No chip-and-PIN needed

This item appears on page 32 of the May 2011 issue.

We read the letters about using American credit cards (not the chip-and-PIN type) in Europe (May ’10, pg. 36) and were a bit concerned about it before our trip to Germany and Switzerland in September ’10; we have a MasterCard and a Visa card.

We need not have worried. Everywhere we went, we had no problems.

We were in Munich, northern Italy, Switzerland (the Alps area), the Black Forest, Dresden, Pirna and Fürstenwalde (near Berlin). We used our cards mostly at hotels and gas stations and for admissions to sites. We did not use our cards in restaurants, except the ones in hotels where we were staying, where the dinner tabs came with the hotel bills. Everything went without a glitch.

The credit card companies charged transaction fees of 3%, but, considering that we didn’t have to carry large amounts of cash, the exchange rate was favorable and we didn’t have to look for ATMs all the time, we considered that a fair charge.

Santa Barbara, CA