Traveling has also had its fair share of hassles, particularly when it comes to money. Exorbitant exchange fees or the hassle of a lost credit card can ruin a lot of trips, but Michelle Higgins of The New York Times notes an increasingly common problem for many travelers is the growth of new “Chip and PIN” credit cards.
Nearly all credit cards in the United States rely on magnetic stripes, as they have for decades. In Europe, Canada and much of the rest of the world, however, the credit card industry is well on its way through a transition to chip and PIN technology. These new cards include an embedded microchip that substantially increases data security and requires active authentication in the form of a PIN. According to Visa, nearly 60 percent of all European credit cards rely on chip and PIN technology.
Many travelers from the U.S. have found themselves stuck without any cash and with a credit card they did not realize was outdated. Some American banks have begun to offer new hybrid cards that include both technologies, but only to a few thousand customers so far.
Instead, Higgins notes that simply asking cashiers to swipe the old cards can work more than some might think, since most registers still accept magnetic stripes even if employees do not realize that. Anyone traveling to an area that relies heavily on chip and PIN cards, however, should consider options like the Travelex preloaded cards, just in case some business only accepts this type of card.