Chip & PIN vs. the Swipe

June 17, 2015
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I'm planning for an upcoming trip to Europe. I was hoping to use my ATM card to get money while there, but I've heard from friends that places in Europe are switching over to "another system" and that it will be more expensive for me to change money. Doesn't sound as simple as I remember it being. What do you know about this?

    A. I think what you are referring to is the chip and PIN card system commonly used in European bank cards. It's true that US banks have been dragging their feet when it comes to chip and PIN technology, but don't worry. You'll still be able to use your bank card for cash withdrawals at ATMs as well as most debit purchases at hotels, restaurants, and tourist hot spots. Most places in large cities will be familiar with swiping a US card and give you little to no hassle, but it wouldn't hurt to pop by a local ATM for pocket cash should you stray to less traveled areas. You should also check with both your bank and credit card company to see what EMV/chip and PIN options they currently offer.