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USA EMV cards: Availability, Q&A (Chip & PIN -or- Chip & Signature) [2012-2015]

USA EMV cards: Availability, Q&A (Chip & PIN -or- Chip & Signature) [2012-2015]

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Old Jan 15, 16, 11:38 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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Wiki Link
Posts from 1/1/16 onward can be found here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credi...signature.html

EMV wikipost volunteers: kebosabi

What is EMV?
EMV is a defacto global standard of technology where there is a visible microchip on the front of the card. It looks like this:

Who issues them?
See Google Docs spreadsheet in Post #1

SFOAMS also has created a list of excellent webpage that shows US EMV cards in a more interactive interface

Another site, which lets you narrow the search for an EMV card by various parameters, is http://www.spotterswiki.com/emv/index.php.

Several credit unions issue some form of Chip-and-PIN credit cards or prepaid cards. Prepaid EMV cards however are not recommended due to junk fees. USAA (currently restricted to members of military) used to offer Chip-and-PIN cards, but as late has backtracked to Chip-and-Signature priority.

Hey that's a cool Google Docs list! I know others that aren't on that list. How can I help by adding them to the list?
My bad for not putting this into the wiki sooner. Right now, the Google Docs is locked out of editing and only in "read-only" view because there were instances in the past where people would just delete the rows not thinking that it affects others viewing the list.

If you promise not to delete any rows and input all the pertinent info (annual fee, rewards, FTF, etc.), I can provide you with edit access. Just shoot me a PM to kebosabi with your gmail address and I'll provide you edit access.

Thanks for helping out!


As of October 2014, no USA-based card issuer offers Chip-and-PIN priority cards except for BMO Harris (Diners Club) and UN Federal Credit Union. Other major USA-based banks such as BofA, Chase, Citi, as well as others issue Chip-and-Signature cards which may work at many automated kiosks. However, bear in mind the word may is used above is a context where there is no absolute certainty of success for certain environments such as automated kiosks due to different natures of offline and online transactions. It is highly recommended to read Post #3 which lists real life FTer examples on how Chip-and-Signature worked and did not work at various transaction environments.

Can I upgrade it right now?
If it's listed on that Google Docs spreadsheet or SFOAMS' Silk page, wouldn't hurt to call/twitter them for a free upgrade. If you get the response you don't like, hang up, try again.

What is the difference between Chip-and-Signature and Chip-and-PIN?
You insert the chipped card into the slot. The physical contact terminal will read the EMV chip and the terminal will automatically read the preferred cardholder verification methods (called CVM) for that card.

Chip-and-Signature means that the terminal will printout a receipt for you to sign. This is the most prevalent authentication for most US issued EMV cards. Chip-and-Signature helps in a way that it will get through to face-to-face merchant transactions where you and the merchant do not speak the same language.

Chip-and-PIN means that the terminal will prompt you to input a PIN for authentication. Some credit union issued credit cards will have this CVM as secondary if Chip-and-Signature cannot be done. Chip-and-PIN is the more prevalent method of authentication used outside the US, especially in transaction environments where no human interaction is needed (i.e. automated gas pumps, toll roads, train kiosks, etc.).

The Google Docs spreadsheet will list which CVM are used in the EMV cards listed. Some cards can only do Chip-and-Signature. Other cards can do both Chip-and-Signature and Chip-and-PIN. And others might have a third option called No CVM (no authentication needed) which is reserved for low value transactions.

One chip can hold a lot more data, therefore it is capable of doing multiple verification methods. That's one of the great things about EMV over the mag-stripe which can hold very little data.

I want to know for sure what my EMV chip does. Is there anyway I can test out my own EMV card to see what the CVM list is?
alexmt has written up a nice step-by-step procedure on Post #3615.

If most of the EMV cards in the US is the Chip-and-Signature type, doesn't that mean it's still useless abroad?
Depends if you see it as glass half empty or glass half full. See Post #3 for further details on how Chip-and-Signature has worked both successfully and unsuccessfully depending on the merchant transaction environment and use your best judgment whether which one is right for you.

