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  1. #1
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    Default Credit Card to use in Europe

    Planing on going to Europe this year and the upcoming years so I was wondering what's a good credit card to use in Europe considering foreign transaction fees and the electronic chip (is that really a problem with US cards?).
    I'm going to buy BA tickets so I was thinking the British Airways card but not sure if their Avios rewards are any good?
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  2. #2
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    any capitol1 card has no foreign transaction fee, the chase sapphire cards have no foreign transaction fee, the platinum American express card has no foreign transaction fee so does the Delta reserve but these 2 cards have 450.00 annual fees.
    a few of the citibank cards I believe the american airlines and the thank you cards have no fees. none of the Discover cards have a foreign transaction fee.
    are you going on vacation with your family or friends or are you going away on business trip?
    any particular card your looking for travel or cash back?
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  3. #3
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    Vacations w friends.
    I already have BCP for cash so I don't think I need another one.
    You have any experience with the Europe chip issue?
    What do you think of the BA credit card?

    thanks!
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    I was in Europe a couple of times last year. No big issues with strip instead of chip in restaurants, stores, and hotels. You might have to go up to the register to pay on a special machine but it's not a big deal. You won't be able to use your card without chip on machines to buy train, bus, and metro tickets. Many of the machines say you can use a strip card but I found that most would not read my American card. I had to go up to a ticket window instead. Again, not a big deal though.

    Foreign exchange fees are typically about 1-2% but I mostly used cards that waived them. Even regular cards though are far lower fee than you will pay if you exchange cash.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexrj View Post
    Vacations w friends.
    I already have BCP for cash so I don't think I need another one.
    You have any experience with the Europe chip issue?
    What do you think of the BA credit card?

    thanks!
    BA card is fine, but it's Chip & Signature rather than Chip&Pin. Many places in the UK will take swipes (you may have to tell them what to do as it is so unusual now). Unattended ticket places won't work, as DoingHomework says, which is only an issue if there is no alternative. Only place I was refused was when buying a cellphone, where the store required chip and pin, and, to make matters worse, charged extra for cash...

    Chip&Sig I find worse than swipe, because you put it in the standard chip reader, and 99.99% or more of the people doing that enter a pin. Instead, for your card the machine spits out something you need to sign and possibly hand to the cashier, which is out of the normal for them!

    Avios aren't great for transatlantic trips going to the UK, because of the enormous fuel surcharge, but they can be fine on flights in the US on their partner airlines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexrj View Post
    Vacations w friends.
    I already have BCP for cash so I don't think I need another one.
    You have any experience with the Europe chip issue?
    What do you think of the BA credit card?

    thanks!
    vacation with friends when you go have a good time. I would not use that American express card because that one charges 2.7% foreign transaction fee. the American airlines citibank card isn't for you. This is what I think of the British airways card, it's an airline card, I've read now a days that you get 2 points in another category other than that particular carrier. and redeming in more than that carrier or hotel
    but you still have to travel if you want to redem. my moms friend has this card. I basicly don't think this is a card for you. for business travlers yes. for you if the chase freedom doesn't have a foreign transaction fee this is a card to think about. any capitol1 card would be another good choice.
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    I used my non-chip USAA Master Card at an Orange cell store in the UK and they had no problem. Carphone Wharehouse also had no problem with it.
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  8. MOC
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    Default Use Chase Sapphire Preferred

    I disagree with the other person that Chip and Sign is worse than swiping. In Germany, I repeatedly got turned down because they did not know how to swipe. When you use the chip and sign, it tells them exactly what to do as far as printing and signing a receipt. This also helped in the UK. When you hand them a card without a chip they will look at you like you're an alien. It also works at automated kiosks. Ticket offices tend to close early for public transport. For example, in Germany everything closes early on Saturday and is completely closed on Sunday.

    The BA card does not have a fee and is through Chase, but I am not sure if it is worth locking yourself in with one airline. If you don't have a preferred airline or hotel, you use heavily, then you should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This will give you the ability to transfer to British Airways and several other travel partners notably Marriott, Hyatt, Southwest, and United. You also have other options for your points like gift cards, shopping, and cash back which almost all at a 1 point to 1cent basis. They've just completely changed the ultimate rewards travel and I don't like it. I know Amex gives you the market rate on conversions which is really good and the Platinum has no fee, but unless you travel a bunch it would not be worth the $450 annual fee. They also do not have a chip that I am aware of and Amex is not accepted as many places as Visa.

    I believe Charles Schwab is the only bank that does not charge a foreign ATM fee and refunds fees still. Otherwise, you will be getting ripped off on that front as I did with my bank. Then I got a Capital One Checking, and now those do not exist for new signups because they bought their competition ING Direct which charges fees. I'm quite glad I have this account for foreign travel or any travel where I have to use ATM's with fees. Maybe the Schwab checking is just as good since it is the only comparable option.

    A card with a chip and no foreign transaction fees and a checking account with no foreign atm fees that refunds other bank's fees will make everything a lot easier. I would be interested to hear if there are any comparable cards or checking for travelling abroad.
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  9. #9
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    I was in Switzerland two months ago and had to pass through airports in Paris and Amsterdam. Both credit cards I used don't have chips and both were Amex (corporate Green and Platinum for personal purchases). I did not have a problem with either in hotels or restaurants or gift shops.

    One thing about trains. I don't have experience using non-chipped cards in those kiosks since I avoided that by downloading the train company's iPhone app and buying tickets that way. In Switzerland this made the process really easy and I suspect there are similar systems in other countries.
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  10. #10
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    The iPhone app sounds nice, but I'm sure that requires a data plan over there, or you could pay the insane data prices that the US carriers charge for international. Otherwise you would have to hope they have WiFi which usually costs money to use. I bought most of my tickets in advance online and did not always use a kiosk, so it was not an issue of poor planning. The main place where it can be an issue is for local transport which you can't always buy online, rather than just the trains. If you go up to a random S-Bahn, U-Bahn, or bus stop other than the Hauptbahnhoff and the airport, they only have kiosks. I ran into this in Zurich and Hamburg.

    I used my Amex in hotels and restaurants also as you did. Almost all hotels accept Amex, but not all stores, restaurants, and services. It only takes once to be inconvenienced though. Of course the airports accept everything because they have international travelers and huge markups especially the big hubs in Paris and Amsterdam. I was just trying to suggest the most useful card if you only get one card, and you will run into issues without a chip or with only an Amex eventually. I would recommend both the Chase Sapphire with a chip and the Amex Platinum if you're a heavy traveler over there. The lounges, $200 airline credit, and other travel features are awesome on the Amex Platinum. If you aren't a heavy traveler, then you should not pay the $450 annual fee for the Amex Plat to avoid the foreign transaction fee, and the other Amex cards charge a foreign transaction fee.

    One place where I ran into a swipe issue was Karstadt where they could not figure out how to swipe my Amex Plat. It is kind of silly to be looked at like you like you don't have any money to buy something when you are using an American Express Platinum, but that is how it went. I just ended up using cash, but my bank charged a $5 fee + 3% + exchange markup so I got destroyed that way. This was also when the Euro was at its highs in 2011.

    I really don't see the flaw in my logic of saying that the best single card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and that you will avoid almost all hassle by having a Visa, no foreign transaction fee, and a chip. I'm not an expert, but it saved me a lot of hassle having a chip and sign no foreign transaction fee Visa.
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