CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Which countries did you visit? Did merchants hesitate or refuse to accept credit cards in general? Or they thought banks in the US might be difficult to win a dispute against? Or you just found cash to be simpler?
Various European countries (England, Netherlands, Italy, with airport stops in some others). Most businesses and restaurants don't accept credit cards (of any variety), or at least said they didn't. Most people do day-to-day transactions via cash. So I had to always carry a lot of cash anyway.
As for hotels and hostels, most were prepaid (I'd booked them in advance from home before leaving), so no need for a card there. For the few I didn't prepay, the hotels that took card had no problem accepting mag stripe (so I opted to use my mag stripe Barclaycard Arrival to get the double rewards on hotels, rather than my AAdvantage EMV card). Still, I tried to pay with cash for hostels and hotels whenever possible, since many charged a 5% fee for using a credit card (of any kind).
In airports and gift shops in touristy areas, I noticed other travelers paying with magnetic stripe cards, but I myself used cash, since I was buying only snacks and bottled water and had a ton of heavy Euro coins to unload.
The closest I came to using my EMV card was at the unmanned ticket dispenser in Berlin, but I instead bought a one-week pass from my hostel when I checked in.
If I were spending TONS of money on souvenirs at gift shops and clothing stores, I would have probably needed my EMV card (to avoid carrying so much cash). But I don't buy souvenirs.