Are there any places in the US that are accepting transactions via the EMV chip?
tmiw has created a dedicated Google maps webpage to show where EMV has been proven to work here: http://emvacceptedhere.com/ Per his Post #4240, feel free to add any places with active EMV terminals if you come across one.

As of 2014/05, the EMV terminals in most Walmarts and Sam's Clubs are being turned on. Hence, the best place to try them out would be your local Walmart or Sam's Club. For other merchants, it's slowly being phased in.

I hope people will post them in the Post your receipt of your 1st EMV based transaction in the US thread. cvarming has shown us an EMV transaction receipt from Brooklyn, NY in Post #2380. I myself had my first EMV based (Chip-and-Signature) transaction in two stores in the Los Angeles area, as shown in detail in Post #2705 (courtesy of WhatWhatTech for pointing these two stores out)

I don't want a chip in my card. I heard horror stories all over the media saying hackers can steal my credit card info from a mile away.
There are two types of chips. One is contactless and the other is contact. Cards can be either one or the other, or both.

In the Google Docs spreadsheet, the cards that are capable of contactless payments are listed seperately under the "RFID or NFC contactless chip" column. If it says yes, then that means it has the ability to do contactless payments. If it says no, it doesn't have that feature.

The one that the media has overhyped about hackers "stealing your information wirelessly" was the contactless type like this:

You are worried about this happening, right?

You don't have to worry. EMV is a chip standard that can have both contact and contactless interfaces. With the traditional contact interface, this means you actually have to physically insert the chip into a POS terminal for it to be authorized, like this:

With the contact interface, nothing is wireless. No data is sent out in a stand-alone contact type EMV chip. With the EMV contactless interface, data is sent wirelessly.

Furthermore, contactless chip cards are required to show a symbol (looks like Wi-Fi symbol) somewhere on the card that to denote it's capability as a contactless card. For example, here's an example of a Discover Card with contactless capability (in which Discover calls "Discover ZIP") showing the contactless symbol on the back of the card:

Don't believe everything that the media says. Besides, millions of people all over the world from London to Singapore, uses contactless payments daily in extremely crowded subways and mass transit with nary any problems. There are multiple layers of encrypted securities and keys that are needed to break the code.

Frankly, giving your physical card to a waiter/waitress who takes the card out of your view is much more susceptible to fraud than contactless payments.

Why should I care?
If you are an international traveler, you will want this because majority of the world has or in the process of converting to this payment format.


In fact, in 2012, even North Korea moved to the EMV format, leaving the US as one of the countries in the world that hasn't done so.

In addition, VISA, MC, AMEX, and Discover have all agreed to incentivize the USA shifting to EMV payments by 2015 by shifting liability for fraudulent transactions to merchants if they do not have EMV equipment and the cardholder has an EMV card. So if you travel internationally or would like to get one before the others, you might be interested in getting one.


BS! I had no problems using my card in [insert whereever country], [insert whatever point in time]
If you stick to the tourist path where they have lots of visitors from the US, you should have no problems using your mag-stripe only card in hotels and restaurants, at least for now. But as things can change as things go forward.

However, consider that once you start taking the off-beaten path, go to non-touristy places where they are not familiar with mag-stripes, rent a car and use toll roads, fill up gas, or try to buy train tickets you might end up into a trouble of the machine not recognizing your card because it lacks the chip. Furthermore, a lot of toll roads, gas pumps, and automated ticket machines lack any human assistance to help you when you need it the most.

But [insert credit card company] told me all merchants that display their logo must accept them! All I have to do is report them for violating their agreements, right?
There are several factors against this.

1. You can only speak English. The merchant representative, most likely a part-time clerk earning minimum wage, speaks in a different language, let's say French. If you have no French language skills, how are you going to get your point across? Are you going to whip out your cell phone at exorbitant int'l roaming charges and hope the customer service is going to translate it for you on the spot? Or maybe you might actually know French. But how about Swahili, Farsi, Balinese, or the multiple languages in mainland China?

