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Thread: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Default Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    I've heard that chip and pin credit and ATM cards are being used in several European countries. As an American, our credit card issuers don't supply the cards with the chip. Is it hard to find retails that will accept cards without the chip?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    I haven't been to Europe in a few years, but I surveyed a few friends who have and they told me that this can indeed be a problem, particularly if you're trying to pay with a debit card (because the chip takes the place of our PIN). They said that if you ask for the card to be swiped and run as a credit card, you should usually be okay.
    "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    Thanks for the reply.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    Quote Originally Posted by cruisenut2001 View Post
    Thanks for the reply.
    I literally just got back from Paris 3 days ago. If your credit card has a chip you've got no hope of being able to swipe and sign. If your card doesn't have a chip you'll be fine. My credit card came with a chip and a pre-set pin and I've lost the paper the pin came on so I was SOL in terms of use of my credit card. I had to use the debit machine all the time. In the end, the machines that take PIN for credit cards also have a swipe machine attached and never let anyone tell you otherwise. I shouldn't see how it would happen anyway. My friend had a card without a chip and they just automatically swiped. You should be fine.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    The real problem with American credit cards is buying gas at discount gas stations and/or on Sunday. There are no people at discount stations and your card will not work unless there is someone there to deal with it. So, just don't get stuck on a Sunday in some small town and need gas.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    Quote Originally Posted by LSKahn View Post
    The real problem with American credit cards is buying gas at discount gas stations and/or on Sunday. There are no people at discount stations and your card will not work unless there is someone there to deal with it. So, just don't get stuck on a Sunday in some small town and need gas.
    Does anyone have any recent experience with this in London? I know that the UK adopted chip & pin in 2006, so I am concerned about using the American style credit card with magnetic stripe. On previous trips I have loved using automated machines to purchase train tickets, and hope this won't mean a long wait in lines and arguing with cashiers.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    Hopefully you've gone and come back and had a great time. We were in London a few weeks ago and heard the stories before we left of the chip and pin crisis for American CC holders. We had no problems using our CC at the larger hotels and resturants in London or most of Europe on our Trafalgar Tour. I do know that at some of the Coop stores and unmanned gas stations in Europe the chip and pin was needed if using a CC.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    I think most machines are still equipped with the facility to swipe the card and sign- but not all operators will know that, as it's rarely used except in tourist towns. The manager of the shop or hotel should know, so ask to speak to someone senior. Younger people- students, part-timers- won't have seen cards used in the swipe way (or have forgotten), so might object. There's been a lot written about this on CC, and most Americans find they can manage, except with auto machines.
    Jo.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    Quote Originally Posted by cruisenut2001 View Post
    Hopefully you've gone and come back and had a great time.
    Just got back last night, thank you.

    At restaurants and retailers we were able to have the card swiped. There was only one failure at a KFC near the Baker Street underground station, but we had cash as a backup.

    We were unable to use a card to purchase transit tickets from the automated machine. Instead on our first day, we had to run across the street to get change to purchase the Oyster travel card. 5 pounds in change only. Once we had the card we were able to load additional value by inserting bank notes. The queue for a cashier was very long, this was at the Russell Square underground station. We did not attempt to use our cards to rent bicycles from automated machines, but would have anticipated having the same problems.

    I am very surprised that no American company has seized this as a business opportunity. I am even referencing travel specific companies like AAA. You can purchase a stored value card from AAA, but it does not have the chip and pin technology. If they offered that type of a product, I would have obtained it without hesitation. As it was, we obtained cash from ATMs and then used credit cards only for larger purchases.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is Chip and Pin Widespread?

    I live many miles from real tourist places, but we do have quite a few Americans living and working here, so I asked at our little village shop.....Yes, almost any card can be swiped on their machine. They run it through first, and the machine says whether it's acceptable. I do know that an Amex card we were using to collect points isn't acceptable there, or at many other smaller shops.
    Hope this helps.
    Jo.

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