Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Be careful with UNFCU Chip & PIN Visa
Old 09-19-2016, 02:40 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
Be careful with UNFCU Chip & PIN Visa

This might be more appropriate in the travel forum, so I'm sure a kindly mod will move it if so. This is my three-month saga of trying to get a chip & PIN credit card from UNFCU.

After having some sticky situations in Europe (like many others here) trying to use a USA chip & signature credit card at an unattended kiosk, I wanted to try to forestall future difficulties by getting a "real" chip & PIN card like Europeans have.

My research showed that a good source would be United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) in NYC. That made sense to me, since they would have lots of international members assigned to the UN headquarters there, who traveled a lot.

You can join UNFCU by becoming a member of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) for a $25 charge. Easy, and I did that online, expecting to get my member number immediately. Not so fast! It took over two weeks for them to snail mail me a member number.

Once I had that number, I could apply to join UNFCU. But not online. I had to download an application and snail mail it to them with copies of supporting documents (driver's license, utility bill, etc.). Then after they received it, I had to do more verification online of various things.

Then all sorts of other gyrations to arrange a transfer of funds from another bank to open my accounts at UNFCU. All told, it took well over a month from first contact to having an account established and funded.

During this process I kept receiving emails from UNFCU encouraging me to get one of their Visa cards. Well, yeah, that's why I joined after all. So I submitted an application for the card and it only took a week for them to ask for more documentation, which I duly submitted. Then, silence.

After another week went by, I asked the status, and got more silence. Repeatedly.

After still another week, I went to their website and looked up my Visa card application, which was simply labeled "Denied." No explanation. My credit score is well over 800, so I asked for an explanation. More silence, more emails, more silence.

Finally, three weeks after applying for the card, I got a response from them, on a huge form that was entirely blank except for the comment "Insufficient length of UNFCU membership."

At this point, I had no more interest in asking any more questions, so I closed my accounts and transferred the funds out. That took another two weeks since it also had to be done by snail mail. What a complete fiasco!

Eventually, there will be a way for us to get a true chip & PIN credit card, but if anyone is considering this route, I urge you to avoid UNFCU like the plague.
__________________

__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-19-2016, 03:24 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
gauss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,603
Wow - thanks for the info.

I was considering a similar play last year with that CU.

In addition to what you listed, I would have also had to lift "security freezes" currently in effect for me at the various credit reporting companies.

I would be PO'd if I were out the $25 plus all that time.

-gauss

p.s. you might want to add "Chip & Pin" to the thread title for those not already familiar with the unique UNFCU offerings.
__________________

__________________
gauss is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2016, 03:36 PM   #3
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 20,055
Quote:
Originally Posted by gauss View Post
p.s. you might want to add "Chip & Pin" to the thread title for those not already familiar with the unique UNFCU offerings.
Good idea, I'll do that.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2016, 03:36 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
Quote:
Originally Posted by gauss View Post
you might want to add "Chip & Pin" to the thread title for those not already familiar with the unique UNFCU offerings.
Thanks! Good suggestion.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2016, 03:54 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
RobbieB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Central CA
Posts: 1,926
I read that you have to be a member for 6 months.
__________________
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
RobbieB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2016, 03:59 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
I read that you have to be a member for 6 months.
Which explains why they started sending me emails encouraging me to apply for a card after I had been a member for a few days.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2016, 04:14 PM   #7
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 15,442
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Which explains why they started sending me emails encouraging me to apply for a card after I had been a member for a few days.
Bear in mind that you're dealing with bureaucracy here. Why on earth would you expect it to make any sense?
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2016, 05:07 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,082
I have a First Tech Fereral CU World MasterCard which has both offline and online PIN modes.

It hasn't failed me yet. Last time I used it was probably Belgian Rail.

You can apply online but you have to join some association for $8.

Their web site and app. Aren't the greatest. In fact you have to open a savings or checking a account and ach transfer money to it first before doing an internal transfer to the credit card account to pay it off.

So I pay a little earlier.

It earns some form of rewards but I mainly use it overseas so I haven't put much charges on it in the 12-18 months I've had it.
__________________
explanade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2016, 05:16 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,102
This is a completely irrelevant and impertinent comment, but I only read this thread because I kept sounding out "UNFCU" and had to see what it was about.
__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success to be able to spend your life in your own way. Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2016, 05:59 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
Quote:
Originally Posted by explanade View Post
I have a First Tech Fereral CU World MasterCard
Your description makes it sound a lot like the Andrews AFB credit union (https://www.andrewsfcu.org).

