Using EMV for the first time while traveling

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Sevenfeet
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Using EMV for the first time while traveling

Postby Sevenfeet » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:26 am

I just got back from vacation in the UK where I got a chance to use all those EMV chip cards I've been collecting over the last 18 months but as of now, haven't had an opportunity to use it in the United States.

First, if you've not been overseas, EMV terminals are EVERYWHERE. It's the norm now. Everyone I saw had chip cards and knew the proper process to make a purchase. Of course, all of their chip cards have pin numbers which is not the standard for US-based EMV cards that want a signature.

But in most cases, this wasn't a problem. I decided to use three different cards for the trip...my Chase Sapphire Preferred (the default travel card for the trip), the Amex Platinum card (used once when I left my wallet at the hotel and my wife was carrying her Amex) and the Penfed Platinum Rewards card. Only the Penfed card actually had a pin number assigned, but the times I tried to use it, I still had to do a signature. EMV can be programmed for priority, so I think that Chip and Sig is dominate with Chip and Pin as a fall back.

The big problem I see in the months leading up to the rollout of EMV in the United States is a simple training usage. Swipe cards literally mandate that you swipe the card physically through the device. EMV cards demand that you put the card in and leave it during the transaction. The first time I tried this, I put the EMV card in properly to the slot, then swiped out my card after 30 years of habit doing swipes. You have to learn to leave the card in until the machine says you can remove it.

Most people working POS terminals understood that they would likely see a signature being the final outcome of a sale with some EMV cards and were ok with it. Occasionally you got someone who wasn't use to this which required explaining that it was a US based card and all of them require signatures. Most transactions took a little longer to process than the local cards others were holding...but they did work.

EMV worked pretty much all over the place...hotels, car rental, restaurants (both in London and the countryside), the London Underground for Oyster passes, etc. The only time I couldn't get my card to be accepted was at a parking kiosk way out at the Avebury Stone Circle in the English countryside. Neither the CSP or the Penfed card worked. I thought the machine needed a pin code but the Penfed was rejected as well.

Most of the POS terminals were Ingencino branded, although there were a few other types noted. One thing I noticed was that no gas pumps in England had the ability to take cards....you pumped and then went inside to pay.
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Chase Freedom Visa ($25K)
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Bank of America Cash Rewards MasterCard ($20K)
Citi Thank You Preferred Visa ($9.5K)
Chase Sapphire Preferred ($7.5K)
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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:22 pm

All interesting, thanks for the update! Do you think most of the people that WERE used to it just see enough foreign customers with foreign cards come through and know that it will happen occasionally?

That makes me wonder if England sees more people stealing gas than the U.S....or maybe the English just aren't as prone to trying to steal gas and they don't have as much of a need to require payment beforehand.
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Brad Bishop
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Postby Brad Bishop » Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:34 pm

I was in the UK in March and only had my swipe cards. While I agree that chip & PIN cards are better, it didn't affect any purchases I made. They simply swiped my card and asked for a signature.

Still good to read some other using the chipped card. I REALLY wish the USA would just do Chip & PIN (I think it's coming in 2015 but all of the requirements/card rollouts still seem a bit foggy to me) but for the average customer they won't notice any real difference.

whit
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Postby whit » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:44 pm

I think the only place I haven't been to that I want to is the Uk

I hadn't had a problem using my discover sans chip in Italy, France, Switzerland, or Belgium.

Or my schwab or citi card..

The only place I've used the chip card (citi) and have them actually use the chip reader was in Canada, and at places like Starbucks where my order is usually 10$ or less, they wouldn't even require me to sign or anything, just stick the card in and go.

