Chip-embedded credit cards have just recently been issued to every American credit card user despite some merchants still only accepting credit and debit card transactions with the traditional magnetic swipe. While this technology is still relatively new to this side of the Atlantic, chip & pin cards have been commonplace across the world for years or decades now.
#1: A Chip & Pin Card Isn’t a Chip & Signature Card
While the U.S. credit card industry has begun issuing EMV-chip cards, they are of the chip & signature variety. The rest of the world, Europe in particular, use a chip & pin card system. What’s the difference? In the U.S., you “dip the chip” into the card reader for several seconds and write your signature on the screen to complete the purchase. In Europe & elsewhere, you enter a pin number instead of signing your name like when you enter your pin to make an ATM withdrawal. Many merchants accept chip & signature cards, but, you might need a chip & pin card to go through a self-checkout or a smaller merchant.
#2: Can Use Self-Checkout Machines
How often do you use automated self-checkout machines here in the States? When traveling abroad, it’s likely that you might encounter self-checkout machines when purchasing train tickets, buying gas, storage lockers, or highway tolls. If a cashier is on duty or you have enough cash, this will just be a minor hassle.
#3: You Can’t Purchase Everything Online
An easy loophole around the chip & pin card requirement is to make all your reservations online or only stay and eat at major hotels and restaurants that cater to Americans. But, this isn’t always the case as you go sightseeing and visit remote locations.
#4: You Can’t Earn Credit Card Rewards
If using a chip & pin card is the only way to complete a credit card transaction and you don’t have one, you will have to pay with cash. As you well know, paying with cash doesn’t earn rewards points that can be used for your future travels.
#5: Travel With Confidence
Before leaving the country, you notify your bank when and where you will be traveling so that your credit and debit cards will work when you get off the plane. There’s nothing worse than finding out they do not work because you forgot to tell your bank. By having a chip & pin card, you will know that you will be able to travel anywhere and your card will work!
Getting a Chip & Pin Card
Most U.S. credit cards are only chip & signature-enabled. The first step to take is to contact your bank to see if they can provide you a pin. If so, you can enter this pin when prompted at the various automated kiosks that will not accept cash or a chip & signature card.
If you do not have a chip & pin card, the chip & signature Chase Sapphire Preferred has this capability allowing your money to be accepted anywhere. And, you will know that no credit card machine in the world will delay your travel or sightseeing plans ever again!
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