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Old 04-16-2019, 03:27 PM
kanicbird is offline
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Chip and Pin credit card used in the US - what happens?


I've used a US credit card in Europe which perhaps 80% of the time accommodates the signature. Other times ignores the lack of pin and still other times refuses to work at all.

I was wondering what happens when someone with a card based on the chip and pin system tries to use it in a signature based system and society.
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:51 PM
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I would love an answer to this to.

Last time I went on vacay a find a nice hack in using apple pay though. That seemed to just work a lot of places and is faster than a card. Since in Europe and most of the world they physically bring you the card machine it's much easier to use apple pay at restaurants than in the US.
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:56 PM
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It's not going to work.
Many machines can handle chips (and I assume chip and PIN). These are going to be the same machines that work with Apple/Samsung Pay etc. Furthermore, there are chip (RFID) cards in the states. However, I can't say for sure if a foreign chip/PIN card will work in the states.
The best idea would be to call the credit card company and ask them to send you a card that will work in the states before traveling to the states.

Also, it should be noted that the chip in chip/pin cards is different than the EMV cards that most of have now with the gold contacts at one end.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:28 PM
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I've used my Canadian chip-and-pin credit card in the United States. It has a magnetic stripe as well as a chip, so it can be swiped or inserted. It still has embossed letters and numbers, so it could even be put into an old credit card imprinting machine.

In other words, in the US, my credit card works the same way it always has. If a signature is required, the merchant will indicate where to sign. A few merchants have had the chip-and-pin system in place, and I just enter my PIN.

It's a little weird (for me, nowadays) to be asked to sign the slip when I use my credit card in the US, but the card works just fine, and it's no big deal to add a signature.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
I've used my Canadian chip-and-pin credit card in the United States. It has a magnetic stripe as well as a chip, so it can be swiped or inserted. It still has embossed letters and numbers, so it could even be put into an old credit card imprinting machine.

In other words, in the US, my credit card works the same way it always has. If a signature is required, the merchant will indicate where to sign. A few merchants have had the chip-and-pin system in place, and I just enter my PIN.

It's a little weird (for me, nowadays) to be asked to sign the slip when I use my credit card in the US, but the card works just fine, and it's no big deal to add a signature.
This, with my NZ issued Visa in the US. Swipe, and sign.

Incidentally, if you don't have a PIN for your cc, many places in NZ will reject it, but otherwise I think you can still sign if you wish.
The machines will display something like Cheque Savings Credit to select the account to use, then ask you to enter your PIN. If it is credit, you can press OK at that point to sign the docket.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:54 PM
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Incidentally, if you don't have a PIN for your cc, many places in NZ will reject it, but otherwise I think you can still sign if you wish.
The machines will display something like Cheque Savings Credit to select the account to use, then ask you to enter your PIN. If it is credit, you can press OK at that point to sign the docket.
I didn't have a problem with my US signature card in New Zealand, but I suppose I used it at mostly tourist-friendly sites like holiday parks and restaurants, but also in grocery stores. Sometimes the clerk would act surprised, and say, "oh, it's asking for a signature."
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:41 PM
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I'm in the USA at the moment.

We've used several UK chip and pin cards while we are here, both debit and credit. No problems with any transaction. Sometimes just a swipe is needed. Sometimes my 4-digit PIN is required. Contactless works fine as well. I've never been asked for a signature the whole time I've been here.

Actually the only slight wrinkle is at fuel stations. In the UK it is common practice to fill-up first then go and pay inside. In the USA is seems this is not the case and when trying to use my CC at the pump it asks me for a ZIP cope. I don't have one of course so I have to go inside and pay before I fill up. A slight pain in the arse.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Actually the only slight wrinkle is at fuel stations. In the UK it is common practice to fill-up first then go and pay inside. In the USA is seems this is not the case and when trying to use my CC at the pump it asks me for a ZIP cope. I don't have one of course so I have to go inside and pay before I fill up. A slight pain in the arse.
I have the same problem with pay before pump as a Canadian, but I just found this. It may not work with UK postcodes but I'm going to give it a try it next time I'm in the US.

https://www.mastercard.ca/en-ca/cons...y-at-pump.html
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:45 PM
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For a while now in the US the major credit card companies no longer require a signature. Some places still ask for it, but I suspect they simply haven't changed their procedures.
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by icbm View Post
I have the same problem with pay before pump as a Canadian, but I just found this. It may not work with UK postcodes but I'm going to give it a try it next time I'm in the US.

https://www.mastercard.ca/en-ca/cons...y-at-pump.html
I've also heard that Canadian drivers have had success with using "90210" (from "Beverly Hills 90210"), "14209" (zip code of WKBW TV in Buffalo, as far as I can remember my days in southern Ontario), and "60619" (the Chicago zip code for the Spiegel catalog, as repeated many times on US-produced game shows).
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:59 AM
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Also, it should be noted that the chip in chip/pin cards is different than the EMV cards that most of have now with the gold contacts at one end.
Uh... "Chip and Pin" is EMV.

