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Are U.S. issued credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express, etc.) accepted in Barcelona, Naples, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Cannes, Palma Majorca for hotels, restaurants, shops, etc?

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2 hours ago, Fairway Cruiser said:

Are U.S. issued credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express, etc.) accepted in Barcelona, Naples, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Cannes, Palma Majorca for hotels, restaurants, shops, etc?

 

Depends on the hotel, restaurants or shops.Some do and some don't.

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Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted.  American Express is not widely accepted - larger hotel/hotel groups will accept American Express, but smaller hotels won't accept it. Very few stores accept American Express now.

Some shops put a minimum amount to use plastic usually 10 euro.

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I have found that AMEX is not widely accepted - Visa and MC are widely accepted.

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They are widely accepted.  That said, we were in Cascais (near Lisbon) Portugal and were in a restaurant that did not accept cards (said so in big letters on the menu). You can always ask when you walk in.

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Most places take CCs. However pay attention to idiocynracies of credit card terminals. Some ask to convert currency which is a ripoff (always choose €) and others ask for some extra input before pin entry (1 in Portugal). Tap will not likely work for foreign cards.

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Many places now accept tapping the card or smart watch.  This summer we drove through Spain and most toll road terminals accepted iPay on the Apple watch.  Many stores did too. 

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Businesses don't care whether payment is authorized by tap or pin. Payment providers setup rules and as a precaution most foreign cards are declined on tap but usually authorized with PIN. Even here in Canada certain local cards fail tap with one provider but work fine with the other. Most gas pumps are setup to deny taps. So it all depends.

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The question also is whether the retailer has the equipment required to accept tap.  It seems to be accepted more frequently in Spain than in the US.  We were never asked for a pin when using the credit cards in Spain.  

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Yes tap is accepted wider in Europe than in the US however it's a setup function. So one card may work and the other will not on the same terminal. Rules are defined by type of card and amount. For example, local card will more likely have a higher limit for tap then the foreign one or foreign one will not tap at all. Here my MC elite has $200 tap limit at Costco and $100 anywhere else

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We agree with the other posts that AMEX is hit or miss but Visa and MC are the king :).  As to restaurants, we have learned (through lots of experience) to always have enough cash (usually Euros) to cover the tab...even if the restaurant says they take credit cards.  We have had a few experiences where the credit card machines were down, of our cards were rejected for some unknown reason (and they would work fine in other places shortly thereafter).  Having had a credit card machine "down" at a restaurant in Bruge...and leaving DW in a restaurant while I walked 2 blocks to an ATM...I learned my lesson.  As they say in the Boy Scouts....."Be Prepared."

 

Hank

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We've had no problems using our Visa card with our cards through Google Pay on the mobile terminals in Barcelona.   We typically haven't had to sign for purchases when using the phone but we have had to sign when presenting our card.

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One additional note about "chip & pin" cards.  Many American credit cards are not pin enabled so you aren't able to use at automated self-serve kiosks like those often found in train stations.  Check with your credit card issuer.

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Not sure how much this is prevalent in Spain as it is in Italy (we're making our first trip next year) but when my son studied abroad in Italy this past year he had to make sure all his pins were only 4 digits.  We also got him a travel credit card to avoid foreign transaction fees.  

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5 hours ago, CruisinCons said:

Not sure how much this is prevalent in Spain as it is in Italy (we're making our first trip next year) but when my son studied abroad in Italy this past year he had to make sure all his pins were only 4 digits.  We also got him a travel credit card to avoid foreign transaction fees.  

Only ever used a 4 number pin in Spain , or indeed the rest of the world. I didn't even know 5 number pins were issued, as 4 number pins are the industry standard. 

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3 hours ago, wowzz said:

Only ever used a 4 number pin in Spain , or indeed the rest of the world. I didn't even know 5 number pins were issued, as 4 number pins are the industry standard. 

 

Here we can have 4 or 6.  Our bank assigns us 6, and if we want 4 we need to reset it. 

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8 minutes ago, CruisinCons said:

 

Here we can have 4 or 6.  Our bank assigns us 6, and if we want 4 we need to reset it. 

You live and learn !

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7 minutes ago, wowzz said:

You live and learn !

 

It's for security reasons, harder to break a 6 digit code than a 4 if your card is stolen.  Same logic as using longer passwords.  

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We're in Spain for 2 weeks in September. CC is taken almost everywhere and had 100% acceptance. Payment processors differ from bank to bank so in some cases terminal offers to pick currency $ or € for foreign CC (which is  not a good deal if using FX free CC). 

 

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1 hour ago, hkto said:

We're in Spain for 2 weeks in September. CC is taken almost everywhere and had 100% acceptance. Payment processors differ from bank to bank so in some cases terminal offers to pick currency $ or € for foreign CC (which is  not a good deal if using FX free CC). 

 

 

 Just to clarify, with card with no forex fee (and for reasonably large sums, even if not forex fee-free), select to pay in local currency (eg euros) & allow your card issuer to convert at a better exchange rate.

That also ensures that the charge is as on the ticket / check.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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 As someone that deals with a lot of USA customers at a store in Ireland there can be some idiosyncrasies.

in ireland there’s a €30 per tap transaction limit, and once you hit a daily limit the card will require a pin/signature (usual daily limit is between €100 & €300).This also applies for Apple Pay, virtual credit cards and google pay depending on the restriction set by the card processing provider. 

Make sure you know your 4 digit pin... we’ve had them here for donkey’s years, long before chip & pin was introduced. I’ve had customers who didn’t know what their pin was and had to borrow a card from a friend/family member to make their purchase.

 

if you want to use a signature please put a signature on your card, otherwise you won’t have a leg to stand on if you try to claim your card was used fraudulently. Businesses in busy areas have neither the time nor inclination to ask you for a photo ID. 

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2 hours ago, eileeshb said:

Make sure you know your 4 digit pin... we’ve had them here for donkey’s years, long before chip & pin was introduced. I’ve had customers who didn’t know what their pin was and had to borrow a card from a friend/family member to make their purchase.

 

if you want to use a signature please put a signature on your card, otherwise you won’t have a leg to stand on if you try to claim your card was used fraudulently. Businesses in busy areas have neither the time nor inclination to ask you for a photo ID. 

 

Are you referring to a PIN for a credit card or debit card?  In the US, credit cards do not have a PIN. Only debit cards do.  I have 3 or 4 credit cards and none of them have a PIN.  I'll be in Spain next year so I'm curious as to how this is going to work. 

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Credit cards in US do have pin that is used for non tap transactions. Or cash withdrawals in ATM. If you don't know what it is call your company and set it up. Technically card can swiped without pin but that's old way of doing things. And so are debit cards.

 

Old non chipped cards do not have pin.

Edited by hkto

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That’s interesting because I use a credit card many times a week in the US and none of my cards have a PIN.  They all have chips. The standard procedure is that a signature is required only if the transaction is a minimum amount, usually $100.  ATM and debit cards do have a PIN. Credit cards do not. 
 

I was in Scandinavia this year and used my credit cards without any problems.  A PIN was never asked for but I am wondering if it’s a different procedure in Spain.

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Found older article discussing this issue. So just call the bank and get the PIN just in case. Doesn't mean that terminal wouldn't authorize but better to have it. Also can check if card is supported by Apple Pay or Google Pay and if so that may bypass pin requirement.

 

“I don’t technically know whether a card issued here without a PIN will work in every circumstance,'' he says, "but I will say if you are planning to travel overseas I’d contact my bank immediately and ask them does this card have a PIN and if not, how can I get one because I would imagine you'd be better off safe than sorry.''

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/73145306

 

Edited by hkto

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