chip and pin credit cards with no foriegn currency transaction fee

I was in Spain last year and found many places I could not use my credit card as it did not have the chip and pin. Does anyone know of a credit card company that provides the chip and pin with out the foriegn currency transaction fee?

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

Hmm, that's odd. I was just there this spring and didn't have any problems at all, anywhere. The only credit cards I know that are foreign transaction fee free do not offer chip and pin. Likewise, the only company I know that offers true chip and pin does charge a foreign transaction fee.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

My experience is similar to Nancy. Where were you having trouble with your credit card?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Carrie, According to reports here, the only financial institution providing "Chip & PIN" cards is the Andrews Federal Credit Union. Anyone in the U.S. can apparently apply for one of these. Hopefully some of the HelpLine members that have obtained the card can provide more details. Given your location, I was wondering if you have any relatives in Canada? Perhaps you could get a supplementary card on their account, or open your own account in Canada (if they'll allow that)? The "C&P" cards are readily available here, and have been for some time. The "No Fee" issue is a bit more difficult. I'm not sure you'll find a card that doesn't charge fees. The "trick" will be to find one with the lowest fee. I don't worry about credit card fees, and just consider it a cost of travel. Happy travels!

Posted by James
Frisco
1799 posts

I've been traveling on a pretty regular basis for about ten years and I have never had any problem with my BoA Mastercard, AMEX and Debit cards. The AMEX charges 1% while there is no charge for the Mastercard or the Debit card. I've used them from Slovakia to Hungary to Romania to France, Italy and England. Shop around. Oh, I also have a chip card on my Hungarian bank account but it does have a lot of fees.

Posted by Nelly
Calgary
211 posts

There are several chip & pin / no FX fee credit cards available from U.S. issuers. See this link for a fairly comprehensive list: chip pin credit cards Open the google docs spreadsheet linked inside that Flyertalk forum post for the list.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

Almost without exception, tbe cards on that list are chip and signature, not chip and PIN. There is only one on the list that is issued by a national provider, though I wasn't aware that Wells Fargo offered a chip and PIN card (have to check into that). The others are offered by credit unions, which are generally limited in who can join/participate (most have rules that you must live in a certain locale or work for a certain employer). The Andrews credit union is an exception. So there may be one or two cards available to the general public, but not really several.

Posted by Robert
Portland
629 posts

There are a lot of posts here that cover this, as well as on flyertalk.com. I believe that Andrews FCU is still the only US credit card issuer to offer an easily-obtainable chip and PIN card. It takes about a month to get it from start to finish, and anyone can join. Their transaction fee is 1%. I got one in March because of the inability to use ordinary US CC's at unattended gas stations, toll booths and train ticket machines in France. Otherwise, the ordinary US CC will work pretty much anywhere.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
1841 posts

My wife recently received an unsolicited chip & pin credit card from Chase.
We just returned from out tenth yearly month in Europe. We took it along but did not use it as we have only used a credit card maybe 5 times in 10 years. We prefer to use a DEBIT CARD tied to a CHECKING ACCOUNT at a local credit union to get local currency from ATM machines in Europe. We do provide a cc # to some places to stay as to hold down out reservation with the understanding that we will pay cash later, especially if they say they will give a discount for paying in cash and you may have to ask that question rather than wait for them to offer. We do like coming home with no bills due.

Posted by James
Frisco
1799 posts

This is a pretty well worn topic but I think it remains valid and worth revisiting as new insight always appears. The ticket machines for instance. I make a few trips each year but had never tried to use a ticket machine so the insight might just save me some day. Thank you. Still for most of my picket cash i will continue to carry my debit card as it never fails, has no fees, provides a great exchange rate and keeps costs real and me out of credit trouble :-)

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

Charlie, are you sure about the Chase card being chip and PIN? It was my understanding that it is a chip and signature card.

Posted by Russ
Baltimore
82 posts

I just got back from London and had no problem using my Chase Chip and Signature card a few times. I still prefer cash. I used ATM's for the first time overseas on this trip and will likely do so again in the future.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1590 posts

The Chase EMV card has a chip and it has a PIN, but the PIN is for the magnetic strip functions. So it actually is chip and signature. I don't know if anyone has reported using it successfully in ticket kiosks, gas stations, etc. where a chip and PIN card is required. It does have no FTF's (at least mine doesn't). What I am curious about it using a debit card (with a PIN) in automatic ticket machines. We did this in Switzerland shen it wouldn't take a regular credit card. The debit card + PIN worked fine. Would this work in France and other places too?

