I have an rather unusual Visa debit card issued by a German bank. It has an EMV chip and uses "online chip & pin" and "signature" verification methods (preferred in that order):

  1. Fail cardholder verification if this CVM is unsuccessful: Enciphered PIN verified online - If terminal supports the CVM
  2. Fail cardholder verification if this CVM is unsuccessful: Signature (paper) - If terminal supports the CVM
  3. Fail cardholder verification if this CVM is unsuccessful: No CVM Required - Always

In Germany, I can pay with my PIN but in France and the UK I always needed to sign a receipt (causing confusion with all cashiers) – as far as I know terminals in those countries only support offline but not online PIN verification. I once used the card on a UK ticket machine and it sold me a ticket without needing any PIN or signature.

Does anyone know how this works in Sweden? They seem to use offline PIN, too. From what I gathered using the card at staffed counters is fine but I'm unsure about automatic machines.

Has anyone any insight on this? I think US "chip & signature" cards work similarly.

  • 1
    Most USA chip cards are pin-less, we have to sign for all purchases. But they seem to work in most machines just fine, the computers processing the charge know what tack to take. But haven't tried one in Sweden, so can't confirm your specific issue.
    – user13044
    Jul 17, 2015 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


When I was living in Sweden, I had two cards:

  • Visa Electron, online chip and pin only
  • Visa (regular), online or offline

I could use my Visa Electron in most places, with some exceptions. Those exceptions are when there is no telephone connection, such as on buses and trains. I have never used my Visa Electron in a place where I had to sign; it was either accepted with PIN, or not accepted at all. In machines on stations, I could always use my Visa Electron card just fine.

I would expect that you will have the same experience with your online-only chip and pin card, as I had with my Visa Electron.

  • Thanks, this seems promising. While my card does allow offline transactions (but for some strange reason only without PIN) it should at least work everywhere where a Visa Electron is accepted. I will accept that answer if no other usual turns up after a while.
    – neo
    Jul 17, 2015 at 11:12

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