2. Just like US, the rest of the world's businesses uses part-time minimum wage workers as cashiers to cut down on labor costs. Most of their SOP training manuals are written by MBA types to not to do anything they are not familiar with. Do not expect them to understand the intricate details of credit card mumbo jumbo. You don't expect Taco Bell employees to understand the minute details of Discover-JCB-Union Pay agreements, right? Same thing the other way around: be respectful as a guest in their country, prepare in advance in their ways, avoid being an "ugly American" stereotype.

3. You are a guest in their country. You are a minority. If 99.9% of their country's people and other tourists from around the world uses EMV, do you really think they are going to accomodate the 0.1% of American tourists who only have mag-stripes credit cards?

4. Again, you are a guest in their country. How would you, as an American standing in line, react if a Chinese tourist was clogging up the lines at a local Taco Bell because the clerk doesn't understand the Discover-Union Pay agreement and has trouble communicating between Mandarin spoken by the tourist and English spoken by the Taco Bell clerk? Same way the other way around. You do not want to clog up the lines for everyone. The less hassle, the better.

5. VISA and MC make tons of money from merchants in that country. Say SNCF French Rail. It's a billion dollar company in France. Do you think VISA is going to pull the plug of their relationship with SNCF because SNCF refuses to do mag-stripe processing at their unmanned train station kiosk? Of course not. Be realistic.

6. And lastly, if you're up against an unstaffed toll kiosk, gas pump or train ticket machine, are you going to yell curses at the machine?

But I want my credit card to be able to be used in the US too!
No worries. They have not gotten rid of the mag-stripe on the back of the card for backward compatibility reasons, just like we still have embossed numbers on our cards for backwards compatibility to using those old carbon copy imprinters.

[insert own Hyatt card image front and back together with red arrows pointing to all the backward compatibility features]

You use the chip on the front of the card abroad (for now), and the mag-stripe just like any other card for the US. Basically, you're increasing your credit card's acceptance rate by getting a card that both via the chip and the mag-stripe. You're getting a better deal for free.

And when 2015 comes along and US switches to EMV, you'll be way ahead of everyone else too!


So why did the rest of the world and the US moved/moving toward EMV?
Primarily, due to fraud concerns. You see, the mag-stripe has been with us since the 1950s. It may have been the most high tech thing back in the day, but with the technology that is available today, any shmo can pick up a $100 USB magnetic card skimming device off of eBay and get your credit card info.

And unlike skimming off contactless cards which actually need the person to have l33t programming skills, skimming off a magnetic stripe has become so ubiquitous that nary a day goes about skimming fraud going on somewhere in America, from gas pumps, Michael's stores (2011), Target breaches (2013), restaurant waiters/waitresses, to even McDonald's drive thrus.

https://www.google.com/search?q=skimming+fraud

These type of fraud used to be prevalent in Europe. But once they started switching over to EMV starting over 2 decades ago, this type of fraud went elsewhere. It went over to Asia, Canada and Mexico, Latin America, etc. etc. until they too began implementing EMV to combat skimming fraud. The US is practically the only country left that hasn't done so, therefore all the fraud that used to take place elsewhere is now happening here.


But EMV is old and it's not fool proof. Shouldn't we just skip over it and do something new instead?
Yes, EMV is old. It was developed in the 1990s and its smart card payment predecessor was first introduced in France. But as of today, it has become the defacto global standard of payments.

But then, what else is there? There is no other de facto global standard of payments alternative. For example, if we decide to skip over it and do something new, hypothetically like DNA matching technology, it still means US int'l travelers will continue to have problems abroad with useless plastic acceptance because no other country is using this DNA matching technology except the US.

Besides, nothing is fool proof. You can say that the bank vault isn't fool proof because you can crack it open if enough C4 is used. But your average low-life scumbag isn't likely to get military grade C4 easily either. But the bank vault does make it harder to get the bank's money over say a petty cash box. That's the point here. EMV is akin to a security tight bank vault, the old mag-stripe is akin to a petty cash box lying around inside the drawer.