Posted by Carol
Atlanta, GA, USA
679 posts

I have a Diner's Club chip and pin (yes it is a true chip and pin). It does have transaction fees, but I only use it when other options just don't work (train stations come to mind) so the fees just aren't a real issue.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

Unless the debit card had a chip, I wouldn't think it would work in an automated machine. As far as I know, no one has reported using a chipped debit card in that way.

Posted by Leslie
Atlanta, Georgia
370 posts

To those that own these cards and especially Carol: Does the Diner's Club work at gas stations? I'm usually good at figuring what works well where but I always get hung up at gas stations on Sundays. I bought petrol on a little chunk of France in the Carribean a couple of weeks ago for more than double the normal rate because I didn't have the chip and pin so a nominal charge is much better. If Diners Club does the job, I'd love to know. Thanks!

Posted by Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
668 posts

We were in Spain just over a month ago. We have chip and pin Mastercards from MBNA and had no problem till we got to Barcelona. Suddenly our card was declined - even though teh same restaurant had noo problem processing it a couple of nights before. When I contacted MBNA they said they knew there had been problems in Spain, but the attempt to verify our card had not even reached MBNA, it had beenblocked in Spain. They did not know the reason, but were investigating it. Fortunately our Visa from Scotiabank (also C&P) worked fine. Once on to London a few days later, our Mastercard worked again.

Posted by Virginia
St. Louis, MO, USA
7 posts

Unfortunately, it looks like Diner's club is not accepting new applications right now. They haven't been since they were bought out about a year ago, they said. So right at the time when we would all be clamoring for their product, they don't offer it. Reminds me of the dour, serious response of the elderly proprietor of a small town general store in Maine, "No we don't sell that anymore... too much call for it..."

Posted by Jerry&Stelly
Dallas, TX, usa
163 posts

Just got news from Discover Card that you can now use your Discover card in Europe anywhere they take Diners and Cirrus without a currency up charge of from 1 to 3 percent. As far as I know they are now the only card that does not charge a currency exchange fee.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

Jerry, is it a chip and PIN card, or just a regular Discover? Either way, it is not the only card that offers no fees, though the combination of chip and PIN and no fees seems to be rare. There are, however, several cards that charge no fees (mag stripe or chip and signature).

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
672 posts

As noted, there are lots of threads on this topic. On the ATM/PIN issue, we got stuck at an unattended gas station in Belgium early in the morning before an equally unattended car return (BRU airport, Avis). I wasn't surprised that the machine refused normal American VISA and American Express cards i.e. no chip. As a last-ditch, I tried my Bank Of America ATM card, which of course has a 4-digit PIN, but no chip. The checking account debit was accepted. I had an out-of-network fee, in addition to the foreign exchange fee, but I was prepared for that. I was just glad to get the gas! I've posted this before, but outside of Amsterdam and hotels everywhere, we were refused swipe transactions again and again in the Netherlands in 2012. They are doing a national conversion, and many big attractions had their "swipe" slots on dual-fuction POS terminals covered with duct tape. If this board took photo posts, I'd post the sign at the Floriade booth that said "Cash and Chip & PIN Only".

Posted by SUSAN
DALTON, MA, USA
64 posts

Hi, Just got back from France, and I was very happy that we researched this site, took suggestions, and got the Chip and Pin from Andrews Federal Credit Union in Maryland. As stated before it takes about 4-6 weeks when all is said and done, but it was worth it. We had to get gas at an unattended station, pulled up to toll booths on the way to Honfleur, and our regular credit cards would not work...pulled out the chip and pin, and we were on our way. This website helped us so much in that regard. Even in a couple of stores, my regular credit card would not work, nor did it work in the metro stations where there were no attendants. The people at Andrews Federal were so nice to deal with. First, you have to apply to the Consumer's council (or something like that - on the website), which costs $5.00. I did that, and then applied for an account with Andrews Federal, sent a deposit and I was on my way. They did ask me to send my passport (signed) and driver's license, etc. I then got a debit card in the mail and then applied for their credit card - not sure of which order, but I did it one step at a time, and they were very helpful. Took the card to France, and my husband and son couldn't get over how good it was that I had done this - and I thanked the people on the Rick Steves help lines for that. It's the way of the future in Europe, and since were are going to Germany/Austria in the fall, I'll have this all set, in case I need it again. We hope to get back to Paris very soon....loved every minute of it, especially being with my son, who lives in China, and who decided to join us. Enjoy your trip !

Posted by Carrie
Ypsilanti, MI, USA
13 posts

Thank you everyone for your suggestions - I will check out the Chip and Pin from Andrews Federal Credit Union in Maryland as it looks like my best option.