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Credit Cards in Europe

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22 minutes ago, iancal said:

It is not unusual for us to have a $3K hold on one of our credit cards when we rent a car in Europe or elsewhere..  If you have, as we do, high credit limits on your card you may not even be aware of this hold.  Essentially it decrements credit availability on your card limit.

 

We do not use prepaid cards for the reasons listed.  We do use a travel card that does not charge the 2.5 FX admin fee and does not increase the FX rate to  a higher percentage than the visa rate.  On our recent trip we avoided $300 CAD in charges by not using our regular credit card plus we got one percent back, $120, for a total difference of $420 CAD.  If you travel frequently these savings, or this expense avoidance really adds up over a year.

IIRC, you use a Home Trust VISA for travel, as do we. You might want to look at the Stack MasterCard, purely for cash withdrawals.

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14 hours ago, catl331 said:

4 digit is fine as long as the first digit is not zero

 

I have a debit card that has a PIN starting with zero. I have had no problem using it at overseas ATMs.

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We traveled all over Italy last year and had no problems. Used my B of A debit card for ATM withdrawals and 4 pin worked also it has no foreign currency exchange fees.  I also have a Citi Bank CC with a chip, that we used for all charges that also has no exchange fees, it was accepted everywhere.

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Posted (edited)

Fouremco....I am going to look into the Stack Master card.  At the moment we use our Home Trust card in a similar way however Home charges 1.5 percent on cash advances.   NO FX charge and no home bank ATM charge.  As we travel, we keep a credit balance on our card and thus avoid any interest on the cash advance.  When we do withdraw money it is typically $500-$600 at a time so it is fairly simple to keep track of the account.  We currently have 2 mastercards-the Costco version and the Capital One aspire.  I need to find out if we simply add the Stack app to them.

 

We cannot recall having an issue with chip/pin cards in the last ten years.  Anywhere.  From Africa, through Europe, and in SE Asia.  What has surprised us over the years is the acceptance and use by some very small merchants in back of beyond places.  Occasionally we have  input our pin numbers but have also been  asked for a signature.  We really do not care just as long as our card is accepted.

Edited by iancal

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23 hours ago, catl331 said:

4 digit is fine as long as the first digit is not zero

 

Not true. I have used my debit card at ATMs in many, many countries over the past 13 years with the same pin starting with a zero and have never had a problem.

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In London and Norway in December, I used my Apple Watch for almost all purchases....food, books, souvenirs, etc.....also on the 

London Underground.  It was very easy to use and most places were experienced with it.  At one or two, the salesperson was surprised to be asked, not sure, but when it went through easily we were both pleased.

 

at a Museum in London, I had no problem using it for admission but my purchases at the museum shop exceeded their limit so a regular chip and sign pin was still needed.

 

in Stockholm last summer we used it in a coffee shop with a “No Cash Accepted” sign!

 

Barbara M. In NH

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I should add that Apple Pay via my watch was fine with cabs in London and all over Norway.

 

Barbara M.

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9 hours ago, caribill said:

I have a debit card that has a PIN starting with zero. I have had no problem using it at overseas ATMs.

 

1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

Not true. I have used my debit card at ATMs in many, many countries over the past 13 years with the same pin starting with a zero and have never had a problem.

Okay, then I guess I changed my PIN years ago for no reason!  I believed what I had read somewhere on-line.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, catl331 said:

 

Okay, then I guess I changed my PIN years ago for no reason!  I believed what I had read somewhere on-line.

There are dozens and dozens of travel and other websites that address this issue. While it appears that the "no leading zero" is an urban legend, and that there really is no problem having a leading zero today, if in fact there ever was, the Bank of America perpetuates the myth on its website. Maybe that's where you read it.

 

Tip: Before you leave, check your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Some international ATMs only support four-digit PINs. Be sure your PIN doesn’t start with a zero, and know your PIN by its numbers, since some international ATMs do not have letters on the keypad.

 

https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/en/saving-budgeting/how-to-pay-when-traveling-abroad

Edited by Fouremco

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I'm glad I stopped here and read about this.  My Amex said the code above my cc # IS the pin merchants would be asking for.  And if I were to get cash from the card, that is the pin I set on the acct.   And there are NO foreign transaction fees with my Amex.  So all good info.  Thanks for this post. 

