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Nickynac

Taking cards but can we use them ?

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Our Capital One Mastercards have the touch & pay capability and worked on the Oyster Card machine at Heathrow Airport, in restaurants all over England, in Taxi cabs in Southampton and everywhere we wanted to use them in Norway.  Some machines that did not have the touch & pay capability, so they had us sign a receipt.  No issues.  We are thrilled with Capital One's customer service as well.

 

We had a couple of cab drivers in Southampton that didn't want to accept credit cards, even though they had machines.  Our fare must not have been large enough for it to be worthwhile to them.  

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On 5/13/2019 at 10:03 PM, Tucker in Texas said:

We did run into a minor problem with the credit cards and restaurants.  They advertised on the door that they accepted them but when you went to pay the "machine was down" or some other such story and they wanted cash.  We would even ask before ordering if a credit card was acceptable.  So be prepared to pay in cash if necessary but somehow that machine would break down while we were eating (lol).

I had this happen in Amsterdam, after having verified before ordering like you that they accepted credit cards. 

 

When they came up with the "machine is down" story i explained that that was their problem, not mine as I had been assured that I'd be able to pay with the card. They figured out how to make the machine work.

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On 4/29/2019 at 7:30 AM, waltd said:

The extra tips only work if the crew gets back to that country again to use them.    I had one room steward complain that his only tips from one passenger were in Russian Rubles which were useless.   

You took the words right off the tips of my fingers!  Also someone mentioned that s/he was charge 12 cents and I assume that was per dollar changed.  If so, that's 12% which is outrageous!  We always have some Euros left from trips and because we used to go to Brazil a good bit, we had their local currency also (enough for a taxi to our apartment.)  I have seen a number of airports that have boxes where you can donate local currency to a charity.  Pretty good idea.

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On ‎4‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 12:28 PM, cadreamer said:

Are there any banks in the US that issue chip and PIN cards? I have not found any. Chip and a PIN would be very convenient for bus/metro/train tickets. I also read in Rick Steve's that there is a kiosk for Vasa tix which only takes chip and PIN. Lines to buy with other credit crds can get long. Thanks.

Chip/PIN are a bit difficult to find I the USA, but they do exist.  Andrews Federal Credit Union issues a Visa card that has a PIN, but automatic priority is given to using signature.  This means if there is an option for the use of signatures (such as at restaurants or stores) the transaction will normally require a signature.  But if used in a venue that only accepts a Chip/PIN card it will work with the PIN.   CapitalOne also will issue a PIN for their Master Card.  What is nice about both the Andrews and CapitalOne cards are that both charge ZERO foreign exchange fees and both cards have no annual fees.

 

As to how often you really must have a Chip/PIN card (as opposed to Chip/Signature cards more popular in the USA) we have only run into a few instances where we had to use our PIN.  One case involved the use of railroad ticket vending machine in Italy, but there was also a nearby ticket window where one could have used a chip Signature.  The other case was in a restaurant where the cashier simply had no idea how to handle a chip/signature card (this happened a few years ago).

 

Another issue which caused us some real grief was on some of the toll roads (mostly in the Northern half of the country) where none of our North American cards (we tried 5) would work.  But our cards were fine on the toll roads in the Southern half of the country.  We later learned that the French government had turned over the operation of the toll roads to two private companies.  The one that handled most of the roads in the South could handle US/Canadian credit cards.  But the company that got the contract for most of the roads in the North failed to negotiate a deal that would allow them to accept our cards (including MC, Visa and AMEX).  Whether this issue has since been resolved is not known to us.

 

Hank

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16 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Chip/PIN are a bit difficult to find I the USA, but they do exist. 

CapitalOne also will issue a PIN for their Master Card.  What is nice about both the Andrews and CapitalOne cards are that both charge ZERO foreign exchange fees and both cards have no annual fees.

 

Hank

Hello Hank,

When I called CapitalOne before we left, they told me that if I used my PIN, it would be considered a CASH ADVANCE and that fees would apply.  The gentleman that I spoke with said that applied to all of their cards.  

We didn't have any issues using our CapitalOne card without the PIN on our recent trip to England and Norway....not sure about the rest of the world. 😊

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40 minutes ago, jbmom2120 said:

Hello Hank,

When I called CapitalOne before we left, they told me that if I used my PIN, it would be considered a CASH ADVANCE and that fees would apply.  The gentleman that I spoke with said that applied to all of their cards.  

We didn't have any issues using our CapitalOne card without the PIN on our recent trip to England and Norway....not sure about the rest of the world. 😊

That is interesting and thanks for posting.  To be honest, despite having had a CapitalOne MC for over a decade we had no clue.  And we have never used that card with the PIN although we certainly have that PIN stored in our ole brain if needed.  The few times that we did use our PIN was only with our Andrews FCU card.  That particular card has gone from a love/hate relationship.  It was a difficult card to obtain as one has to jump through various hoops to join the Credit Union.  But this particular credit union is very popular with both the military and government employees who do a lot of International Travel or must live outside the USA for long periods of time.

 

Our tale of woe with Andrews has to do with their rate of exchange.  Until this last winter our Andrews Debit Card (we have both Debit and a Visa) was our card of choice for ATM transactions when out of the country.  The Debit card has no fees and USED to have terrific foreign exchange rates.  But suddenly, this past winter, that card started giving us exchange rates (while we were living in Mexico) that was nearly 10% below the normal card exchange rates that we could get with our other ATM cards.  Despite several phone calls and e-mails to Andrews we never got a decent explanation why their rate was so awful...except they blamed the "system."  We immediately stopped using that card, did not transfer any more money to the account, and switched to a different ATM card which saved us nearly 10% on every withdrawal (we live in Mexico for 10 weeks a year and need lots of Pesos).   I will give that Andrews card another try when we are in Europe to see if it is a similar situation with the Euro.

 

For most cruisers the issue of exchange rates and small bank fees are not a big deal as it might cost them only a few extra dollars on a cruise.  But we do a lot of International travel and the exchange rate/fees really add-up over the year.

 

Hank

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