I belong to that, and their Visa card has worked well for me in Europe. Also not the snappiest website, but no problem in the couple of years I've had it.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2016, 06:02 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
This is a completely irrelevant and impertinent comment, but I only read this thread because I kept sounding out "UNFCU" and had to see what it was about.
I had to use the initials because of the need to retain some semblance of decorum.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2016, 06:28 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Your description makes it sound a lot like the Andrews AFB credit union (https://www.andrewsfcu.org).

I belong to that, and their Visa card has worked well for me in Europe. Also not the snappiest website, but no problem in the couple of years I've had it.
Well if you want something that works at kiosks.

The Barclays Arrival Plus MasterCard also worked well but I don't want to pay the $85 annual fee.

Plus MasterCard works better than US-issued Visa cards. For instance, on the London Underground, you can use MasterCards through ApplePay, so you don't need an Oyster card. But apparently Visa cards won't work.
__________________
explanade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 05:20 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
The Andrews card works fine at some kiosks. The main thing stopping it at others is simply that some European firms (DB comes first to mind) don't allow it for cards issued outside the EU.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 05:26 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
gauss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,603
One of the purported advantages of the UNFCU Chip & Pin card, according to my recollection of this, was that it was programmed to prefer PIN over signature wherever possible.

This is in sharp contrast to the majority of US issued cards that are designed to prefer signature over PIN (even in foreign countries) if the technology supports it.

These configurations are part of the EMV spec and are determined by the "issuing bank" for a particular card.

-gauss
__________________
gauss is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 05:37 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
Which is precisely why I wanted one.
Oh well, this will all be sorted out in the next few years, I'm fairly sure.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 06:31 AM   #16
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 7,928
I had no issues with my PenFed FCU chip and pin visa. I used it at unmanned kiosks in Amsterdam and Berlin. (It defaulted to signature everywhere else because there were cashiers there.)
__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 08:40 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,346
rodi, I've heard that from others, too. But my PFCU card is usually denied even at attended locations in Europe (often comes up "unreadable").

It has never failed to work perfectly in this country, so I don't understand it. And yes, I always give them my travel notice before I go so they know I'll be using it over there.

It may be because it's an older card? Expires in January, so I'll soon be getting a replacement, but still kind of weird.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 09:49 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,082
I don't think US banks will ever prefer PIN over signature.

The momentum is with chip and signature and no bank wants to be among the first to issue PIN cards because they think that people can't remember PINs and that people will pull out the signature cards over the PIN cards when choosing which card to use.
__________________
explanade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 10:17 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
gauss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,603
I know this is a big request to the US banks, but how about letting the user decide the preference of PIN over signature - or perhaps bring to market a unique card ,marketed to world travelers, that preferences PIN over signature.

I can certainly appreciate the banks not wanting to be the first one to FORCE PINS on their customers, but as an option, that is an entirely different story.

Hey Wells Fargo - Opportunity Here!

-gauss
__________________
gauss is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2016, 10:31 AM   #20
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 22,867
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post

It may be because it's an older card? Expires in January, so I'll soon be getting a replacement, but still kind of weird.
Any way to test the replacement before going to Europe and finding out live if it works or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauss View Post
I know this is a big request to the US banks, but how about letting the user decide the preference of PIN over signature - or perhaps bring to market a unique card ,marketed to world travelers, that preferences PIN over signature.
Don't hold your breath. As long as signature is required the merchant keeps some of the liability, which is (my guess) one of the reasons the CC companies are reluctant to go to PIN-only.

Here's some background from Krebs On Security http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/10/c...hip-signature/
__________________

__________________
MichaelB is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Chip and PIN credit cards for Europe audreyh1 FIRE and Money 637 04-30-2017 10:59 AM
Chip and Pin Cards walkinwood Travel Information 31 06-22-2016 11:55 AM
Any suggestions ... ( Chip and PIN Credit Card)? wanaberetiree Travel Information 1 04-17-2014 08:48 PM
PNY Memory Chip (camera) kaneohe Other topics 1 09-09-2008 06:50 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:08 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.