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The Flight Deal Team has taken annual group trips to Europe the past two years. One of our pet peeves when traveling to Europe is the fact that most of the credit cards in our wallets don’t really work with the automated kiosks at gas/petrol and train stations.
Let us explain — most of the world uses a more secure and advanced form of purchase verification than us. While chip enabled cards are the norm in the US now, they are still behind the rest of the world. The chip enabled cards in the US are chip and signature, meaning, you have to sign for your purchase. The rest of the world uses chip and PIN. Instead of signing for a purchase, you enter a PIN like you would going to the ATM.
Therein lies the problem. Since the US uses chip and signature, the transaction will most likely fail with automated kiosks. This can create a lot of headaches if you happen to stop by a gas station at an off hour like us when we were in Portugal last year. Good thing we had our Barclaycard Arrival+ credit card with us; if we didn’t, we probably would’ve had to wait for someone to come fill up their car and hope they be nice enough to take our cash in exchange for them filling up for us.
Here are some US credit cards that are chip and PIN enabled:
- All credit cards issued by Barclaycard:
- Aviator (All variations)
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express
- Target Mastercard
While the cards above are chip and PIN enabled, they still default to signature with PIN as the backup. This means if the payment terminal has the ability to do signature, it will default to that. If the payment terminal doesn’t offer signature capabilities, only then it will try to utilize the PIN. This means that even though the above are chip and PIN enabled, it still might fail.
In those scenarios, we use our ATM card. That has worked for us. Though, we only use it as a last resort due to the fact that credit cards are not tied to our bank account should there be fraudulent activity.
If you are traveling aboard, consider adding a chip and PIN enabled card to your portfolio to save time and potential headaches.
What are your experiences with chip and PIN cards while traveling? Let us know.
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