I'm a business owner and I don't think EMV is going to take off. I'm not going to spend extra hundreds of dollars to upgrade my credit card machine. Convince me other wise why I should.
I can understand the added extra cost to your business once this switchover takes place. But before even saying that, look at your existing POS terminal. Does it have a slot somewhere to insert a card?

Most likely, if you had replaced your POS terminal within the past five years, you already have an EMV capable terminal. EMV is basically just not turned on yet from the processor and acquirer side.

If you have an EMV capable terminal, then a best bet would be to contact your acquirer to have the EMV feature turned on. You did your end of the deal already by having an EMV capable terminal, it is now the acquirers' responsibility to turn it on in accordance to the EMV switchover mandate.

And if you don't, you are going to replace your POS terminal anyway from common wear and tear. It isn't a hard switch-over. You can continue to use your POS terminal until it dies out because EMV cardholders will still have the mag-stripe on the back. And by the time your non-EMV capable POS terminal is up for replacement the market will be full with these newer POS terminals that can accept the mag-stripe, EMV, as well as contactless payments.

In addition, you may also want to check with your acquirer or processor about EMV capable terminals. Some of them are willing to replace your terminal for free in preparation for the US EMV switchover. Call and ask for details.


But what's in it for me? I'm the one that has to pay for the upgrade.
All the major card networks have given incentives for merchants for the upcoming EMV switchover.

If 75% or more of your credit card transactions are done on an EMV contact and contactless terminal, they are going to waive your annual PCI-DSS fees, which usually costs you around $5.00-$19.95/month per terminal. The overall long term cost savings of those compliance fees will be larger than the cost of an one time upgrade for the terminal.

The downside is that once EMV switchover happens and if you do not have a POS terminal that is able to accept EMV, the fraud liability shifts over to the merchant.

I own several fast food franchises. If I upgrade my POS terminals at all of my restaurants, it's going to cost me thousands, if not millions. I don't think anyone is going to use a fake credit card to buy $5 burgers. And if they do, wouldn't it be cheaper for me to eat the fraud cost?
Remember also that fraud isn't just committed by dishonest customers using fraudulent cards. Fraud can also happen with dishonest employees skimming off credit card data from the mag-stripe as in the case of a teenage McDonald's drive thru employee skimming off $13,000 of customers' credit cards in Olympia, WA. Consider the public relations fall out that your business may have if this happens (i.e. the big Target breach of 2013, where someone used a mag stripe card to load malware INTO Target's system). Is it worth risking to take such a huge PR disaster?
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Old Jan 18, 15, 9:09 pm
  #9286  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
If they stick to major chains or tourist areas then yeah (pretty much what chip and signature is like now). The big question is what will happen when one goes off the beaten path. There may be hope though if more merchants start becoming capable of processing debit cards over the PIN networks instead of just Visa/MC.
Which is what I said, a lot like chip and signature cards are in Europe. The occasional refusal if a restaurant literally has their terminal in the back (employees only area), but that's rare - normally they're at a host's station. So just the headache of being marched up to enter your PIN.

Possibly the occasional outright refusal in high crime areas where bulletproof glass is used to isolate the customer from the service provider, but that'd be it.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 9:22 pm
  #9287  
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Originally Posted by AllieKat View Post
Which is what I said, a lot like chip and signature cards are in Europe. The occasional refusal if a restaurant literally has their terminal in the back (employees only area), but that's rare - normally they're at a host's station. So just the headache of being marched up to enter your PIN.

Possibly the occasional outright refusal in high crime areas where bulletproof glass is used to isolate the customer from the service provider, but that'd be it.
Speaking of host stations...

