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Old 01-30-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
IanJ OP
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Chip and pin credit cards

I'm thinking about a trip to Europe this summer/fall, and started looking into all the little bits and bobs that go along with that.

One tidbit I came across is that USAA (which is now open to everyone for banking services) offers a "chip and pin" credit card as of about a month ago. Fairly handy for those times when a magstripe card won't work, but they still charge 1% as a foreign transaction fee. I think I'm going to skip it and just do the debit card and ATM route like I've done in the past, but I thought others might be interested to know about it.

I assume other banks also offer chip and pin cards, but USAA is the first one I heard about, and I just got off the phone with them. Anyone know of others, particularly anyone offering a debit card?
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:20 AM   #2
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I'm thinking about a trip to Europe this summer/fall... assume other banks also offer chip and pin cards, but USAA is the first one I heard about, and I just got off the phone with them. Anyone know of others, particularly anyone offering a debit card?
Typically make a couple trips to central and western Europe each year between work and vacation, and over the past ten years I've not had nor needed a chip+PIN card for either the work credit card nor the personal one. Work card I don't control, but the personal card is a Capital One Cash Rewards since it has no foreign transaction fees or surcharges -- just make sure they know you're travelling before you go so they can process a "travel alert" for you.

Using a debit card to pull cash at ATMs will work if you notify your bank before you go, otherwise they'll likely lock your account until you call -- and they don't care about time zones, or dialing codes, or even putting a human on the line. Frustrating! So make sure you have a copy of the international contact number before you go.
A debit card is a direct line to your cash and has no protection beyond yourself, so I only use it to pull cash from known ATMs (airports, train terminals, bank lobbys etc) and always check the card slot for a skimmer.

When negotiating or paying there's no question that cash is king, but more and more places are receptive to cards. However, as acceptance of cards rises there's also a rise in the number of fake/stolen cards being used. As a result, when paying cash in Italy a few months ago it was possible to negotiate a discount before the meal -- vendors have been raising prices to overcome the funds lost to fraudulent cards.

Have only been as far east as Czech Republic, so if you're going beyond that then please look for feedback from someone else who's been there. But in general, I wouldn't worry about not having a chip+PIN until the USA credit card companies finally catch up with the rest of the world on card security.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:31 PM   #3
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We have had chip and pin in the UK for several years now, all of our cards have them, and when I had an American girlfriend over a couple of years ago she went to pay in the supermarket with a US credit card and they literally had to dust off the old card swipe machine after finding one hidden away somewhere, a chip and pin might come in handy if you can get a good deal on one.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:10 PM   #4
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We used Capital One 2 yrs ago. they don't charge a fee for using overseas.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:27 AM   #5
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One note - if you want to use your card to buy gas (petrol) at the pump, you'll need a PIN-Chip card. You can always use your mag stripe card inside, but that's assuming that there's someone inside.

Unmanned fuel stations are more the norm than the exception in Europe in small towns and secondary roads.

Oh yeah - for the USA crowd, Canada s also pretty much PIN-Chip at the pump, too.

Andrews Federal Credit Union now offers a PIN-Chip card.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
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One note - if you want to use your card to buy gas (petrol) at the pump, you'll need a PIN-Chip card. You can always use your mag stripe card inside, but that's assuming that there's someone inside.

Unmanned fuel stations are more the norm than the exception in Europe in small towns and secondary roads.

Oh yeah - for the USA crowd, Canada s also pretty much PIN-Chip at the pump, too.

Andrews Federal Credit Union now offers a PIN-Chip card.
+1. GET THE CARD!!! Buying gas in Europe without one can be a complete pain in the ass. Imagine running low on fuel and the only fuel nearby is at an unmanned station. Also, alot of fuel stations are tiny and crowded and you get the stink-eye from everybody because you're slowing down the whole process by using a "regular" credit card.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:05 PM   #7
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Cool, thanks for the tip on Andrews. That looks like a good deal.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:41 PM   #8
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Trying to find a manned gas station in Southern France on weekend was horrible this past Summer 2012 on my GSA. Good thing I had a 33Liter tank. Get the chip and pinn card.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:02 AM   #9
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Trying to find a manned gas station in Southern France on weekend was horrible this past Summer...
Try Bastille Day.

I was sucking fumes a couple of years ago with no way to get fuel. Luckily a local who was fuelling his car took pity on me and shared his card in return for an appropriate amount of cash.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:20 PM   #10
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Unmanned fuel stations are more the norm than the exception in Europen (except) in small towns and secondary roads.
Where else would one be riding?

jk
Perhaps due to outside influences one may have to visit some major metropolitian areas while over there (airports excluded).
For myself, I haven't had my fill of the small towns.
And I'll have to familiarize myself with said chip and pin cards if I'm fortunate enough to go again. I'd hate to travel with just my obsolete cash.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:37 PM   #11
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Prepaid?

Just out of curiousity, is there any possibility of buying a prepaid chip and pin card after arriving?
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
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Just out of curiousity, is there any possibility of buying a prepaid chip and pin card after arriving?
Smacking my forehead for never even thinking about that, but it's a great idea. And yes, a quick search shows that it's possible: http://www.travelex.com/us/products/cash-passport/
If you don't use the card above for 12 months then they'll start deducting a fee from the remaining balance. So it'd be great for loading up before a trip and then unloading when done.
No fees for most actions, but what's missing is the exchange rate when you first load the card. Tread carefully -- if they don't declare openly where they make profit, then it's hidden for a purpose.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:24 PM   #13
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Just out of curiousity, is there any possibility of buying a prepaid chip and pin card after arriving?
Awesome, thanks for mentioning that! If Andrews decides they hate me for some reason, I'll probably do the Travelex. I do wonder how they're making money on that though. Must be exchange fees.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:27 PM   #14
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And yes, a quick search shows that it's possible: http://www.travelex.com/us/products/cash-passport/
The website seems to indicate that they're not doing this any more. Must be very recent:

Quote:
IMPORTANT NOTICE At the moment, Travelex is not selling the Cash Passport product. All Cash Passport cards sold on or before February 15, 2013 will no longer be reloadable, online or in the retail stores, after March 31, 2013 and will not be valid/useable for any transactions after April 30, 2013.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:41 PM   #15
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What about this?

Try this link: VISA Europe prepaid

Maybe these are hanging in the checkout isle of some euro-Walmart.
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