Intro: What is meant to help stave off credit card fraud might actually hinder Americans traveling abroad.
Chip and PIN credit card technology is used in more than 130 countries around the world. Instead of swiping and signing for a purchase, this technology reads a chip in the card and the customer then enters a PIN to verify and complete the transaction. The technology has proven smarter and safer.
However, with U.S. standards still not completely adopting the chip and PIN technology, Americans may have some trouble using their credit cards at unattended payment kiosks or with store clerks that don't know how to process magnetic strip cards.
After listening to some of the difficulties their customers have gone through overseas, some U.S. banks are catching up and rolling out chip and PIN enabled cards, starting this month. Chase will issue JP Morgan Palladium credit cards with both the standard U.S. magnetic strip and chip technology so cardholders can use the card domestically and internationally.
Wells Fargo is pilot testing the Visa Smart Card, which will also include a magnetic strip and chip technology. 15,000 current customers who frequently travel aboard will get their cards in July or August and if all goes well, more cards will be deployed.
Not having the chip technology in your wallet won't force you to forego your European vacation ... it just takes extra effort on your part to plan ahead.
While most merchants accept non-chip cards, it's best to prepare for the unexpected.
Call your credit card company to let them know you'll be traveling overseas…so they don't place a freeze on your credit card, suspecting unusual activity. While you're on the phone, inquire about chip and PIN technology to see if it's available for international travel.
Carrying the local currency is one surefire way to ensure that you don't wind up unable to pay for a toll or train or even dinner.
As mentioned before, automated kiosks seem to be where the real trouble lies, so try to find an attendant who can help you. That means preparing yourself for a wait or planning ahead and buying travel tickets in advance.