Will your credit card work abroad?
Are you traveling abroad this summer? Don’t be surprised if your consolidation loans credit card gets rejected sometimes. In Europe and other countries around the world, chip and PIN or EMV cards are the norm. These cards use an electronic chip and a personal identification number to validate transactions instead of the cardholder’s signature. Rather than swiping the magnetic stripe through the card reader, consumers insert the card into the machine and enter the PIN code stored on the chip.
EMV, named after its original developers Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is the global standard for chip debit and credit cards. In 2009, more than 944 million EMV-compliant chip payment cards were in use worldwide, according to standards body EMVCo.
The chip and PIN system is emerging as the dominant card payment platform, notes Jack Jania, vice president and general manager of secure transactions for Gemalto North America, a digital security company. He says more than 22 countries have adopted or are in the process of adopting EMV.
As the chip and PIN usage map shows, the United States is not one of those countries. Only one U.S. card issuer, the United Nations Federal Credit Union, has announced that it will provide EMV cards later this year.
Card use of chip and PIN code
* China uses “China Union Pay” standard, which is an EMV compliant standard
U.S. cards don’t always work abroad
While most chip and PIN card readers can still read magnetic stripe cards, travelers may have difficulty using their credit cards at self-checkout kiosks that do not recognize chipless cards. , such as ticket machines in train stations. , parking meters, parking garages, tolls and gas stations where customers pay at the pump.
You might even have trouble paying in person. “EMV has been around in Europe for so long that some cashiers don’t often see magnetic stripe cards,” says Jania. Younger or poorly trained staff may not know how to process payment cards without a chip.
Even though they know the procedure for non-EMV compatible cards, some merchants may decline these cards as a payment method because they “think they can’t accept non-chip and PIN cards, either. have made the business decision not to accept them, ”UK Cards Association spokesperson Mark Bowerman said by email.
The reasoning, Bowerman says, is probably based on the mistaken belief that they are responsible for fraud committed with magnetic stripe cards. “The point is, as long as the retailer performs sufficient checks like those in place before we have a chip and PIN, the responsibility for any fraud on non-chip and PIN cards lies with the bank, not the retailer.”
6 tips for traveling with magnetic stripe credit cards
- Talk to the registry. “If asked for a PIN, they have to tell the person behind the counter that they have a card without a chip and a PIN card that needs to be processed via the magnetic stripe that is swiped and a signature taken,” Bowerman explains. However, this strategy may not always work if the clerk does not know how to deal with cards without a chip or refuses to do so. Or, if your suggestion gets lost in the translation.
- Plan ahead. According to an emailed statement from Visa, “In the rare event that a cardholder encounters a problem, such as at an unattended train ticket machine that does not recognize non-chip cards, cardholders should present their card to an attendant or agent (for example, at counters), or they can purchase tickets via the Internet. »If you cannot buy tickets in advance, plan a possible queue.
- Carry other payment methods, such as cash, at all times. Be sure to ask your bank for any daily withdrawal restrictions on your debit card. According to Visa, “using a Visa card for large expenses like hotels, travel tickets, etc., also helps ensure that daily cash limits won’t be an issue.”
- Look for the logo on your map. Make sure the merchant accepts credit card brands in your wallet, such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
- Don’t bother using your credit card’s four-digit PIN code to pay at checkout. It will not work. “This PIN you use for the ATM is not applicable on a point-of-sale terminal – this PIN is only for ATMs,” says Jania.
- Inform your bank of your international trip. Provide your itinerary to your issuer or the bank could block your transactions to prevent fraud.
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