If one has a chip-and-pin card (not chip-and-signature), is it possible to use it in the US at this time? What is the experience like? For instance, in many restaurants in Europe the waiters will bring the credit card reader directly to your table so that you can type in the PIN (and also enter the tip electronically), which is ideal also for security -- the card never leaves your sight. In the US in my experience the waiters take the card away to use at a central kiosk and then return with the receipt to sign. (This is just one example but I think it illustrates the problem.) How does this affect the ability of US merchants to take a credit card that uses chip-and-pin technology, such as a European credit card?
Currently I live in the US but I use only my European chip credit card. It works everywhere without any problems. The merchants just swipe it and I'm good to go.
I travel frequently and the only inconvenience is at gas stations where I have to go inside to pay. I cannot use my credit card to pay at the pump because it requires to enter a ZIP code. Just a minor annoyance.
US ATMs and POS require magnetic strip, chip-and-pin only cards will not work almost anywhere in the US. This is starting to change, especially after the Target fiasco, but we're not there yet.
As a Canadian travelling to the US, I am always taken aback when I need to sign slips of paper when making purchases. The joke is that instead of having my card signed, I have written "ASK FOR ID" in the signature field. Since I've never been asked for ID, it's clear that no one is checking the signatures! This is somehow supposed to be more secure?
All credit cards, even the pin&chip cards, have a magnetic strip as backup to deal with legacy equipment, so European and Canadian cards will work in the US (although you'll need a pen).
They just swipe it... it's weird but it's quick :)
Also I've served many American customers in London, their cards only have a mag strip so it feels weird for me to swipe their card rather than hand the pdq to them.
They've also told me chip and pin cards are starting to get popular in the US so you may be able to use the pin payment at a few establishments but if you don't then the card should still work.
I haven't been to the US in 6 years so for all I know, they may have taken the chip and pin method to the mainstream by now, would be nice to have some Americans from different states to weigh in...
I live in the USA, Virginia specifically, and use a Chip-and-PIN MasterCard issued by a major U.S.-based bank as my primary payment card. I have used it as a Chip-and-PIN at major chain retailers here without issue. Some specific places I have used it are CVS, Safeway, 7-11, and Best Buy. Fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's and KFC often do not take "the chip" as it is becoming known as, but in those cases they will ask me to swipe the card rather than reject my business.
As in any case when traveling in a foreign or unfamiliar area, get and carry some local currency as a backup if you find yourself in a shop that, for whatever reason, decides to throw a fit over your preferred payment method.