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Chip and Pin Cards
Old 01-12-2016, 09:03 PM   #1
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Chip and Pin Cards

This is a question to US members.

We are planning a trip to Europe that will include travel by rental car & public transport in some not so touristy areas. There is a good probability that we will encounter automated tolls, parking garages, gas stations etc where a chip & pin card or cash will be necessary.

I think Barclay offers one and I found this credit union that does
https://www.andrewsfcu.org/personal/...dit-cards.html

Before applying for one, I thought I'd see if there are other issuers.

Have you obtained a chip & pin card? Who is the issuer? Happy with them?

Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:09 PM   #2
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In our off the beaten track travels, cash is king. I would recommend a debit card from a bank with no transaction fees, used at a bank atm inside the building, in local currency. Schwab is mine.

I also use the Chase Sapphire chipped card and carry a couple of backup cards with chips from other banks, because you may find that one network is down and another is up.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:15 PM   #3
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Thanks Sarah. We do have a no-fee ATM card and will be taking it with us.

Here's a possible further complication that I gleaned from a Rick Steve's post (not dated)
https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-ti...chip-pin-cards

Quote:
While the American cards have chips, they are not configured for all offline transactions (in which the card is securely validated for use without a real-time connection to the bank). The cards will work for most European transactions, such as in Paris Métro or the London Tube stations, but they might not work at an out-of-the-way gas station in Provence, where the gas pump is probably offline.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:17 PM   #4
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I got a chip and pin card from Pen Fed for exactly the same reason. Since then I've spent twelve and a half months traveling around Europe and have almost never needed it. There were times in Spain when it came in handy at train ticket vending machines. That card also worked for booking Alhambra tickets online when my other cards wouldn't take. But mostly that card sits in my wallet unused.

It's still good to have. I'd probably go ahead and get one as a backup. And the Barclays card looks as good as any (and better than some that charge a FX conversion fee).
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
This is a question to US members.

We are planning a trip to Europe that will include travel by rental car & public transport in some not so touristy areas. There is a good probability that we will encounter automated tolls, parking garages, gas stations etc where a chip & pin card or cash will be necessary.

I think Barclay offers one and I found this credit union that does
https://www.andrewsfcu.org/personal/...dit-cards.html

Before applying for one, I thought I'd see if there are other issuers.

Have you obtained a chip & pin card? Who is the issuer? Happy with them?

Thanks.
We have the PenFed Cash Rewards VISA, and it works at automated kiosks in Europe provided that the kiosk accepts foreign credit cards from outside the EU. That last bit can be a hurdle, and totally depends on the company selling through the kiosk.

The PenFed card is true chip and PIN, but it still reverts to chip and signature in all attended situations. That's called "signature priority". It has no foreign transaction fees.

The Rick Steve's article is lumping all US issued credit cards together, and while true for most US chipped cards, there are a handful of exceptions - a few credit unions and Barclays.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:03 PM   #6
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Add me to the PenFed visa. No foreign transaction fees, worked well as chip and pin at unmanned kiosks.

We only needed the pin part in a few places - specifically buying transportation passes in Amsterdam outside the train station, and bypassing the very long line and using the machine at the Berlin TV Tower, and buying tram tickets and train tickets in Nice. When used in gift shops, etc... we were asked to sign.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:15 PM   #7
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I have the barclaycard arrival plus card. It does have an annual fee but I really like the 2% cash back as well as all the usual perks (auto insurance etc). It's a true chip and pin but will revert to chip and signature if the vendor has a machine that will spit out paper. Never had it fail in France or Spain.
Also have a Schwab ATM card for easy cash access with arm fee reimbursement. I'd recommend both.


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Old 01-12-2016, 10:34 PM   #8
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One of the cards I carry is the Penfed.
The only unattended gas station we ever stopped at, was actually in Canada. And the chip card worked fine without a pin.

That's out of, I dunno, it seemed like a million fuel stops between England and Japan, and on to then Canada and the USA. But most of Central Asia and Russia were cash only.

The other point I'd make is to get gas when the opportunity presents itself, especially when traveling to small towns where the sidewalks roll up at dark (see Central Asia and Siberia).