Mobility will be important as restaurants will likely be required to complete chip and pin payments without taking credit and debit cards away from the table in the near future. In Europe and Canada, where they have been using the EMV standard for nearly a decade, restaurants are required to complete card transactions without taking cards away from the table. Many industry experts expect to see similar practices become mandates in the United States. For instance, in a recent webinar about EMV, Heartland and the National Restaurant Assocaition strongly encourage restaurant owners to consider POS systems that offer, or plan to offer, hardware and software that can support tableside payments.
I didn't know that was a Visa/MC mandate (or possibly by law?). I kinda figured it was because it would be a logistical nightmare to switch to pay at front or make people go to a host station.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 10:29 pm
  #9288  
 
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Originally Posted by ztweetie View Post
My debit card was due to expire, I just got my new card in the mail not too long ago and it is a Chip and Signature, the PIN works in europe at railway stations (used in Scottland). Perhaps the person you spoke to was not aware. I didn't request a chip card, it was sent to me as part of my debit card renewal.
I sent a customer "secure message" off to Wells Fargo to ask about this and just got a reply. Apparently EMV debit cards are part of a limited pilot right now and they will not issue EMV debit cards to existing customers on request.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 10:35 pm
  #9289  
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Originally Posted by bullfrog View Post
I sent a customer "secure message" off to Wells Fargo to ask about this and just got a reply. Apparently EMV debit cards are part of a limited pilot right now and they will not issue EMV debit cards to existing customers on request.
EMV debit is still a little iffy in the US at the moment. Even BoA ATMs still use the magstripe if it detects a BoA debit card. And in my limited experience terminals just use the Visa Debit AID and not US Debit if the transaction doesn't lock up the terminal (*cough*Walmart*cough*).
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Old Jan 18, 15, 11:34 pm
  #9290  
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Originally Posted by AllieKat View Post
Off topic, but there's really people on FlyerTalk who follow the bizarre advice of Rick Steves to use those silly money belt things? I feel just as comfortable, or more comfortable, with my purse in other countries as I do in the US. I wouldn't use one in America, I sure won't use them in another country either, LOL!
Yes, I use a money belt when travelling. I've only had trouble in Beijing and Italy, and both times it was grabbing visible cash rather than more sophisticated pickpocketing or outright mugging. Even so, I think it is good advice as losing your passport is a major PITA, and losing all your cards is almost as bad.

For the record, I use the money belt for my passport, a spare set of cards (credit and debit/ATM), my emergency cash (dollars) and whatever local cash I don't intend to spend that day. My wallet has one days worth of local cash, plus one or two credit cards. It only has a debit card if I am on my way to an ATM or I am returning from one.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 11:48 pm
  #9291  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
Speaking of host stations...

In Europe and Canada, where they have been using the EMV standard for nearly a decade, restaurants are required to complete card transactions without taking cards away from the table.
I didn't know that was a Visa/MC mandate (or possibly by law?). I kinda figured it was because it would be a logistical nightmare to switch to pay at front or make people go to a host station.
I'd like to see a cite for this "requirement." Restaurants throughout Greece have not problems taking credit cards away from a table, if needed. Wireless card readers are not as prevalent as say France, especially outside of major cities.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 12:20 am
  #9292  
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger View Post
Is a passport demanded THAT often for European sig transactions?
Whenever ID was requested, my US driver's license was always accepted. I've only had to show my passport at hotels, and that is only requested in some countries (e.g. Portugal).
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Old Jan 19, 15, 3:36 am
  #9293  
 
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Originally Posted by Vid View Post
Yes, I use a money belt when travelling. I've only had trouble in Beijing and Italy, and both times it was grabbing visible cash rather than more sophisticated pickpocketing or outright mugging. Even so, I think it is good advice as losing your passport is a major PITA, and losing all your cards is almost as bad.

For the record, I use the money belt for my passport, a spare set of cards (credit and debit/ATM), my emergency cash (dollars) and whatever local cash I don't intend to spend that day. My wallet has one days worth of local cash, plus one or two credit cards. It only has a debit card if I am on my way to an ATM or I am returning from one.
Interesting. I usually keep a passport at the place I'm staying, if there's somewhere I feel it is safe to do so, and one extra card. I'm carrying with me a passport (the one I entered the country on, so in case of a police stop all matches up), the rest of my wallet, my debit card, etc.