 

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21 hours ago, Fouremco said:

Hank, I agree completely. I've never had a prepaid card previously, for the reasons you mention and a few others besides, but this card is perfect for foreign cash withdrawal. The only time it will come out of my wallet will be when I'm abroad withdrawing funds from an ATM. 

In the USA  we cal them  DEBIT cards,   that are not  credit cards per se   They draw on your savings or checking account.  The bank extends no credit or  charge ability over an above what you have in the bank to draw on.    I agree its the only smart way to access cash from an ATM anywhere.           Carrying a  good high limit credit card is a very wise thing as mentioned as an insurance policy       Speaking of Insurance, if you charged  your  cruise , flight  or any portion of that trip  many credit cards will insure you  for up to $20.000. pp cancellation, lost luggage, medical help, theft, rental car damage..almost any loss except  from acts  of war.       You might check that out

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In the USA  we cal them  DEBIT cards,   that are not  credit cards per se   They draw on your savings or checking account.  The bank extends no credit or  charge ability over an above what you have in the bank to draw on. 

 

Not necessarily.  You CAN get a Visa card and give the bank $500 and they put it on the Visa card.  It has nothing to do with your checking or savings account.  It is a 'pre-paid' credit card.  FYI

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2 hours ago, CruiseGal999 said:

I'm glad I stopped here and read about this.  My Amex said the code above my cc # IS the pin merchants would be asking for.  And if I were to get cash from the card, that is the pin I set on the acct.   And there are NO foreign transaction fees with my Amex.  So all good info.  Thanks for this post. 

 

 

Please check again with AMEX.   It is true that you get no foreign transaction fee.... BUT  that is only for credit card charges to a merchant.   If you use the card to get CASH they call that  a CASH ADVANCE    and you get hit with huge fees and interest that accrues the second you get the ADVANCE.       Please call them and  ask what they charge for a cash advance....   If they say nothing...then fine.    None of my CC cards give cahs advance without  big fees...       Please check  

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

 

Please check again with AMEX.   It is true that you get no foreign transaction fee.... BUT  that is only for credit card charges to a merchant.   If you use the card to get CASH they call that  a CASH ADVANCE    and you get hit with huge fees and interest that accrues the second you get the ADVANCE.       Please call them and  ask what they charge for a cash advance....   If they say nothing...then fine.    None of my CC cards give cahs advance without  big fees...       Please check  

 

Oh, they did tell me that.  I don't get cash advances ... not unless it is a DIRE emergency over in Europe.  But yes, the second the money comes out of the ATM the % begins and there are fees/charges, etc. I think he said 3% or $5 whichever is greater, for EACH withdrawal/transaction.   I'll do what I can to avoid cash advances. 

 

Edited by CruiseGal999

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5 minutes ago, CruiseGal999 said:

In the USA  we cal them  DEBIT cards,   that are not  credit cards per se   They draw on your savings or checking account.  The bank extends no credit or  charge ability over an above what you have in the bank to draw on. 

 

Not necessarily.  You CAN get a Visa card and give the bank $500 and they put it on the Visa card.  It has nothing to do with your checking or savings account.  It is a 'pre-paid' credit card.  FYI

 

5 minutes ago, CruiseGal999 said:

In the USA  we cal them  DEBIT cards,   that are not  credit cards per se   They draw on your savings or checking account.  The bank extends no credit or  charge ability over an above what you have in the bank to draw on. 

 

Not necessarily.  You CAN get a Visa card and give the bank $500 and they put it on the Visa card.  It has nothing to do with your checking or savings account.  It is a 'pre-paid' credit card.  FYI

 Ok,    however, it is pretty much like a debit card then.....semantics  you say prepaid  I say debit... no big deal   same principal.

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11 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

In the USA  we cal them  DEBIT cards,   that are not  credit cards per se   They draw on your savings or checking account. 

No, a debit card and a prepaid credit card are very different animals. With the latter, you aren't drawing on your savings or checking account and you can deposit funds directly to the card from an entirely different financial institution. It's a question of two different cards that operate in very different way, not a question of semantics. 

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7 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

No, a debit card and a prepaid credit card are very different animals. With the latter, you aren't drawing on your savings or checking account and you can deposit funds directly to the card from an entirely different financial institution. It's a question of two different cards that operate in very different way, not a question of semantics. 

