay the Andrews card. If there is a way to pay other than sending a check through the mail to some address you have to call to get or paying electronically out of your Andrews checking or savings account, I can't figure it out. I have used it several times here in the US for practice. It is more trouble to pay than any other card I have. So it is probably going to sit in the idle zone. In 35 days, we never had an instance where cash would not work. And every place I used a credit card could accept a swipe card. I must say, however, I looked quite advanced by having my little chip card that I could put in their machine.
We loved having the USAA chip & pin card on our recent trip to France and Germany. We used Capitol One as our primary card (regular mag stripe and signature), but for parking garages and several other instances the chip & pin was great. Ed, sorry the card comes only in basic black. But from your posts I think maybe the Marine Corps emblem isn't necessary to let people know you're a marine. ;)
I used State Department Federal Credit Union (sdfcu.org), suggested by someone on this site, and it was very easy to get a card.
FYI - I've been looking for a chip card as well and noticed that Chase has a Marriott card that is chip and signature...just applied and will be using it on our trip to France this fall.
I used a Marriott Rewards chip and signature Visa card (Chase) this past May in Austria and Germany and never had a problem anywhere (stores, restaurants, museums, etc.). It is actually a metal card (someone commented above about its physical characteristics). The chip end was ed into the card reader and worked every time everywhere (i.e., I never had to swipe the magnetic strip). Although a pin is obtainable from Chase, it is only for cash advances, which carry high interest rates. So, for those unfamiliar with these types of cards, don't confuse the 'chip and signature' with a true 'chip and pin' card. Only the latter would work at unmanned ticket kiosks and gas station pumps. Lastly, the card had no foreign transaction fees at all and is a great way to earn points for free stays at Marriotts. The card was free the first year and carries an annual fee (I think $85), but you get a free night each year, so I feel that it is really a pretty good deal.
Sorry, sentence should have read "The chip end was placed into the card reader..."
Mary and I had to replace our British Airways Chase VISA card because of fraud recently. I was delighted to receive a chip and pin card when the new ones came.
Update: I got the State Department Federal Credit card as noted above for my trip to the UK. Everything went well in that every place took it - but I had to sign. Never used my PIN. Apparently it is something set by the card company.
Wouldn't that make it a chip and signature?
How does "chip and pin" relate to the "tap and pay" technology?
@Karen, Chip & PIN is a different system than the RFID "PayWave" systems. Chip & PIN cards usually contain both systems, which allows customers to either pay in the usual fashion by insérting the card inside the POS terminal and entering a PIN, or tapping the card against the terminal for PayWave transactions. As I recall, PayWave purchases are limited to $50. We've had true Chip & PIN cards here for several years, and most of my cards contain both systems. This website shows a photo of a typical card: www.tdcanadatrust.com/products-services/banking/credit-cards/more-cards/green.jsp The Chip device can be seen on the left side of the card, and the small "signal strength" logo for PayWave can be seen on the right side. Cheers!
This is getting to be a really old thread. People have been pitching in every few months for a year. What Ken said is undoubtedly true in Canada; the two systems are completely different and separate - they just happen to live together happily on the same bit of plastic. In the UK the contactless transactions are generally limited to £25 or £20 per transaction. I was in the LIDL store last week and had a £26 tab. I waved my card and it did nothing. I was reminded that it was £1 over the limit and had to put in my card and enter the PIN. Since we have deviated somewhat from the Original Post, and since David probably has his answers by now, and maybe he is tired of receiving emails saying he has another answer, maybe it is time to start a new thread?
Sorry about that last post Karen, you have asked a legitimate question......Paypass works great in lots of places in Europe. In my travels I've encountered near 100% acceptance in Budapest and London. In London even the merchants at the open air markets have Paypass terminals:) It's accepted to a lesser extent in Switzerland and Istanbul. Other countries don't seem to use it at all. Off the top of my head they include Holland, Belgium, France, Germany.
While this may be an old topic it should be a sticky topic that always comes to the top of the forum because this is an important question that many people have and the answer is an evolving one over time.