Credit Cards in Europe

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<p>We are going on a trip in May 2011 and are concerned about using our credit cards because European countries are using the ERV technology called pin and chip. The USA banks are not using this technology and is causing problems of rejecting purchases without pin and chip. Has anyone else encountered this problem and were you able to overcome the lack having pin and chip to make your purchases? </p>

I'm in U.K. now and have used my card for a rental car and for hotel. They expect you will have chip-and-pin so you need to tell them it's not so they can input it differently. I know when we were in Netherlands last year, you could not use an American credit card at the machines in the train station nor for public transit ticket machines; you had to stand in line at a ticket counter instead and pay cash. I've been told it's that way in several countries. To be safe I'm making sure I have plenty of cash on me. You might write to tourism bureau of specific country(ies) you are visiting ask about this issue. They may be helpful.

I was in England and France, though briefly, earlier this year and had no difficulties. I made a point of alerting clerks when I handed them my card that it didn't have a chip, and they used a different device or procedure, and the transactions went through without a hitch. I'm not surprised, though, that it's a different story at ticket machines. I agree that it would be wise to expect to give your ATM card a good workout.

I've been to Paris several times in the last few years and had trouble at the train station kiosk-- I could never get my credit card to work. I also couldn't get my card to work at the metro stations. I now just go wait in line at those places and the attendants always have been able to charge it properly. In stores and restaurants and hotels, I have had no problem.

My wife and I were in London last week and also in Alsace region of France for two weeks prior and although sometimes it took a couple of tries, my credit cards worked fine.

Thanks to all for you feedback. I received the following comments from our bank.
Chip and PIN is a payment system that utilizes credit cards embedded with a chip and protected by use of a personal identification number (PIN). This system is used in countries throughout Europe, including the United Kingdom (UK), France and Ireland. Sales staffs no longer need to verify those transactions with signatures. You can continue to use their magnetic stripe Visa card in countries with this system. The merchant's terminals are designed to recognize and prompt appropriately.
Most Chip terminals that accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa also have magnetic stripe readers. Merchants that accept Chip-enabled cards are also required to accept magnetic stripe cards and will ask you to sign the receipt. However, there may be a few instances where there is no sales clerk where only Chip and PIN cards will be accepted at this time. If you find that your credit card cannot be used at these terminals, try and locate a terminal where a clerk can help you make the transaction. Be aware that the Unites States credit ATM PIN will not work on this system.

We just returned from Scandinavia and had problems using our ATM cards without a chip. We tried to get money at the Copenhagen airport when we landed, but the ATM machines would not accept our cards. We tried at least 5 different ATM cards. We then located a cash office manned by a human who was able to do the transaction. We used our cards again in different places in Denmark and did not have a problem. When we went to Norway, one man on our trip attempted to get cash and the machine kept his card. Lucky for him the bank was open and he convinced the manager to return the card to him, but it took almost an hour. After that we tried to exchange dollars into local currency. The U.S. needs to get with the program or the other countries must find a way to deal with our chipless cards. Hope this helps.

I was with you until you said that American issued cards were unlikely to work in ATMs. Totally not my experience, nor have I heard of others having a problem with ATMs, although reports of problems with US credit cards and automated machines are common.