We reported in our September/October 2015 issue that the vast majority of new credit and debit cards in the United States use a computer chip that requires you to sign when you pay for something.
These chip-and-signature cards could create headaches if you travel to Europe, two analysts tell Consumers Digest. In most European nations, credit and debit cards (and card readers) use a computer chip and require a PIN, or personal identification number, to access account information for payment.
“If you just stay in the big cities and the touristy areas, you’ll generally be fine,” says Matt Schulz of CreditCards.com. The problem arises when you encounter an unattended kiosk that requires a chip-and-PIN card.
You also might have to produce an official ID every time that you make a purchase. “In London, literally they wouldn’t take my credit card” unless he showed his passport, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, who is the founder and CEO of Evolution Finance, which oversees CardHub.com.
Schulz says it’s a good idea to get a chip-and-PIN card if you travel abroad but notes that few U.S. merchants accept such cards for now, so you still should have a chip-and-signature card for transactions at home.
Go to CardHub.com for a list of card-issuers that provide chip-and-PIN credit cards.