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Old 09-30-2014, 02:21 PM   #321
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Just got a replacement credit card from my giant monster megabank (BofA), that has a chip on it. The brochure says that it doesn't have a PIN, and that it's up to me to advise the vendor that only a signature is required. This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

I have a Discover IT with a zero foreign transaction fee, but it's not got a chip.

Being new to this thread, have there been recommendations for a zero foreign transaction fee chip and PIN card for use while traveling across the Atlantic?
The BofA Travel Rewards card is 0% foreign transaction fee, is the main one I use in Europe. It's chip & signature but 1.5% rewards along with no fees makes it the best value overseas.

I use the PenFed Chip & PIN VISA card as a backup, and at unmanned kiosks that take chip and PIN. But not all kiosks accept foreign credit cards, so it's hit or miss. Vienna Metro accepted it. DBahn ticket machine in Munich did not.

Almost all US issued chip cards require signature if at manned POS locations whether they have a PIN or not. If you got a Canadian or UK issued credit card you could get around this. But it's a minor inconvenience.
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:22 PM   #322
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No rental car. But, I tried various ticket machines and they did not like my card. I ended up using cash, which works very well, I might add.
The only place where cash doesn't work well is Amsterdam! (hit head)
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:30 PM   #323
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I continue to use my Penfed CHIP card in Australia since arriving July 14th. I've never been prompted for a PIN but the cashiers always take signatures although they are surprised that a signature is required and I often have to tell them that I need to sign. We are in Tasmania at present, and for the next few weeks, so not so many tourists around. The card has been denied 3 times, 2 hotels and an airport desk, but each time I have then handed over my CHIP'ed Amex card and that has worked (with signature).

Never had to pay for parking so no experience with unattended ticket machines. Buses and trams in Melbourne and here in Hobart use electronic cards that you buy and top-up in shops so public transport has been easy so far. (and cheap)
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:46 AM   #324
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I am currently in Europe (Italy) and traveled through Gernamy, Aurstria and Switzerland using my B of A Travel Rewards with a Chip. All was going well until it got rejected in a train station. Then I tried to use it online for a Air Italia flight again it got rejected. I logged onto my account and they had locked the card until I verified all of my European purchases. I called them before I left on my trip to let them know my travel plans but they still locked it. I used the hotel wifi, logged onto to BofA was able to verify everything online and am up and running again.



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Old 10-02-2014, 07:30 AM   #325
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I continue to use my Penfed CHIP card in Australia since arriving July 14th. I've never been prompted for a PIN but the cashiers always take signatures although they are surprised that a signature is required and I often have to tell them that I need to sign. We are in Tasmania at present, and for the next few weeks, so not so many tourists around. The card has been denied 3 times, 2 hotels and an airport desk, but each time I have then handed over my CHIP'ed Amex card and that has worked (with signature).

Never had to pay for parking so no experience with unattended ticket machines. Buses and trams in Melbourne and here in Hobart use electronic cards that you buy and top-up in shops so public transport has been easy so far. (and cheap)
I was only once prompted for a PIN with that card, and that at an automated ticket machine. Otherwise signature, or the ticket machine deciding it didn't want my card.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:33 AM   #326
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I am currently in Europe (Italy) and traveled through Gernamy, Aurstria and Switzerland using my B of A Travel Rewards with a Chip. All was going well until it got rejected in a train station. Then I tried to use it online for a Air Italia flight again it got rejected. I logged onto my account and they had locked the card until I verified all of my European purchases. I called them before I left on my trip to let them know my travel plans but they still locked it. I used the hotel wifi, logged onto to BofA was able to verify everything online and am up and running again.



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Glad you were able to resolve that online. I didn't have any trouble using that particular card extensively in Europe. But before I left I called to make sure of the travel notify since I had edited it to update a phone number, and it turned out it the travel notification had been rejected and they had to reinstate it.

Everywhere we traveled in Europe - Amsterdam, Bavaria, extensively in Austria, didn't blink an eye at always asking me for the signature on their copy. But they get a huge number of tourists.
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:31 PM   #327
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Reporting Back from the UK

I was not able to find a chip and pin card for use in the UK, but I got a zero foreign transaction fee card (Barclay Arrival - no chip) to complement my other cards (Discover IT - no FTF, but no chip, and not accepted many places), (Bank of America 'regular' Visa - chip & signature, 3% FTF), (Credit Union Visa - no chip, 1% FTF), (Credit Union ATM card - no CC logo).

