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Any other international traveler having trouble with US credit cards?

Original post made by Euro traveler on May 7, 2014

Just back from the Eurozone and had problems getting my credit cards accepted. I told the credit card companies I was traveling overseas and got a pin number to enable me to get cash from atms. Unfortunately, my credit card was not able to work for gas stations, train stations and also in retail establishments where they would not accept credit cards without a chip. The chip and pin technology is everywhere except the US. Our cards are useless in machines as the machines will not accept them and employees are hesitant to accept them. The scanners do not accept them and they need an alternative type of machine (old fashioned is what I was told) to read them. When there are no real people to be found, unmanned train stations and gas stations, there is no alternative method of payment if you don't have enough cash!

Anyone else having problems?

Comments (5)

Posted by lindaloo, a resident of Mountain View
on May 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I remember similar problems last time I was in Europe -- five years ago! I'd have thought the US would have caught up by now. It was a PITA.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Don't we spend enough dollars overseas already?


Posted by resident 1, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Suggest you get a super credit card like United Plus Explorer. This card assumes you will be traveling internationally and will not charge currency conversion costs. It helps if you charge your airline ticket and hotel to the same card because they already know you are at specific locations at specific times. Your airline ticket data is on your card statement.

Or alternative is to go to bank at foreign location and get enough currency so you will not be using your card.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Seems to me we had to deal with staff at times at rail stations (in UK) this past fall as the machines wouldn't work. The default is to go to staff. It is not typical and can include standing in lines.
I think the Rick Steves travel website has threads (with public comments) that likely relate to this important topic. You might check that out.
US banks/Credit Card issuers need to be pressured to get consistent with our cards so they can be used more often in Europe. I heard merchants resist spending money, banks/CC issuers resist making upgrades, and so we the public have difficulties when we travel AND our cards are less secure!


Posted by Been there, too, a resident of Southgate
on May 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm

We have travelled extensively in Europe, and learned long ago that you simply must pre-pay as much as possible before you go ( hotels, etc). Then hide as much cash as possible surreptitiously on your person.

We have complained to our banks and credit card companies for the last three years, to no avail. The US is just out of it technology-wise. Really embarrassing when you live in the heart of Silicon Valley, but, then, this is why China will surpass us economically within a few short months.


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