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Old 06-27-2017, 10:45 PM   #641
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PIN priority seems to be working quite a few places. I used it at World Market today - prompted for PIN.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:09 PM   #642
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After almost 2 months in the Netherlands (well, one week was in Germany), I have to say the First Tech PIN-priority MasterCard worked like a champ. It was so convenient not to deal with signing receipts that we only used that card.

It worked in every automated machine we tried except at one train station in which the OV-chipkaart top-up machine did not accept credit cards and we went to the desk which did. We used several machines, and encountered only 1 out of say 10 that did not accept credit cards.

Some Netherlands stores do not accept credit cards at all, but only local Dutch debit cards, and we would use cash there. These are mostly grocery stores, but some other retailers as well.

I had trouble at a major chain LIDL grocery store in Germany that gave me two incorrect PIN messages - which I think was bogus - but I wasn't going to chance a third try and so paid cash. My husband's MasterCard worked fine at several other locations in Germany - so apparently it was just that store.

It's nice that First Tech issues separate numbers for each card holder, so for a couple if some problem occurs with one card (loss, locked out due to wrong PIN), the other can still be used.

We used the heck out of our OV-chipkaarts - trains, metro, and busses/trams all over the Netherlands. We bought these in 2014, and they expire in Jan 2018. You top them up as needed, and train rides and tram/bus/metro rides are debited as you check in and check out. Since they were expiring in Jan we had to stop by the GVB office at Amsterdam Centraal and get the remaining credit refunded.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:36 PM   #643
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I've been in Austria for two weeks, transiting through Munich.

Only time I've had to us the First Tech PIN card is for the S-bahn kiosks at MUC airport. The kiosks look old so no support for contactless.

Otherwise, I've been using Apple Pay every chance I get. Contactless cards are widely used but more than once, clerks and customers are surprised when I pull out my iPhone and do the transaction that way.

The only thing is, a lot of restaurants and smaller shops in Austria will not take credit cards unless the bill is over 20 or 30 Euros. I have no problems going to supermarkets and charging 4 or 5 Euros -- usually some bottles of water, fruit, snacks.

I'd almost be tempted to pay an extra Euro or two to be able to tap with my iPhone instead of dig up cash.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:40 PM   #644
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I've been in Austria for two weeks, transiting through Munich.

Only time I've had to us the First Tech PIN card is for the S-bahn kiosks at MUC airport. The kiosks look old so no support for contactless.

Otherwise, I've been using Apple Pay every chance I get. Contactless cards are widely used but more than once, clerks and customers are surprised when I pull out my iPhone and do the transaction that way.

The only thing is, a lot of restaurants and smaller shops in Austria will not take credit cards unless the bill is over 20 or 30 Euros. I have no problems going to supermarkets and charging 4 or 5 Euros -- usually some bottles of water, fruit, snacks.

I'd almost be tempted to pay an extra Euro or two to be able to tap with my iPhone instead of dig up cash.
Our experience in Austria of minimums for credit cards use was the same.

I didn't try contactless in the Netherlands even though I often saw my SIL using contactless with a card. I'll try it next time.

Oh wait - we went by the Apple Store in Amsterdam to buy a couple of euro plug chargers and they told us ApplePay was not supported in the Netherlands yet as the bank agreements haven't been finalized. Nevermind.

I suppose you just switch to the wallet app on your phone/watch and hold it to the terminal?

It should be wild mushroom season in Austria now. We were in Austria early to mid September in 2014 and had some awesome fresh mushrooms including fresh steinpilzen a.k.a. boletus/porcini. So wonderful! But they had lots of other varieties too.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:03 PM   #645
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With Apple Pay, you just put the phone near the NFC reader, which is usually on the keypad where people insert the PIN cards.

Then the virtual card interface will come up and you select the card you want and then authenticate with TouchID.

You don't have to unlock the phone and open any app. IF it detects an NFC signal, it will bring it up.

I don't know about mushrooms. I'm not a big fan of indigenous Austrian cooking, which is often schnitzel or some kind of boiled beef or pork. Had some great risotto which came with some grilled beef filets. It had chanterelles and I often saw menu items with chanterelles.

I don't know if those are indigenous to Austria?
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:05 PM   #646
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With Apple Pay, you just put the phone near the NFC reader, which is usually on the keypad where people insert the PIN cards.

Then the virtual card interface will come up and you select the card you want and then authenticate with TouchID.

You don't have to unlock the phone and open any app. IF it detects an NFC signal, it will bring it up.

I don't know about mushrooms. I'm not a big fan of indigenous Austrian cooking, which is often schnitzel or some kind of boiled beef or pork. Had some great risotto which came with some grilled beef filets. It had chanterelles and I often saw menu items with chanterelles.

I don't know if those are indigenous to Austria?
I believe those chanterelles are indeed native to Austria even though they use the French name.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:12 PM   #647
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The only thing is, a lot of restaurants and smaller shops in Austria will not take credit cards unless the bill is over 20 or 30 Euros.
I learned a few years ago that the smaller mom-and-pop restaurants (the kind I seek out and enjoy) don't like CC's because so much of the profit is eaten up by the fee. Example: Two people eat a nice meal that costs 50 Euro. The profit may be 10 Euro at the most. The CC company charges 3% of the total amount - 1.5 Euro. So, 15% of their profit goes to the bank.

That's why I tend to pay with cash. I want to see those small family restaurants stay in business for my next trip.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:22 PM   #648
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Credit cards are more convenient and I generally don't like carrying a lot of cash.

Plus the rewards you get but of course the business pays for them.

