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Old 02-18-2013, 11:51 PM   #16
IanJ OP
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Good catch -- I spotted the notice, but missed the initial sentence saying they weren't selling them at all. I thought it was just a warning about existing cards. I may call my local Travelex store and see if they can tell me what's up, and whether the card will be offered again.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:57 PM   #17
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Ok, the word from the Seattle Travelex store is that the cards are not currently available, but will be again in the future. Exact date unavailable, but "call back in a month or two." Where they make their money is in the currency exchange, as previously suggested: their current dollars to euros rate is .6744, and the current rate listed on xe.com is .7454, so they're taking about 10% on the transaction. If I can find out what Andrews is charging, I'll post it here (I expect it'll be similar).
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:19 PM   #18
argulus
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You may want to check out State Department Federal Credit Union. Anyone can join, you just need to state you are a member of the American Consumer Union (or some such group). I'm planning on relocating to LUX for my job (from Seattle) and was looking for a chip and pin solution (in addition to my USAA card). SDFCU has a prepaid Visa w/ no foreign currency fee - not sure about the exchange rate. I looked at Andrews as well but it seemed their signup process was pretty laborious. I signed up for SDFCU online in 10 minutes. After signup, you'll need to login to their online banking portal and can click the link for a prepaid chip and pin visa. Note, to login the first time use the member number they email you for your uname and the last 4 of your social as the password (they had no instructions indicating this and I had to call customer service to find this out). The whole process should take about 15-20 min. They also have a pin and chip credit card w/ no foreign fees as well.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:49 PM   #19
John933
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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.
I do that a lot. Just wait at a petrol station, then ask the next who arrives flashing 20 euro note. A bit of hand work will get it across. One tank full and the card holder had a couple of euro's in his/her pocket. Never fails.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:41 PM   #20
IanJ OP
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Finally got my Andrews card. Communications got a bit scattered, and I didn't receive the notice saying I needed to jump through a few hoops.

They required that I be a member of the Credit Union, which requirement is satisfied by opening a no-fee savings account, which has a minimum balance of $5. In order to become a member, you have to live in DC, or meet one of a couple of other qualifications. The one qualification that anyone can fit into is some club they have you join. It's linked from the Andrews website, and signup was instantaneous. I had to give them my address and contact info, but haven't heard anything, and it's not clear what advantage they get from me joining, or what advantage I'm supposed to get by signing up for this club (other than allowing me to get an AFCU account). The club option is not terribly obvious on the application, but once I figured it out, it was straightforward. I had to call their loan department to figure out that I needed to jump through these hoops, so if you apply and don't hear anything for a couple weeks, check in with them.

It does indeed appear to be a good deal: no fees I can find, and the exchange rate (assuming I did the math right) is around 6% over the xe.com mid-day rate, which is a pretty good rate from what I can tell. It does indeed have the chip, but obviously I won't be able to tell whether that works until it's too late to do anything about it. ;)
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2002 SV650 naked (the Euro touring bike, in Ireland)
2005 Ninja 250 (the track Ninja) - for sale $2k
1973 Honda CL175 (the little bike) - for sale $1k
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:55 AM   #21
MichaelJ
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Finally got my Andrews card. Communications got a bit scattered, and I didn't receive the notice saying I needed to jump through a few hoops.
Mine worked quite nicely in Canada - and I'll know about Europe in July.

I've been an Andrews member since 1980, so that wasn't an issue for me. Glad you got it sorted.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:57 AM   #22
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Note: the State Department Credit Union is advertising chip-pin cards on WTOP (a local DC radio station). You have to be a member, of course, but the radio ads indicate that all are welcome.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:32 PM   #23
yauhen
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IanJ, I am glad I stumbled upon your post, because otherwise I would not think about getting one.
I actually called Bank of America, where I have a credit card and they said they will just send me a chip and pin card. By the way I will be picking up my bike from Wheatwhacker in June:)
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:49 PM   #24
John933
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Take some cash. A bit more than you need. I travel a lot in France. And have about five different kind's of plastic to use. One of them is the pre payed card that you load up with Euro's. So far on the un-maned card payment system I've not found one that work's. The ATM's do, but petrol and hotel booking un-maned don't.

How to solve the problem is to wait until a French man come's along, explane the problem. Show him your money. And six to four he will buy what you want on his card and you give him the money. So far I have never found that to fail.
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:08 PM   #25
yauhen
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Got my Bank of America card and it's a Pin and Signature. So really useless for unmanned kiosks. I will need to look into another option.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:14 PM   #26
bnordgren
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Got my Bank of America card and it's a Pin and Signature. So really useless for unmanned kiosks.
I'm not sure that's true. We have unmanned kiosks in the states for the mag-stripe-and-signature. Seems to me that the important bit is that the unmanned doodad is equipped to read the info on your card so as to charge the right account. I just arrived outside of paris with a BoA chip-and-signature card. I can try to find an unmanned kiosk and let you know how it goes. Maybe I'll go up into the city to go see something this weekend.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:00 PM   #27
IanJ OP
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My understanding is that chip and PIN is the accepted standard in Europe, and chip and signature systems are less common, particularly among the unmanned systems like 24 hour gas stations. Give me 6 months, and I'll tell you if that's really true or not.
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2006 Ninja 250 (the big bike)
2002 SV650 naked (the Euro touring bike, in Ireland)
2005 Ninja 250 (the track Ninja) - for sale $2k
1973 Honda CL175 (the little bike) - for sale $1k
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:03 AM   #28
Dino de Laurentiis
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My understanding is that chip and PIN is the accepted standard in Europe, and chip and signature systems are less common, particularly among the unmanned systems like 24 hour gas stations. Give me 6 months, and I'll tell you if that's really true or not.
I'm Swedish, and I lived in a few different European countries except my own, and the only place I've seen chip+signature was the Mercadona supermarket chain in Spain. Then again, chip+signature seems like a rather worthless system anyway. I can't imagine "writing" with a stylus on a slippery plastic surface at an odd angle with no wrist support makes my signature anything like what it would look like otherwise.

As an aside, in the Netherlands, most places don't accept foreign credit cards at all, it has to be issued by a Dutch bank. Completely retarded.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:44 AM   #29
Ken Fritz
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Thumb promo on a good chip + pin card

Go to BA.com and get the Chase British Airways card. No foreign transaction fees, great service, 50,000 Avios (BA frequent flyer miles. Took me less than 5 minutes to sign up and get approval (I already have a Chase Preferred card). It'll be here in time for our April-May Baja ride (to avoid those pesky fees) and then we'll use it for our July-August European ride (where the chip is a benefit).

Downside: the card costs $95/yr. and the interest rates are high.
Upside: BA Avios are one of the best deals for frequent flyer mile travel and we pay it off every month so no interst payments. 1.25 Avios per dollar spent is a good deal, too.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:20 PM   #30
MichaelJ
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...No foreign transaction fees...
None for Capital One cards, either.
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