"Real" Chip & PIN credit card for Holland?

Today I converted my 'regular' Bank of America credit card into a Chip & PIN one. They assured me it is 'the' Chip & PIN card I will need for use in ticket machines in Holland, etc. I thought there were only 1-2 USA institutions (mentioned in this Traveler's Hotline, previously) that offered a Chip & PIN card - can anyone verify; anyone used it overseas? I depart in two weeks but would like to know ahead of time. Thank you, Elizabeth
Eugene, Oregon

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6841 posts

This is the most comprehensive listing of chip cards available in the US: http://tinyurl.com/9gmv5zw According to that list all of BofAs cards are chip & signature. I haven't got a clue if they will work at Dutch Rail's machines.

Posted by Dave
Ventura, CA, USA
172 posts

I just got a true chip and pin card from Andrews FCU, applied Sunday, confirmed Monday. I did this because it became clear to me, anyway, that a lot of banks are marketing their cards as "chip" without prominently mentioning that they are sig not pin. It's my understanding that kiosks-in train stations, for example-automated gas stations, parking facilities etc all require chip and pin.
The fact that they assured you it was the real thing is unfortunate, it would be nice if U.S banks would catch up. Dave

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Elizabeth, According to the link that Michael provided, the Bank of America card is Chip & Signature and NOT Chip & PIN. AFAIK, those will not work in the Netherlands (except perhaps in some Hotels where they can be "swiped"). Last time I bought tickets at Amsterdam Central, they had signs on each ticket window stating "We accept ONLY Chip & PIN credit cards". Although the staff "assured" you that the card will work, this wouldn't be the first time I've encountered customer service staff that weren't entirely knowledgeable about whether their products would work overseas. Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2395 posts

And yet it may work. Depending on how the system verifies the PIN, or even if it requires a PIN for a specific transaction, your chip & signature card MAY work. If they did not give you a PIN, make sure you ask for it. Traditionally, the PIN for credit cards was used for cash advances at the ATM. But with the chip and signature card, the PIN will sometimes work in the automated machines. The problem is there is no telling which system for PIN verification is being used and whether your card will actually work or not. Certinaly try when you arrive. If it doesn't work, be prepared with enough cash.

Posted by Rea
Montreal - (a year in Europe), Canada
7 posts

We have been travelling in Europe for over 6 months and using the chipless US credit card. We were able to use it almost everywhere, including Holland. The only problems we encountered were in the train or metro stations where we had to use my Canadian chipped & pinned credit card.

Posted by Shelly
Phila
5 posts

I just called Bank of America and they told me that their card is only Chip & signature, not chip & pin. Can you verify that yours is really chip & Pin? Thnaks Shelly

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
673 posts

Rea, did you go to any museums? When we tried to buy our Annual Museum Cards at Het Loo palace (not exactly an obscure backwater attraction) in 2012, they had Duct Tape over the "swipe" slot of their POS terminal. They would only accept a chipped card (in the other slot of the machine) or cash. Luckily, I had plenty of cash. Elizabeth, I think you've done the best you can. Other posters on other boards have suggested that Chip and Signature cards do have some power at unattended machines. Perhaps you can make two transactions for two rail tickets, to keep it under 50 Euros, or whatever the limit turns out to be. I also got a Credit Union Chip-and-PIN but I haven't used it abroad yet. BTW, I can't use Bank of America BillPay to make an electronic (ACH) payment of the Credit Union VISA bill-I have to use the 4-day delay paper check option under BillPay!

Posted by Shelly
Phila
5 posts

I also just applied for membership in the Andrews Federal Credit Union....very easy, anyone can do it. If you don't fit the normal requirements, they allow you to join s Consumer Organization ( no charge ) and that membership then allows you to join Andrews. Then I applied on line for membership, then I immediately applied on line for the Globe Trek Visa card. No annual fees & def Pin & chip. You only need to keep $5 in your savings account, but more if you don't want any fees. I think it sounds like a great deal. Hope this helps all you travelers out there. shelly

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Pentagon Federal has membership requirements.

Posted by Larry
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
26 posts

(Slightly off topic) I was in Amsterdam Centraal station a week ago and saw people getting turned away at the ticket office for NOT having a chip&pin card. The clerks advice (for the person who didn't have one) was to go to the ATM.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6841 posts

Dutch Rail accepts chip&pin credit cards at Amsterdam Centraal and Schipol Airport. At all other stations it's chip&pin debit only; no credit cards of any variety.

Posted by Allen
Midlothian, VA, United States
2 posts

After encountering problems in Europe in the past, I joined Andrews Federal Credit Union some time back just to get what was reported to a a "true" chip and pin credit card. I tried using it to purchase a train ticket in Paris and it was rejected. I mentioned this to my brother-in-law who works for a credit card processing company (but not affiliated with AFCU). Apparently, the AFCU credit card is not true chip and pin but is actually chip and signature with pin backup. That is more widely accepted in Europe than chip and signature, but still not accepted everywhere that a TRUE chip and pin credit card would be accepted. It totally baffles me why US banks are so insistent on NOT going with TRUE chip and pin. I hear explanations like "The merchants are required by our contracts with them to accept swipe credit cards" or "We don't see enough demand for it to justify the cost." The only thing that I can say is that those arguments are being made either by people who have never traveled to Europe, or if they have traveled to Europe, they only stayed in the tourist areas. Trying to argue with a waiter when neither of you speak the other's language will do nothing beyond reinforcing the stereotype of the "arrogant American." Personally, I would be willing to PAY to get a TRUE chip and pin credit card.