I was able to use the "plain American" (no-chip, signature only) cards in the unattended parking machines, but not in the unattended gas stations (said "go to manned kiosk", which was closed at the time). Also the chip & signature card did not work at the gas stations either. So I don't think the chip buys you much with respect to a wider acceptance over there.

I also checked the currency conversion rates. I worried that the 0% FTF Barclay card was going to get poor conversion rates, but they were +/- 1/2 percent off from the daily rates I just looked up. The worst offender was BankOfAmerica, which had (at times) 1.5% in their favor, along with 3% FTF. But the Credit Union Visa also had one instance where the rate was over 1% in their favor on top of 1% FTF. My Credit Union ATM card got 1.3% in their favor at one "bank" (ASDA - division of Walmart), and spot-on at a real bank (Halifax).

At restuarants, everybody had one of those wireless machines they bring to the table. Nobody seemed to mind doing a "swipe" instead of the typical (for over there) "insert the chip card and leave it there" approach. Instead of handing you the machine and letting you enter your pin, the machine just printed out two things...one to sign and give back, and one for you to keep. The machine did include a step where the merchant was supposed to validate the current signature with the back of the card. I'd say they checked about 75% of the time (unlike here, where they never check).

Oh, one more thing that I thought was interesting. I went to a pub and ordered food and a beer at the bar.
Sometimes they take payment right then and there, but at this place, they locked my credit card in a little plastic case and gave me a numbered key. That shows how sensitive they are over there about keeping control of their credit cards (or how loose we are about it). Anyway, that plastic box is what allows one to "keep a tab open" over there, without completely giving up your card. Sorta cool, I thought.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:22 PM   #328
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I never saw anything off on the BofA currency conversions. Just minor rounding errors. You have to be sure to compare against the posting date.

It's worth getting the BofA Travel Rewards VISA - 0% foreign transaction fees and 1.5% rewards.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:28 PM   #329
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That pub trick is pretty cool. Compared to the guys here that just have a big stack of them in the back of the bar!


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Old 01-22-2015, 04:37 PM   #330
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Thanks for taking the time to give us some detailed feedback on the England trip. I really didn't know how it would is these days since we always use our UK issued CHIP and PIN card when we visit.
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:17 PM   #331
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The chip isn't just about acceptance. It's about security for you. Even if you have to sign for it, it's better if you are able to insert it into the chip reader rather than wipe it along the side.

The Barclay's Arrival Plus Mastercard is chip and PIN and it did work for me at an unmanned gas station kiosk in France back in September. It also has no FTF but it does have an annual fee after the first year. I'm undecided about keeping it and paying the AF.

I mainly got it because there are these offers to give you 40,000 Barclays miles, which you can apply against travel expenses and get statement credit. I had to charge $3000 in 3 months but I think I got about $425 or $450 in statement credits back with those miles.
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:46 PM   #332
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I have been in places in Amsterdam where they absolutely will not take cards that require swiping. One of them is the huge central train station.
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:45 PM   #333
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I have been in places in Amsterdam where they absolutely will not take cards that require swiping. One of the is the huge central train station.

Yup! I had to seek out one of the few cash machines to buy my tickets. There I joined a few other Americans in line along with a Spanish fellow.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate our American banks for making me feel like a 2nd class traveler when overseas. It makes me so very happy!!!!!
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:54 PM   #334
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Yup! I had to seek out one of the few cash machines to buy my tickets. There I joined a few other Americans in line along with a Spanish fellow.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate our American banks for making me feel like a 2nd class traveler when overseas. It makes me so very happy!!!!!
Amsterdam/Netherlands is particularly inflexible about this. They also have quite a few "cashless" retail stores and restaurants, many automated machines don't take cash, etc. The rest of Europe is still willing to accept cash.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:50 PM   #335
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Did they take chip and signature in Amsterdam? (I'm heading there this summer.)
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:52 PM   #336
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They did last May.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:52 PM   #337
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Did they take chip and signature in Amsterdam? (I'm heading there this summer.)
Yes, chip and signature works great as long as you don't need to use an automated ticket machine.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:55 PM   #338
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Honestly, I just want to be able to flash an iPhone at a terminal, press the approve button, and have the receipt emailed to me.
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:10 PM   #339
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Honestly, I just want to be able to flash an iPhone at a terminal, press the approve button, and have the receipt emailed to me.
I think you can do that in the red light district of Amsterdam, but the rest of the country has still to catch up.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:32 AM   #340
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I think you can do that in the red light district of Amsterdam, but the rest of the country has still to catch up.
First hand experience? . j/k

Visa just replaced my Fido card, which seems to be happening yearly now, but to my surprise it's a new chip one.
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