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:55 PM   #9
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I have two cards from US banks that have old me how lucky I was that I did not have to remember a pin for their card. !?!?! I guess they think I am dumber and less competent than the average European.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
We have the PenFed Cash Rewards VISA, and it works at automated kiosks in Europe provided that the kiosk accepts foreign credit cards from outside the EU. That last bit can be a hurdle, and totally depends on the company selling through the kiosk.

The PenFed card is true chip and PIN, but it still reverts to chip and signature in all attended situations. That's called "signature priority". It has no foreign transaction fees.
A few years ago, I got the Andrews FCU card mentioned in the OP for just this purpose. audreyh1's reply is very pertinent.

My Andrews card has worked beautifully for me with its PIN in England, Belgium, Germany, and Iceland. Like the PenFed card, it reverts to signature in many places where there is the option (such as when the server brings the payment machine to your table in a restaurant), but defaults to PIN at ticket kiosks in train stations, etc.

The one small thing to be aware of is that in some cases a ticket kiosk will refuse it and you have to go to the ticket counter to buy your ticket. This has nothing to do with chip & PIN technology, but rather to the fact that your credit card was issued outside the EU. I found this at some (not all) trains in Belgium and Germany. It's only a minor hassle, but you need to be aware of it.
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Old 01-13-2016, 10:10 PM   #11
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Thanks all for your advice.

I'll look into the Barclays card since I can get a sign-on bonus and first year free. This may also be a good reason to join PenFed. I'll have to pick one.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:15 AM   #12
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I live in the Philippines, and there has been a weird side effect of having an EMV equipped card issued abroad. As of November, 2015, the maximum withdrawal amount has been reduced at certain ATMs for Visa EMV equipped cards. That is because Visa changed the liability agreement and (I guess) made the ATM owner or bank responsible for mistakes/fraud.

For instance, I have an older Charles Schwab Debit card that is expiring in a few months and it is not EMV equipped, but my friend has a newer one that is EMV equipped (they started issuing these in July, 2014). His withdrawal limit is only half of mine and he gets a message stating the reason. When I get my new card in a few months, as my current card is expiring, I expect I will subject to the same limitation.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:26 AM   #13
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I have two cards from US banks that have old me how lucky I was that I did not have to remember a pin for their card. !?!?! I guess they think I am dumber and less competent than the average European.
Or Canadian. Disappointing that the US banks haven't gotten on board re chip/pin.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:42 AM   #14
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I have two cards from US banks that have old me how lucky I was that I did not have to remember a pin for their card. !?!?! I guess they think I am dumber and less competent than the average European.
I just don't understand their thinking. We've been memorizing 4 digit pins for ATMs for over 30 years! Checkout is also faster with a pin than with a signature.
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Old 01-14-2016, 02:50 PM   #15
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Their thinking is that they make more money off signature transactions than PIN transactions, security be damned.
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Old 01-14-2016, 03:31 PM   #16
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I have a chip and signature card from Chase. Used it in France in 2014. Some toll booths took it and some did not, about 50/50. Used cash when not. Was ok for train tickets from a machine.
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:05 AM   #17
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Yes same with our Chase CC. Sometimes they ask for signature too. Some grocery stores also ask for ID.
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:00 AM   #18
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I have a chip and signature card from Chase. Used it in France in 2014. Some toll booths took it and some did not, about 50/50. Used cash when not. Was ok for train tickets from a machine.
I think that the machines are getting smarter and not necessarily rejecting transactions on Chip and Sig cards any more (or at least as often). I needed my Chip and Pin at a bunch of kiosks when traveling in 2014 but then didn't use it once in 2015. Everywhere I went in 2015 seemed to accept my Chip and Sig Chase Sapphire Preferred so I just used that everywhere without issue.
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:07 AM   #19
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Interesting. I'll have to try using my BofA Travel Rewards chip and sig card at the kiosks next time. I prefer it because I get 1.5% rewards credit on the card.
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Old 01-15-2016, 02:45 PM   #20
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Amex just sent me a replacement for by blue cash card and it is a chip card.
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