Sevenfeet
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Postby Sevenfeet » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:26 pm

It's true, all the Ingenico and like POS readers still have an old style swipe reader. But given the low profile nature of it, you'd almost be forgiven in missing it. The device is designed to present the EMV slot as the obvious entry point for the sale, with the swipe being a fallback for Americans.
Cards:

American Express Platinum (NPSL)

Penfed Platinum Reward Visa ($28K)

Chase Freedom Visa ($25K)

Fidelity American Express ($20K)

American Express Blue Cash Preferred ($20K)

Bank of America Cash Rewards MasterCard ($20K)

Citi Thank You Preferred Visa ($9.5K)

Chase Sapphire Preferred ($7.5K)

US Bank Cash + Visa Signature ($7K)

Discover IT ($4K)

Sevenfeet
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Postby Sevenfeet » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:31 pm

Vattené wrote:All interesting, thanks for the update! Do you think most of the people that WERE used to it just see enough foreign customers with foreign cards come through and know that it will happen occasionally?

That makes me wonder if England sees more people stealing gas than the U.S....or maybe the English just aren't as prone to trying to steal gas and they don't have as much of a need to require payment beforehand.


I'm not sure the experience with foreign travelers is the reason, rather than training. For example, I purchased some things out of the Heathrow Hilton's gift shop, a place where you'd expect a lot of foreigners and the cashier had trouble determining what to do with my card. I eventually convinced her to try again since she was impatient on the time it took to do the sale (European cards validate sales much faster). She was about to try swiping but I had to convince her that swiping an EMV chipped card in a machine that could read it would likely be rejected by default.

As for gas stations, I'm not sure about that. I just noticed that no gas station I found, be it in London or out in the countryside had credit card readers at the pump. Everyone walked in the store to complete the sale.
Cards:

American Express Platinum (NPSL)

Penfed Platinum Reward Visa ($28K)

Chase Freedom Visa ($25K)

Fidelity American Express ($20K)

American Express Blue Cash Preferred ($20K)

Bank of America Cash Rewards MasterCard ($20K)

Citi Thank You Preferred Visa ($9.5K)

Chase Sapphire Preferred ($7.5K)

US Bank Cash + Visa Signature ($7K)

Discover IT ($4K)

rockyrock
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Postby rockyrock » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

On EMV related news, Sam's seems to have disabled their system for now. The cashier told me it was too troubling for customers--proly for the reason you stated of wanting to insert and remove immediately. Not sure about Walmart, haven't been there lately.
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Brad Bishop
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Postby Brad Bishop » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:18 pm

rockyrock wrote:Thanks for sharing your experiences.

On EMV related news, Sam's seems to have disabled their system for now. The cashier told me it was too troubling for customers--proly for the reason you stated of wanting to insert and remove immediately. Not sure about Walmart, haven't been there lately.


I used the system for the first time at Walmart a few weeks back and, initially:
1) It isn't obvious where to insert the card. Some of the machines have a small notch near the bottom but some of them you can't really tell
2) First time I used it I put the card in and pulled it right back out (think swiping, but in the slot). Then I realized, "Oh, you need to leave it and follow the instructions on the screen"

One concern is that it seems like it'd be easy to leave the card in the machine and leave. When I swipe my card I swipe it and immediately put it back in my wallet. I usually do this after the first item has been scanned to try to speed the transaction. With leaving your card in the machine this motion (putting it right back into my wallet) is interrupted.

alexmt
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Postby alexmt » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:46 am

rockyrock wrote:Thanks for sharing your experiences.

On EMV related news, Sam's seems to have disabled their system for now. The cashier told me it was too troubling for customers--proly for the reason you stated of wanting to insert and remove immediately. Not sure about Walmart, haven't been there lately.


To be fair, they haven't completely disabled EMV. They've disabled the main security feature, however - service code enforcement. That is to say, you can use it as a chip card or a swipe card and either will work, it won't require the card to be used as a chip card.

Without this enforcement however, most of the security benefit is gone, as someone can still copy your card's magnetic stripe and go use it at Walmart/Sam's Club.

It's quite bothersome to me that they've done this, and it's a massive step back for card security in the US. I know it's causing me to avoid Walmart, as I believe it more than undoes all the progress Walmart had made toward transaction security in the US.



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