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What to ask before taking credit cards overseas

Credit Cards » What To Ask Before Taking Credit Cards Overseas

Does my card have a chip?
Does my card have a chip? © Valerie Potapova/Shutterstock.com

Does my card have a chip?

Your credit card may be built differently from foreign cards, and that may affect where it can be used.

Most U.S. credit cards rely on a magnetic strip for transferring information. Cards in Europe, Asia and elsewhere rely on a fraud-resistant technology using a microchip embedded in the card, often called an EMV card.

Your magnetic strip card will get you by in most places with an attendant who can facilitate the transaction. But it may trip you up at automated kiosks where only EMV cards are accepted, says Kelly, who recommends requesting a chipped card from your credit card company, if it offers them.

"It's not mandatory to get these cards," Kelly says. But "it's kind of nice to have ... in case you need it."

Chip technology is slowly making its way into the American market, with some banks offering cards with magnetic strips and microchips. Another aspect of this technology is the chip and PIN card, where the microchip requires a special personal identification number, or PIN, to use.

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