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hcross888

Question about credit cards in Germany- HELP!

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We are scheduled to go on an Avalon cruise through mostly Germany.  Avalon says that you need a pin number for your credit card.  We don't have one, and have no way to get one before we leave.  Catch 22 with the credit card company.....

If you have recently come back from Germany and Prague, did you need a pin number to use your credit card?

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Last month we did a 12 day Rhine/Moselle cruise and spent four additional days on our own in Germany. Never needed to use a pin with our credit cards.

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We did a three day extension in Prague in April and did not need to use a pin number with our credit card.  We used our Chase Sapphire Preferred cc exclusively to avoid foreign transaction fees.

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We had no issues with our US cards last April when going through Germany. No issues when I was in Prague last, either. Odds are good that you may get some confused waiters in restaurants since the card reader will spit out a slip for you to sign but that should be the extent of it. 

 

Actually, I did sometimes have trouble with ticket kiosks for trains or public transit. Those would often ask for a pin - I could sometimes get away with just hitting enter or I would use a different card. Not sure if that will even come up since you're traveling with Avalon, though!

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THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!

You wonderful people have lowered my stress level A LOT!!!

 

What is strange is that our Citicard Costco card told me that if I used a pin in Europe that it would be charged as a cash advance, but if I didn't use a pin that was not the case.

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As the others have said, generally you should not have a problem. There may be a few places however that only accept the PIN method, or places that only accept EC cards. It will be displayed or ask before you order/buy something. Small outlets like bakers may only accept cash.

 

notamermaid

 

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1 hour ago, hcross888 said:

THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!

You wonderful people have lowered my stress level A LOT!!!

 

What is strange is that our Citicard Costco card told me that if I used a pin in Europe that it would be charged as a cash advance, but if I didn't use a pin that was not the case.

That PIN is the one to use the credit card in a bank machine, and it is a cash advance.. (As an aside, I never connect my credit card to my bank card so that, unless I put the actual credit card in the bank machine, there is no possibility of it being charged to my credit card.)

 

The PIN on a chip and pin card is the authorization that you use instead of a signature. It isn't the same thing. (US banks that don't have them frequently don't understand what they are talking about.)

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Chip-and-sign cards are widely accepted in Europe.  As has been stated, may have a problem at an unmanned kiosk or gas pump, but otherwise, no problem.

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Posted (edited)

Just make sure you notify your credit card company when and where you will be traveling so the charges are not blocked.

Edited by aly7859

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Just an FYI for the OP or anyone with similar concerns: we were able to add the PIN to our USAA credit Visa card on-line.  It took just a matter of minutes.  We didn't need it though during our 2 days in England and 14 day in Norway in June.

 

There is a recent long thread on the subject: 

 

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While we are talking credit cards, Amex? Seems like it was disfavored in Spain.  How about Amsterdam and throughout Germany?

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Am Ex had limited acceptance and VISA & MC were definitely preferred.  Also, something to consider is choosing a card with no foreign transaction fees or obtaining a new card with no foreign transaction fees as they can add up quickly.  

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I used to have an Amex card for business travel, but outside hotels I found it very difficult to use in Europe, and no one ever said 'that'll do nicely'. Even those places that had a sign saying they took it asked if you would use another card.

 

Reason is that Amex charge merchants a higher fee than Visa & MasterCard.

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We just got back from our cruise, and we never needed a pin for any transaction.  Of course we needed it for the ATM, but that was different.

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On 8/13/2019 at 11:18 AM, hcross888 said:

We are scheduled to go on an Avalon cruise through mostly Germany.  Avalon says that you need a pin number for your credit card.  We don't have one, and have no way to get one before we leave.  Catch 22 with the credit card company.....

If you have recently come back from Germany and Prague, did you need a pin number to use your credit card?

I have no idea why Avalon has said to you that you "need" a PIN-enabled credit card.  Are you sure that's what Avalaon said?  Or did Avalon say that there might be a rare occasion a PIN-enabled credit card might be necessary. The fact is that, most vendors would take a non PIN-enabled credit card as long as they take credit cards.  Only exception would be some of the automated vending machines, especially for public transit.  I needed a PIN for buying a metro ticket from a machine at Amsterdam Airport.  However, I could have also bought a ticket from a human-occupied kiosk there.

 

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On 8/14/2019 at 2:25 PM, aly7859 said:

Am Ex had limited acceptance and VISA & MC were definitely preferred.  Also, something to consider is choosing a card with no foreign transaction fees or obtaining a new card with no foreign transaction fees as they can add up quickly.  

Something else to be aware of is that the shop may ask if you want to have the transaction in local currency, or your "home" currency.  ALWAYS take it in local currency.  If you say you want it in your home currency, it will be charged at a rate that the store has set up with their bank, and it is almost always higher than the exchange your bank with charge you.

 

Fran

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