It may come as a surprise to many Americans that many businesses in Western Europe are no longer accepting traditional magnetic strip credit cards. They have moved on to the more secure "chip cards", or "smart cards".
These computer-chip-embedded cards transmit encrypted data stored in the card's chip to an electronic processing device. In addition, the cards typically require a PIN code to complete a transaction. Such features make the chip cards much less vulnerable to credit card fraud, which is the main reason they were developed in Western Europe in the first place.
Many automatic machines including train ticket machines and even some restaurants will now only accept the new chip cards. A Travel Team agent found out the hard way during her recent trip to Nice, France, when she tried purchasing a train ticket in the morning before the ticket windows were open, and she was unable to with her magnetic strip card.
If you are planning on traveling to Europe, you might want to consider getting one of these cards before you go. Currently US Bank, Wells Fargo and Chase are offering cards with a smart chip option. Other banks will hopefully folllow soon.
Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next European vacation!