There had earlier been some confusion with contactless card usage, as the US had an early version of contactless cards that just transmitted magstripe data from card to terminal, and may have been unencrypted. It is these cards that people advertise foil covers and wallets to protect. My impression is that these pre-EMV contactless cards had been dying out in the States, supplanted by things like Apple Pay.

But EMV contactless transactions are encrypted by the chip in the same way that contactful transactions are. So they are more secure.

In Canada, contactless came along well after EMV did, and is now ubiquitous. We never had the old magstripe-era contactless. So there was one less thing to unlearn.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
I've also heard that Canadian drivers have had success with using "90210" (from "Beverly Hills 90210"), "14209" (zip code of WKBW TV in Buffalo, as far as I can remember my days in southern Ontario), and "60619" (the Chicago zip code for the Spiegel catalog, as repeated many times on US-produced game shows).
Iíve been told by VISA to use the numbers from my postal code plus two digits that make a valid ZIP code. Mine would be 63401, which is Hannibal, MO.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
I was wondering what happens when someone with a card based on the chip and pin system tries to use it in a signature based system and society.
I don't really understand the premise of the question. Chip and PIN is an additional functionality to a normal card, so you still have a signature on the back, and a magnetic stripe (and even embossed numbers for the really old-fashioned "roller" machines) to use when there is no chip reader/PIN terminal. So you just use the card like you would any non-chip card.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:35 AM
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I don't really understand the premise of the question. Chip and PIN is an additional functionality to a normal card, so you still have a signature on the back, and a magnetic stripe (and even embossed numbers for the really old-fashioned "roller" machines) to use when there is no chip reader/PIN terminal. So you just use the card like you would any non-chip card.
My two Chase cards aren't embossed at all.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:41 AM
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My credit card is chip and signature, but my debit card is chip and PIN. So, most US vendors have at least the basic infrastructure in place to accept a PIN, whether or not the logical infrastructure is in place for foreign-origin cards.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Actually the only slight wrinkle is at fuel stations. In the UK it is common practice to fill-up first then go and pay inside. In the USA is seems this is not the case and when trying to use my CC at the pump it asks me for a ZIP cope. I don't have one of course so I have to go inside and pay before I fill up. A slight pain in the arse.
This drove me crazy. If I lose my wallet, my zip code would be right there on my driver's license!
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:36 AM
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I don't really understand the premise of the question. Chip and PIN is an additional functionality to a normal card, so you still have a signature on the back, and a magnetic stripe (and even embossed numbers for the really old-fashioned "roller" machines) to use when there is no chip reader/PIN terminal. So you just use the card like you would any non-chip card.
Yep, although I think I'd describe really as 3 cards in one - an EMV(chip & pin) card, a magstripe card, and a really old-school embossed number/signature card.

From what I understand, all 3 are entirely separate processing channels.

Chip & signature is really still EMV, but the transaction takes yet another separate channel vs. chip & pin EMV.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
I've used a US credit card in Europe which perhaps 80% of the time accommodates the signature. Other times ignores the lack of pin and still other times refuses to work at all.
I'm surprised because I've never had a credit card that requires a pin, only my debit card which also can be used as a credit card instead and without need of its pin number when it's being used in that capacity. As far as my credit card that has a chip, it can be swiped and then signed for just like the credit cards that don't have chips when the business in question doesn't have a chip reader.

Last edited by Jasmine; 04-17-2019 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:07 AM
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EMV card chips have built into them a list called "Cardholder Verification Methods." The card issuer decides which methods it is willing to accept for the card and populates the list with the acceptable methods ranked in order of preference.


The merchant's terminal also has a list of methods that it supports. When you plug a card into the terminal, the terminal reads the card's CVM list and chooses the highest ranked method from that list that the terminal supports.

For most cards issued in the United States. "signature" will be the highest ranked method on the list. In the rest of the world either "online PIN" or "offline PIN" will be the highest ranked method. A few cards issued in the United States will have one of the PIN methods as a secondary method. Similarly, some non-US cards will have signature as a secondary or tertiary method.