 

THANK YOU .... I wasn't going to argue and continue pursuing the issue.  But I really appreciate your clarifying the differences.  That was what I was trying to impress upon, also.  

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6 hours ago, CruiseGal999 said:

I'm glad I stopped here and read about this.  My Amex said the code above my cc # IS the pin merchants would be asking for.  And if I were to get cash from the card, that is the pin I set on the acct.   And there are NO foreign transaction fees with my Amex.  So all good info.  Thanks for this post. 

 

 

I would double-check again.  The 4 digits above the CC number is the CCV number, the same as the 3 digits on the back of Visa/MC/Discover cards.  If you check into a hotel or rent a car or buy something, if you use your CC, they will ask for you CCV or "magic numbers."  Totally different from a PIN.  It is a little way to be more sure that the person using the card (in person or on th phone) is the holder of the card.  It would be rather stupid to have a PIN printed right on your CC...

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1 hour ago, slidergirl said:

 

I would double-check again.  The 4 digits above the CC number is the CCV number, the same as the 3 digits on the back of Visa/MC/Discover cards.  If you check into a hotel or rent a car or buy something, if you use your CC, they will ask for you CCV or "magic numbers."  Totally different from a PIN.  It is a little way to be more sure that the person using the card (in person or on th phone) is the holder of the card.  It would be rather stupid to have a PIN printed right on your CC...

 

Hey ... I asked the guy on the phone 6 different ways.  that is the only answer I got from him regarding a 'pin' number that merchants want.  I said over and over that I am referring being IN person and he insisted.  Is he wrong?  Wouldn't be the first Cus Svc Rep that was giving out wrong info.  I guess I can call on Monday and see if I get another person and get better info.  

 

Either way ... I HAVE a pin # associated with this card and can give it/use it, if necessary.

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We like the convenience of having a debit card for use at an ATM while traveling, but I did not like having it connected to my checking account.  So we opened a separate account with ATM at our bank.  We keep the minimum (about $1500, I think) in it and use it only for cash while traveling.  Of course, we carry regular credit cards as well, but this makes me more comfortable.  

 

Barbara M. In NH

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1 hour ago, CruiseGal999 said:

 

Hey ... I asked the guy on the phone 6 different ways.  that is the only answer I got from him regarding a 'pin' number that merchants want.  I said over and over that I am referring being IN person and he insisted.  Is he wrong?  Wouldn't be the first Cus Svc Rep that was giving out wrong info.  I guess I can call on Monday and see if I get another person and get better info.  

 

Either way ... I HAVE a pin # associated with this card and can give it/use it, if necessary.

Let them know you asking about the PIN, not the CCV.  the PIN isn't for "in person", it's for using in a machine.  At some places, "in person" they will have you put your card in a machine - your AMEX PIN won't work and you'll have to sign.  The PIN for a Chip & PIN card is hard-coded and you don't choose or can't can't change without getting another card (at least that's what I've heard).  The other PIN you can change or choose.  

 

confused yet?

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8 minutes ago, slidergirl said:

Let them know you asking about the PIN, not the CCV.  the PIN isn't for "in person", it's for using in a machine.  At some places, "in person" they will have you put your card in a machine - your AMEX PIN won't work and you'll have to sign.  The PIN for a Chip & PIN card is hard-coded and you don't choose or can't can't change without getting another card (at least that's what I've heard).  The other PIN you can change or choose.  

 

confused yet?

 

Totally ... oh well.  Maybe I won't have any money to spend when I travel and I'll save a lot of $$$ 

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11 hours ago, Avery's Gram said:

We like the convenience of having a debit card for use at an ATM while traveling, but I did not like having it connected to my checking account.  So we opened a separate account with ATM at our bank.  We keep the minimum (about $1500, I think) in it and use it only for cash while traveling.  Of course, we carry regular credit cards as well, but this makes me more comfortable.  

 

Barbara M. In NH

I do the same 

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One last thing that no one has mentioned.

 

At a lot of places now the CC machine asks you for which currency to do the transaction. Always pick the local one, that way your CC or Bank controls the exchange rate. If you pick the USD option then the merchant's bank is doing the exchange, usually at a very poor rate.

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