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I'm an American, and I'm traveling to the Czech Republic later this summer for a few weeks. I have a Visa debit card from a local credit union for use in ATMs and a Visa credit card from CapitalOne. Both of these cards have a magnetic strip only: no chip.

Are these cards sufficient for use in the Czech Republic? Do ATMs and retail locations use magnetic strip readers, or are chip cards required?

  • Your credit union may be willing to replace your card with a Chip and PIN card, which will save you a lot of hassle. – Michael Hampton Jul 1 '15 at 20:06
  • At the moment the cards in the US are being replaced with chip cards by major banks. You may want to call to find out if you will be receiving a replacement but it should work without it. – Karlson Jul 1 '15 at 20:30
  • My credit union is not replacing debit cards with chip cards at this time. I asked at my local branch after I posted this question, and they told me that it will work in ATMs in the Czech Republic. I'm wondering if anyone here has any recent experience or knowledge about the ATM machines in the Czech Republic and can confirm this. The credit card is another story; I haven't yet contacted CapitalOne, but I'm wondering if magnetic strip cards will work at retail locations if I am unable to get the card replaced. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Jul 1 '15 at 21:21
  • Typically yes, they will be able to swipe a magnetic stripe. Though if you are outside tourist areas, the person working the till may not be familiar with the procedure. – Michael Hampton Jul 1 '15 at 21:46
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    Traveled to the Czech Republic in 2011 and 2013 with a USA card, and had no trouble anywhere. The only issue, which may not matter, is that ATMs were surprisingly scarce in rural parts of the Czech Republic. We went through several small towns that did not have even one. – Andrew Lazarus Jul 7 '15 at 6:29
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Most Chip and pin readers still have a mag stripe reader built into the unit. Some of the time it takes some finding (look for a slot running along the right side or the top). Those that don't will have a mag stripe reader built into the till itself.

The only issue you might find with the mag stripe cards is that some younger cashiers have never had to deal with them before and so will have no idea what to do with them (I had this issue when i moved back to the UK).

  • I beleive that some establishments refuse swipe-and-sign as policy as well, on the grounds it makes them more vulnerable to cargebacks. – CMaster Jul 2 '15 at 12:08
  • I've never encountered that. Sometimes they will ask you for a separate form of ID though. – zeocrash Jul 2 '15 at 12:28
  • Also you can still use the Mag stripe card at an ATM to get cash out – zeocrash Jul 2 '15 at 12:37

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