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Artisticgirl

Best International Credit Card... do you need a PIN?

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I have Celebrity Cruise to Italy booked for June 2020 and am researching the best credit card with no Foreign transaction fees.  Can anyone suggest a card they have used that was accepted everywhere with traveling perks.  Also, in my research I am discovering most US credit cards are chip and sign where in Europe it is chip and pin.  Is it necessary to have a PIN and if so, which card has this capability? 

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No, it is not necessary to have a pin on a US issued credit card although you will have a few interactions with merchants where they will gesture for you to put one in only to realize that its not necessary. 

 

Generally in terms of cards there are a ton now without foreign transaction fees (hard to narrow one down without knowing things about your credit and preferences you most likely should not discuss on a public board like this)-- the ones that are most widely accepted will be issued by Visa or Mastercard. American Express is more widely accepted than ever but there are still plenty of places where you wont be able to use it. 

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If you are going to be buying train or metro tickets or buying gas for a rental car, most of the automated kiosks need the chip&pin card.  Or, you go find the human manning the booth and buy.  Outside of that, chip&sig is OK.

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1 hour ago, slidergirl said:

If you are going to be buying train or metro tickets or buying gas for a rental car, most of the automated kiosks need the chip&pin card.  Or, you go find the human manning the booth and buy.  Outside of that, chip&sig is OK.

 

Agreed.

People generally accept chip--and-sign.

Machines generally don't - same as many US gas pumps won't accept without a zip-code. 

You'll get by without chip-and-PIN, but since you're in the market for a card, I suggest that you get one with.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

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48 minutes ago, John Bull said:

 

You'll get by without chip-and-PIN, but since you're in the market for a card, I suggest that you get one with.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

 

Easier said than done in the U.S.  There are very few true chip and pin cards available. I haven't researched them in a couple of years now, but some are only available at a cost, and for others you must have an account with them or be a member of a specific group. 

 

When the chip and pin was first introduced I thought I'd definitely need one -- but over the last couple of years they seem to have worked out that chip and signature is an acceptable alternative and most places you'll need to use the card there is not even a question -- the machine just alerts them to print out a receipt for signature. To date I've been fine with a chip and signature card.

 

I have heard (but cannot confirm) that you can even use them successfully at some automated terminals:  

 

"Travelers on the FlyerTalk forum report they have had success using chip-and-signature cards at automated terminals by pushing “cancel” or “enter” if an automated terminal asks for a PIN. Many will just process the transaction with no verification at all, signature or PIN."  https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/which-us-issuers-offer-chip-and-pin-card.php

 

But if you know you won't be needing to purchase tickets from a kiosk (buy ahead online or look for a manned ticket window, OR have cash....) or are not renting a car and have a need to fill with gas or pay an electronic toll -- you'll likely get by just fine.

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When this first came up I took it to heart and got a Barclay Arrival card because it was (and still is) one of the few in the US that is true chip and pin and has no Foreign Transaction Fee (FTF).  But it's still a US card so it's programmed for chip and sign first, then chip and pin if that doesn't work.  So in almost every situation where I've used it in Europe, the waiter's portable machine has printed out a chit for me to sign.

 

The no-annual-fee Barclay Arrival mastercard only gives back 1%.  The CapitalOne Quicksilver visa gives 1.5% with no annual fee or FTF.  Those are the two best foreign cards I have found.  [If you are a Costco member, Citi Costco visa gives 3% back on 'travel' expenses with no FTF, but they have a strict definition of 'travel' expenses that doesn't include travel insurance or day trips – it is great for cruises, airfare, and hotels.]

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I also would take a look at Capital One.

 

For whatever reason their cards never require international transaction fees even though you can get one without an annual fee so that is a good one to get.

 

Keith

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Thank You everyone for your replies.  I received a Capital One Quicksilver and Venture in the mail with some sweet offerings in terms of points and such.  I just didn't know if these would be OK if a pin was needed.  I see now that it won't be an issue.

Thank you so much for your sharing your knowledge.  :) 

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We take our Visa and our MC credit cards.  Our Amex stays at home.  It got to the point where fewer and fewer overseas merchants were accepting Amex so we stopped taking it on trips.  

 

We use use a card that does not charge a hidden admin fee on foreign transactions.  Not certain about PINs.  Our cards have been chip and pin for at least five years now.  Tap is very common now as well though some places have a limit on the transaction amount.  Much faster and easier than PIN input.

Edited by iancal

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