"Online PIN" requires that the transaction be verified with a central server. With this type of card, you can select or change your own PIN. "Offline PIN" is used by terminals that are not constantly connected to a central server and the PIN verification is done within the terminal. Cards that support offline PIN generally have a non-changeable PIN. European train station ticket kiosks and unattended gas pumps are notorious for requiring offline PIN although many are updating. Most recently-installed terminals in regular shops (both inside and outside the US) are capable of supporting both PIN and signature modes.
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:15 AM
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Huh? At the gas pumps, 99% of the time 00000 works. (IIRC, it also worked buying MTA Subway metrocards in NYC). I assumed the logic was that when the verification process begins, it realizes the user does not have a zip code and skips the step, you just need 5 digits to get past the input screen.

In the USA, some merchants have chip and sign, some have Chip and PIN. Some swipe and sign. Sometimes you sign on the device, sometimes you sign paper. As I gather, depends on the merchant's bank. My understanding: the USA uses chip&sign not pin, but some terminals will accept PIN instead of sign. (For Canadian cards, many terminals know - "you have a pin, please use instead of signing". The new VISA/MC rules are, if the card has a chip it must be used - if the card is swiped instead, no chip, the merchant is responsible if the card is fraudulent or stolen. A few merchants, they still make me sign the paper slip after using my PIN.

But generally, I've been all over the USA and the world and never had a problem with VISA chip and (4 digit) pin - except the ATM on the highway rest stop in France in 2006, which took 5 minutes to verify - I swear it was using dial-up modems. I was worried it had eaten my card.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by icbm View Post
I have the same problem with pay before pump as a Canadian, but I just found this. It may not work with UK postcodes but I'm going to give it a try it next time I'm in the US.

https://www.mastercard.ca/en-ca/cons...y-at-pump.html
I've used it and it works. But it is something the Canadian banks do. When asked the ZIP code check they compute as described in the link and verify it. It also works to fill a NY City Metro Card which requires a ZIP (although you can also pay cash at a kiosk, if there is one open). Unless the British bank has made a similar arrangement, it will likely not work for Brits. Or for residents of other countries.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:34 PM
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My two Chase cards aren't embossed at all.
In Australia we mainly use contactless chip and require a pin if over $100, works great and yes my card is also non embossed.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:18 PM
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This drove me crazy. If I lose my wallet, my zip code would be right there on my driver's license!
True enough, but the main reason they ask for it is to (theoretically) prevent fraud from spoofed cards.

I say "theoretically" because my card was compromised a month or two ago, and several gasoline purchases were made in New Jersey. Maybe the thief put "90210"!
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:56 AM
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This drove me crazy. If I lose my wallet, my zip code would be right there on my driver's license!
Why is your license in your wallet? I keep mine separate.

Something I've not seen mentioned thus far is that here in the UK if chip and pin is not used, liability for any fraud is on the retailer; if chip and pin is used, liability for fraud is on the card provider. How does that work in America?
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:25 AM
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Why is your license in your wallet? I keep mine separate.
Unlike in the UK, we're legally obligated to possess the actual document at all times when driving, though actually being cited is a sign that the cop was in a very grouchy mood. And depending on your usual habits (buying alcohol etc.), going around without ID can be an annoyance.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 04-18-2019 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:54 AM
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Unlike in the UK, we're legally obligated to possess the actual document at all times when driving,
Indeed, but why keep it in your wallet? I too keep my driving license on me, but separate, not in my wallet.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:12 AM
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For a while now in the US the major credit card companies no longer require a signature. Some places still ask for it, but I suspect they simply haven't changed their procedures.
As of three years ago* the card associations did require a sig but merchants could opt out under a certain amount (typically $25) if they wished. If it turned out the card was no longer valid, the merchant would eat the charge. It started with fast food places where speed is of the essence and presumably not many people presented a bad card but it has spread to others as well.
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
My two Chase cards aren't embossed at all.
My credit union debit card is no longer embossed. Made it really quick when I had to get it replaced -- the teller disappeared in the back for a couple minutes and came back with the new card instead of my having to get it in the mail. My bank credit and debit cards are expiring this fall. It'll be interesting to see if they're still embossed or not.

*I retired and things may have changed since then.

Last edited by DesertDog; 04-18-2019 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:28 AM
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True enough, but the main reason they ask for it is to (theoretically) prevent fraud from spoofed cards.

I say "theoretically" because my card was compromised a month or two ago, and several gasoline purchases were made in New Jersey. Maybe the thief put "90210"!
But with chip, it's pretty hard to spoof the card. Presumably they made a copy of the magstripe, an the card was swiped.

As I said, 00000 has worked fine too for me for over a decade. I don't think foreign banks validate the credit card zip code at all.
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