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Chip and Signature Credit Cards

My husband recently spent 9 weeks visiting Paris, Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig.
We spent one month in Paris and split the remainder of the time in the other cities. We rented apartment in all cities.

Despite some of the posts we have read, we had no problems using our Chip and Signature credit cards in all cities. The only place the card would not work was in ticket machines at the train stations. There were a few small businesses that insisted on cash but that was not the norm.

We hope this information helps other travelers.

Posted by
508 posts

Thanks; Chip and Signature has always worked in Europe for my wife and I. Most ticket machines at the train stations take chip and pin only. You have to go to one of the manned windows to use the other type of card.

Posted by
4939 posts

Thanks. We always carry extra cash, but so far we've never had any trouble with our American chip and signature cards.

Posted by
3252 posts

Thanks for sharing your experience. We've have been very pleased with our Chip and Signature card. We like to have have a backup just in case.

Posted by
4872 posts

Some people report that their chip and signature cards actually do work at train stations. (Mine didn't in Italy and France in 2017 - had to use my chip and PIN card which worked fine.) So I think it's another case of "Your Mileage May Vary" as they say.

Posted by
12773 posts

True...the American chip and signature credit card does not work at SNCF ticket machines, the small note in French and English says that. But it works in Germany at the train stations. I had no problems using my credit card at DB ticket machines in Germany. You have to punch in the PIN # for the transaction to go through.

When I wanted to buy a point to point train tickets in Germany, I usually went to the ticket machine and paid with a credit card or cash. The credit card went through. This was last summer and this past May.

Those other times in Germany when I stood in line waiting for a counter, I did likewise in payment. Obviously, with a credit card it went through too.

Posted by
5769 posts

Part of the reason for chip and signature cards sometimes working, sometimes not, at unattended kiosks is that many American cards have an allowance for low Dollar transactions to go through with no validation. The kiosk can also set this amount, typically $25 or $50, or even if it allows no validation transactions...so hence the variation.

Posted by
3487 posts

Last I was in Italy and France, my Bank of America Travel Visa credit card worked fine at many of the unattended ticket kiosks as long as I entered the PIN. This is a Chip & Signature card that includes a PIN without you asking for it separately. I did notice that the card readers that appeared to be newer and ones that also accepted cash at that kiosk seemed to work better than the ones that appeared older and were card only. When one didn't work, I just moved to the next one and it usually worked.

My other chipped cards worked everywhere I used them. I rarely had to sign anything and occasionally I was asked for a PIN by the card machine the worker handed to me. Having the PIN for any credit card you want to use in Europe seems to help.

Posted by
12773 posts

I will have to check my DB point to point ticket machine receipts as to how much I paid for the tickets but also if for that ticket I used a credit card or cash. If paid with a credit card, what was the Euro price of the ticket, ...that is, if I didn't throw them out after returning or even prior to returning.

All I recall is that regardless of the ticket amount, using an American chip and signature card on a DB machine always worked after the PIN number was entered as instructed, ie, when the words, " PIN eingeben" appeared on the little screen, after a few seconds, " Der Vorgang wird bearbeitet." appeared. With that and hearing a signal sound, I knew everything went through.