Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Belgium and Chip and Pin Cards

I recently did a post on the Chip and Pin cards versus our U.S. magnetic strip cards.......Belgium is a problem!!!! And this is from personal experience, in Belgium, just last week.

Traveling with another couple, we tried our ATM cards at three bank ATMs. They only worked at one, KBC Banking. At ING Bank I went inside and spoke with a teller who specifically told me my card wouldn't work because I didn't have the chip.

Also, at a small shop, our traveling friends tried to make a purchase with a credit card. They had four different cards with them but none with a chip. All of the cards were refused by the shop owner.

Needing some cash, at one point I used an exchange bureau. With a bank rate of $1 to $1.33 Euros and the exchange bureau changing at $1.48, I changed a minimum of funds. Obviously, that's not the way to go if it can be avoided.

So what to do for future travels? At this point, I'm not sure. With fees the cost of buying Euros in the U.S. is probably not much better than using the exchange bureau. Plus I don't want to travel with a ton of cash. We could start using traveler's checks again. But that could mean a necessary visit to a bank. This is going to take some thought.

If anyone has any ideas, other than all travelers in the U.S. ganging up on MasterCard and Visa (maybe that's the best idea???), I'd love to hear them.

2 comments:

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