Austrian prices are more reasonable than I recall Switzerland prices being. Maybe they could bump it up a bit to cover the credit card charges.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:38 PM   #649
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I learned a few years ago that the smaller mom-and-pop restaurants (the kind I seek out and enjoy) don't like CC's because so much of the profit is eaten up by the fee. Example: Two people eat a nice meal that costs 50 Euro. The profit may be 10 Euro at the most. The CC company charges 3% of the total amount - 1.5 Euro. So, 15% of their profit goes to the bank.

That's why I tend to pay with cash. I want to see those small family restaurants stay in business for my next trip.
Me too. We tend to only use CCs at the fancier, more expensive restaurants.

Except that in Amsterdam there are quite a few cashless restaurants, so of course we use CC there.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:31 PM   #650
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OK, really annoyed with Munich.

First, the only card I could use to buy the S bahn tickets at the airport was my First Tech MasterCard.

It's never failed me, working in Brussels train kiosks when my other cards wouldn't.

But then I tried to buy S bahn tickets back to the airport from the main Munich train station (Hauptbahnhof) and it repeatedly said invalid card.

So I had to withdraw more cash and pay for it that way. It was before 4:30 AM in the morning to especially annoying. Also suspiciously, there was often one ATM machine at each of these clusters of MVV kiosks.

Anyways, a lot of businesses in Munich use terminals with contactless support, so I was able to make purchases with Apple Pay. The Germans (and Austrians) use contactless cards though, not so much mobile payments.

But the MVV hasn't updated their kiosks to put in NFC chips yet. I've seen some other kiosks, like at parking garages, have NFC chips. Other systems in the world also have the latest payment methods supported.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:20 PM   #651
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OK, really annoyed with Munich.

First, the only card I could use to buy the S bahn tickets at the airport was my First Tech MasterCard.

It's never failed me, working in Brussels train kiosks when my other cards wouldn't.

But then I tried to buy S bahn tickets back to the airport from the main Munich train station (Hauptbahnhof) and it repeatedly said invalid card.

So I had to withdraw more cash and pay for it that way. It was before 4:30 AM in the morning to especially annoying. Also suspiciously, there was often one ATM machine at each of these clusters of MVV kiosks.

Anyways, a lot of businesses in Munich use terminals with contactless support, so I was able to make purchases with Apple Pay. The Germans (and Austrians) use contactless cards though, not so much mobile payments.

But the MVV hasn't updated their kiosks to put in NFC chips yet. I've seen some other kiosks, like at parking garages, have NFC chips. Other systems in the world also have the latest payment methods supported.
Yes, the Munich Hauptbahnhof DBahn kiosks do not accept overseas credit cards from what I can tell. I haven't tried using a debit card.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:24 PM   #652
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Which makes no sense. Munich is near a border and has direct S-bahn links to a major international airport.

So there are going to be a lot of foreigners going through that station.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:32 PM   #653
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Which makes no sense. Munich is near a border and has direct S-bahn links to a major international airport.

So there are going to be a lot of foreigners going through that station.
Yes there are. But I don't think it's that usual blocking overseas issued credit cards. I think the French train system kiosks often won't either, although they will accept US issued debit cards.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:08 AM   #654
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No problem using a US credit card for train and bus tickets at kiosks in Switzerland.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:56 AM   #655
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I had no issues in Hungary at a store and tourist attraction, and Austria subway using the Barclay Credit card chip & pin card.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:28 AM   #656
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Austrian prices are more reasonable than I recall Switzerland prices being.
Let me if any place has less reasonable prices than Switzerland. Haven't seen any & don't want to.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:47 AM   #657
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No problem using a US credit card for train and bus tickets at kiosks in Switzerland.
Usually not a problem in the Netherlands. Although some machines in smaller trains stations did not accept any credit cards at all.

I didn't have trouble in Austria either.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:34 PM   #658
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Let me if any place has less reasonable prices than Switzerland. Haven't seen any & don't want to.
I gather you haven't been to Iceland, then. I just traveled from Zurich to Reykjavik, and can promise you that Switzerland is bargain-basement compared to Iceland. Oslo, Norway is also far pricier than Switzerland. I'll agree that Switzerland is more expensive than most countries, but nothing prepared me for the sticker shock in Reykjavik.

FWIW, I have a chip-and-sig card and not once did I have trouble using it across some eight countries.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:23 PM   #659
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I gather you haven't been to Iceland, then. I just traveled from Zurich to Reykjavik, and can promise you that Switzerland is bargain-basement compared to Iceland. Oslo, Norway is also far pricier than Switzerland. I'll agree that Switzerland is more expensive than most countries, but nothing prepared me for the sticker shock in Reykjavik.

FWIW, I have a chip-and-sig card and not once did I have trouble using it across some eight countries.
Can you give an example or two of the sticker shock in Reykjavik Iceland ??
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:38 PM   #660
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Can you give an example or two of the sticker shock in Reykjavik Iceland ??
I know you addressed this to jonat, but here are a few examples from my trip last month: Horsemeat steak with baked potato and salad, $36 before drinks or dessert (posted outside- did not try it). Long lines every day outside hot dog stand where one went for $4.50. Large plastic cup of fresh veggies and dip (similar to those found in convenience stores here)- $7. Dinner with a friend- two medium-size pizzas and 4 beers- $62. Grocery store on day trip to Greenland- can of tuna (imported from Thailand) plus a loaf of homemade bread- $9. When DH and I were in Reykjavik two years ago one restaurant advertised a lunch special of puffin and whale- $50 per person. Drinks extra. (Did not try that either.)

That was my second trip to Iceland and I love it so much I'll be back- but it was a blessing to be in an Airbnb apartment with a kitchen.
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