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Please forgive my confusion........

I have heard different stories on this.......Do you need to have a PIN number to use a credit card in Europe??? I understand a debit card would need a pin number, but what about a regular Visa, Mastercard, etc????
 

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Yes and no, depending on what country you are in and what you are buying.

If you are trying to buy gas, and there is no attendant, you will need a PIN otherwise you will be out of luck.

If you are buying merchandise from a store, you will be asked for a PIN. If you do not have one, you can just tell them "no PIN available", then they will start the transaction all over (ask you to swipe your card again, etc).

I learned to tell them right away, before they swipe the card "no PIN available" so they push some sort of button and we do not need to have that discussion. Otherwise, they swipe your card expecting you to enter a PIN. It just saves a few seconds if you tell them upfront there is no PIN (or you can get a PIN and not have to worry about this).
 

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Look...be on the safe side..get a PIN - a 4-digit code...it takes just one phone call to your credit card provider...

...and make sure that your ATM/Debit card has 4-digit code too...

I keep telling a true story...I almost got stranded in Italy just 60 km south of Rome, where I could not find one single attended gas station in the radius of 30 min from my friend's house and was just about to call them and ask to "bail" me out...
 

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I DID have a pin for my Mastercard but was never asked for it in either Sweden, Denmark or Paris at stores or restaurants. We also did not have to purchase any gas.
 

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I DID have a pin for my Mastercard but was never asked for it in either Sweden, Denmark or Paris at stores or restaurants. We also did not have to purchase any gas.
Good for you, but what if someone do need to get the gas at unattended gas station? How many miles did you drive on one tank? Sweden, Denmark, France - on one tank? Seems unrealistic.

Getting a PIN is soo easy, why we even discuss it...

And there are hundreds and thousands of places in Europe where it can be handy...

I never-ever being asked the international DL on all of my trips, but since it takes only one visit to the AAA office, I have it...for the same reasons as above...
 

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Make sure you have a 4 digit PIN code for your credit (or debit) card. That is the most common way to pay i Europe nowadays. Most shops and restaurants expects you to pay this way. It is also the only way to get money from an ATM machine and to pay at unattended gas stations (and increasingly so at attended gas stations as well).
 

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A True US Bank Issued CHIP and PIN credit card! :thumbup: :thumbup:

First, a PIN with most US issued VISA or MCARD will not work in unmanned toll booths or gas stations or for kiosks that issue train tickets etc. IT is not the same thing as the cards they have in Europe and Canada. The 4 digit PIN on these cards is for getting cash, something you DO NOT want to do. And if you use a regular US bank issued CC, even with a 4 digit PIN, you will still have to have the card swiped and you will have to sign. It will not work where you must have a CHIP and PIN card only [merchant not able or willing to do a swipe or there is no merchant].

On our OSD trip last year [Denmark, Sweden -of course- Norway and Paris] we were able to use or Cap One credit cards and ATM cards [which have NO FEES at all, and no annual fees] for almost all tranactions. We used cash where we couldn't use the credit cards. But we didn't travel that much with the car [we did put almost 1000 miles on it thought] but we are headed back to Europe this year and will do a lot of driving with a rental car. We know we will need a true CHIP and PIN cards for gas and tolls in southern France.

I have just applied and got a TRUE CHIP and PIN card from Andrews FCU. It was all done online and was relatively easy to do. There is a 1% foreign transaction fee but no fee charged by Andrews FCU for foreign transactions and no annual fee. The rep I talked said that the feedback from members [military in Europe] have indicated that the cards works as true CHIP and PIN.

So, I will use my Cap One no fee debit and credit cards where ever possible and this card for unmanned kiosks and as back up.

I will start a new thread with details.
 

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First, I have accounts and cards from Citibank in the US, and from KBC as well as Citibank in Belgium.

The cards (both banking/debit and credit) from Belgium have chips on them and are inserted into (as opposed to being slid through) a credit card machine.
You validate the card by signing the transaction with a PIN, whereas a US card is validated by a signature.

PIN signing/validation of transactions is more secure and was introduced over ten years ago in Europe.
How many retailer employees validate a signature on a receipt to a signature on the card?

Being able to pay in Europe using a US card is fairly commonplace.
You might need to swipe vs. insert (which might be uncommon for the retailer), you might need a PIN (so ask for it, it's easy to get) or you might need to sign.
It is also dependent on the payment network the retailer is using and you should be prepared with an alternative (cash, local account/card or the like).

I tried to provide a comprehensive answer, but I hope i didn't confuse people any more.
Best,

Andres
Wells Fargo, BofA and JPMC are experimenting with 'smart cards' and are rolling them out in limited numbers in the US.
You can expect to see them more and more over the next year or two, and they will entirely replace signature-based cards in 5-10.
 

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We were in Sweden in November and with an AE credit card had absolutely no problems. I did try and insert my card into the machine at the G'borg airport but once I realized that machine had a swipe reader I used it like I do here. We never had an issues with a request for a PIN number with any of our transactions. Eventually the US will be using these PIN numbers (we're slow to catch up to the rest of the world) and then it will be a non issue.
 

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I have just applied and got a TRUE CHIP and PIN card from Andrews FCU. It was all done online and was relatively easy to do. There is a 1% foreign transaction fee but no fee charged by Andrews FCU for foreign transactions and no annual fee. The rep I talked said that the feedback from members [military in Europe] have indicated that the cards works as true CHIP and PIN.
I also applied to Andrews just over a week ago. Have not heard back from them yet, except for a generic "got your application" email. I'm hoping to hear more real soon now.

Chip and PIN is the way to go in my opinion. We NEED this in the US too. Way too much skimming and fraud. VISA issued a press release recently that basically said they want to convert all US merchants by end of next year. But it had no definite plan in place on how to get there, and I'm sure they will delay....
-Jon
 

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I also applied to Andrews just over a week ago. Have not heard back from them yet, except for a generic "got your application" email.
Did you open an account with the credit union? You have to do this in order to get the credit card. I applied for account, credit card and it was all set in a few hours. Then today, I had to email some ID info and I am all set.

I would call them back.
 

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Did you open an account with the credit union? You have to do this in order to get the credit card. I applied for account, credit card and it was all set in a few hours. Then today, I had to email some ID info and I am all set.

I would call them back.
Thanks. I applied for the acct and credit card on the same day, both online. Send the required acct signature card last Tuesday. Have not yet talked on the phone. Will call today and check on status. OSD starts mid-April and I also need to set up some hotel deposits before then.

[EDIT: Shoulda/oughta checked my email first. There is a nice "Welcome to Andrews" email there.....]
 

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Good for you, but what if someone do need to get the gas at unattended gas station? How many miles did you drive on one tank? Sweden, Denmark, France - on one tank? Seems unrealistic.

Getting a PIN is soo easy, why we even discuss it...

And there are hundreds and thousands of places in Europe where it can be handy...

I never-ever being asked the international DL on all of my trips, but since it takes only one visit to the AAA office, I have it...for the same reasons as above...
Hey
I'm not making a suggestion. I'm just giving my experience. Oh, and by the way I didn't say we drove to France.
Geezze! Chill
 
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