Posted by Allen
Midlothian, VA, United States
2 posts

After encountering problems in Europe in the past, I joined Andrews Federal Credit Union some time back just to get what was reported to a a "true" chip and pin credit card. I tried using it to purchase a train ticket in Paris and it was rejected. I mentioned this to my brother-in-law who works for a credit card processing company (but not affiliated with AFCU). Apparently, the AFCU credit card is not true chip and pin but is actually chip and signature with pin backup. That is more widely accepted in Europe than chip and signature, but still not accepted everywhere that a TRUE chip and pin credit card would be accepted. It totally baffles me why US banks are so insistent on NOT going with TRUE chip and pin. I hear explanations like "The merchants are required by our contracts with them to accept swipe credit cards" or "We don't see enough demand for it to justify the cost." The only thing that I can say is that those arguments are being made either by people who have never traveled to Europe, or if they have traveled to Europe, they only stayed in the tourist areas. Trying to argue with a waiter when neither of you speak the other's language will do nothing beyond reinforcing the stereotype of the "arrogant American." Personally, I would be willing to PAY to get a TRUE chip and pin credit card.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6841 posts

Even if all the chip&signature cards in the US magically switched to Chip&pin tomorrow that still wouldn't solve all your problems. Lots of places in Europe only accept chip&pin debit cards only. Those don't exist anywhere in the US.
For my travels my old-fashioned magnetic strip cards work fine for me. I've never been held back by not having a chip&whatever card...and I'm one of those people that uses plastic for most every purchase.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Elizabeth, Since this Thread has been revived, I'm curious to know how things went with your trip to the Netherlands. Any problems with the B of A "chip" card? Any advice you can offer for other travellers from the U.S. on this topic? Cheers!

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

"We don't see enough demand for it to justify the cost." I think you answered your own question with that one. There just isn't enough state-side demand to implement such a costly system-wide change over. State-side demand is the real driver of this engine, not the comparably tiny trickle of North Americans who travel to Europe. Plus, in the past couple of years, the US government has inflicted even more administrative costs in the form of extra red-tape on monetary transfers and payments headed abroad, so now there's even less of an economic insentive for an adaptation of a new payment system.

Posted by Bob
Bristol, UK
279 posts

"We don't see enough demand for it to justify the cost." I don't think the demand in Europe came from the general public. It was the banks who saw that the greater security was an advantage to them. In the U.K. at least, the chip & pin system is universal and all cards, both debit and credit, have both a chip and a magnetic strip. The changeover has been gradual over a period of years, and has been accomplished with few problems from the point of view of the public. Of course, shopkeepers have had to obtain new card readers, but those are replaced at regular intervals anyway. One of my cards is issued by a subsidiary of Bank of America and has both chip and magnetic strip. In a world where so much of the technology we all now use was determined by the USA, because the early adopters lived there, it is curious that there is this reluctance, and continual excuse-making, in an area where the rest of the world has set the standard.

Posted by T.
Seattle, WA, US
154 posts

Just a quick follow-up to Allen. I was in the Netherlands and used the Andrews chip-and-PIN card almost everywhere. However, there are a few places that take only DUTCH debit cards, no matter what kind of technology your card has. In particular, the Albert Heijn supermarkets wouldn't take any foreign cards. Also, the Dutch railway system only accepts foreign credit cards at the Schiphol and Amsterdam Centraal train stations. Otherwise you have to have a Dutch debit card with Maestro & V Pay logo, see NS--Purchasing Tickets.

Posted by Jim
Seattle
143 posts

And here's my recent experience. I asked for a "chip snd pin" card from B of A (I'm a 40+ year pretty satisfied B of A customer). I was sent some sort of card that looked just like my existing card. Well, it seems that that it was just like my existing card snd did not work in Amsterdam's Central Station to purchase rail tickets for Brussels. I then used my credit union card (Seattle's City credit union and one which only charges 1% for a foreign transaction) to withdraw sufficient cash from a station ATM to purchase the tickets. I don't want to think too much about what would happen if I had been depending on a ticket vending machine instead of a helpful Dutch ticket agent who pointed me at the ATM. Fortunately I typically withdraw cash from ATMs as I go for meals and other daily expenses snd use a card just for final settlement at hotels.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

"Otherwise you have to have a Dutch debit card with Maestro & V Pay logo," I admit it's been a few years since I last purchased tickets from NS, but can you qualify that remark? It seems strange that the kiosks would only accept a Maestro card connected to a Dutch bank, seeing that many other countries' banks issue Maestro cards (I have one from a Belgian bank, for example). That wouldn't appear to make much sense if they effectively limited use of the kiosks to Dutch citizens.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

I've read that about the transporttion tickets in The Netherlands before. Someone who lives in Amsterdam wrote about it on the Helpline a few years ago.

Posted by T.
Seattle, WA, US
154 posts

In reply to Tom, it is true that the Maestro card is a multi-national debit card service. Maybe your Belgian Maestro card will work after all. The clerks in the Dutch train stations told me I had to have a Dutch debit card, but their advice could be wrong. But since most of the readers on this site are American and Canadians, it is highly unlikely that they will be carrying a Maestro debit card with chip-and-PIN technology. To repeat my personal experience, my Andrews Federal Credit Union Visa credit card with chip-and-PIN technology worked in the ticket machines at Amsterdam Centraal. It also worked in the Amsterdam Metro station machines. It did NOT work in Dutch rail ticket machines in Haarlem, Delft, or Arnhem. The clerks at the Haarlem and Delft station desks also rejected this credit card for live transactions. Americans should plan to use cash when buying train tickets in the Netherlands unless they are at Schiphol or Amsterdam Centraal.