credit cards

Will your credit card work abroad?

6 tips for traveling with mag-stripe credit cards

  • Speak up at the register. "If prompted for a PIN they should tell the person behind the counter that they have a non-chip and PIN card that needs to be processed via the magnetic stripe being swiped and a signature taken," says Bowerman. However, this strategy may not always work if the clerk doesn't know how to process chipless cards or refuses to do so. Or, if your suggestion gets lost in translation.
  • Plan ahead. According to an e-mail statement from Visa, "In the rare instance that a cardholder encounters a problem, such as at an unattended rail ticket machine that does not recognize non-chip cards, cardholders should present their card to an attendant or agent (e.g., at ticket windows), or they can buy tickets via the Internet." If you can't purchase tickets in advance, allow for a potential wait in line.
  • Take along other forms of payment at all times, such as cash. Make sure to ask your bank about any daily withdrawal restrictions on your debit card. According to Visa, "Using a Visa card for major expenses such as hotels, travel tickets, etc., also helps to ensure that daily cash limits will not be a problem."
  • Look for the logo on your card. Make sure that the merchant accepts the credit card brands in your wallet, such as Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
  • Don't bother using your four-digit credit card PIN to pay at checkout. It won't work. "That PIN that you use for the ATM is not applicable on a point of sale terminal -- that PIN is only for ATM machines," says Jania.
  • Notify your bank of your international trip. Provide your itinerary to your issuer or the bank might block your transactions to prevent fraud.

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