Not any different from here really, except I often don't carry a passport with me in the US anymore. It's been a couple years since it came in handy (when I last needed proof of citizenship unexpectedly) and I just have decided to keep it at home safely (less wear).
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Old Jan 19, 15, 10:26 am
  #9294  
 
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I don't see what the hubbub is about refusing PIN cards in the US. Most large scale merchants have customer facing PIN pads, so that point is moot. As for restaurants, most waiters and managers are so nice, that I'm sure they wouldn't mind the occasional walk up to enter your PIN. What worries me is that some employees will be dumbfounded and pull a "we don't take debit here" when in reality it was really a Chip & PIN credit card.

I'm glad to see the rise of customer facing PIN pads at stores that didn't have it before, such as Rubio's, UPS store, Panera, The Body Shop, and Subway. Though these may also be because of Apple Pay, at least it also makes using a PIN card in the US, very easy.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 11:16 am
  #9295  
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Originally Posted by RedLight2015 View Post
I don't see what the hubbub is about refusing PIN cards in the US. Most large scale merchants have customer facing PIN pads, so that point is moot. As for restaurants, most waiters and managers are so nice, that I'm sure they wouldn't mind the occasional walk up to enter your PIN. What worries me is that some employees will be dumbfounded and pull a "we don't take debit here" when in reality it was really a Chip & PIN credit card.

I'm glad to see the rise of customer facing PIN pads at stores that didn't have it before, such as Rubio's, UPS store, Panera, The Body Shop, and Subway. Though these may also be because of Apple Pay, at least it also makes using a PIN card in the US, very easy.
It may ultimately work out well in the end. I just ended up being the first person that I know of to actually have a PIN card rejected in the US so understandably I'm a bit more sensitive to the possibility.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 11:17 am
  #9296  
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Originally Posted by Vid View Post
Yes, I use a money belt when travelling. I've only had trouble in Beijing and Italy, and both times it was grabbing visible cash rather than more sophisticated pickpocketing or outright mugging. Even so, I think it is good advice as losing your passport is a major PITA, and losing all your cards is almost as bad.

For the record, I use the money belt for my passport, a spare set of cards (credit and debit/ATM), my emergency cash (dollars) and whatever local cash I don't intend to spend that day. My wallet has one days worth of local cash, plus one or two credit cards. It only has a debit card if I am on my way to an ATM or I am returning from one.
How does a passport fit in a money belt? The ones I remember seeing were only big enough for bills and cards.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 11:48 am
  #9297  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
It may ultimately work out well in the end. I just ended up being the first person that I know of to actually have a PIN card rejected in the US so understandably I'm a bit more sensitive to the possibility.
Frankly, not that understandable to me, sorry. I think you should be placing a lot more blame on the rogue merchant and a lot less blame on your card. Regardless, being an early adopter of anything probably isn't for you if you can't handle the occasional growing pains and glitches.

Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
How does a passport fit in a money belt? The ones I remember seeing were only big enough for bills and cards.
Not in the Rick Steves era. Rick Steves, while I'm sure most of you know but just in case anyone doesn't, is this utterly bizarre man who gives literally the worst possible travel advice. His focus is Europe and he treats a trip to Europe as something to be conquered - like a venture into some unknown land of savages. I have literally zero respect for the man, and the giant monstrosity money belts that look awfully uncomfortable you're expected to wear to hide your passport and stuff are just part of that "excuse me cashier, you asked for my passport, okay let me just reach in my pants to get that for you." What a nut.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 11:50 am
  #9298  
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Originally Posted by AllieKat View Post
Frankly, not that understandable to me, sorry. I think you should be placing a lot more blame on the rogue merchant and a lot less blame on your card. Regardless, being an early adopter of anything probably isn't for you if you can't handle the occasional growing pains and glitches.
Sensitive to the possibility of more merchants causing issues, I meant.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 11:56 am
  #9299  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
Sensitive to the possibility of more merchants causing issues, I meant.
Then, frankly, you should be encouraging more PIN cards to be issued, not less. Merchants don't refuse things they see often.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by Vid View Post
Whenever ID was requested, my US driver's license was always accepted. I've only had to show my passport at hotels, and that is only requested in some countries (e.g. Portugal).
I carry a color photocopy of my passport. In the few times I've been challenged for ID in Europe, that was enough.
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