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Money, Currency & Credit

Credit Cards: Swipe & Sign Vs. Chip & PIN

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When traveling abroad, you may find that your swipe-and-sign credit card isn’t accepted without a PIN code. More and more countries are going that direction—except the United States—so here’s what you need to know…

If you come across a transaction that requires a PIN code on your credit card, stand your ground.

Most places still have the capability of processing those magnetic strips— but they don’t necessarily know that.

Keep your options open and diversify the types of payment you have available.

That means carrying some cash for emergencies.

Have a debit as well as credit card available in case one fails or your card gets eaten by a machine.

Look into having pre-paid cards as backup.

Visa offers a Travel Money Card that you can load up and use anywhere a debit card is accepted; the bonus is you also get support like emergency card replacement and emergency cash.

Cash Passport from Travelex also offers Visa and MasterCard pre-paid currency cards.

They’re independent of your bank account, but are protected by requiring a PIN and signature.

The fact is, here in the U.S., only members of the UN have access to cards with chip-and-pin technology while the rest of the world is changing.

So it pays to be prepared with a backup plan.

Find more tips in our Money, Currency & Credit section.

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