To hire (rent) a bicycle in London at one of the Santander Cycle docks, is it necessary to have a chip-and-pin credit or debit card? Or will an old fashioned magnetic stripe card suffice? How about a chip-and-signature card?

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    @Willeke: I thought that part was explained pretty clearly by the official website: anyone is supposed to be able to rent a cycle for £2 per day, plus excess usage charges, simply by using a credit/debit card at the one of the docks. No registration is needed, so this is supposed to be suitable for one-time tourist rentals. (There are other options involving registration that locals can use.) Jul 19, 2015 at 20:07
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    But they don't explain what cards are supported. They just say "accepts all major credit or debit cards". But Wikipedia says users can "Hire a cycle with a chip and PIN payment card". Jul 19, 2015 at 20:09

1 Answer 1

  1. Yes, it is necessary to have a chip and PIN bank card.
  2. No, an old fashioned magnetic stripe card won't suffice.
  3. No, a chip and signature card won't help.

The card reader at the dock just allows the chip part of the card to be inserted from the bottom of the keypad. The card reader doesn't have a slot to swipe a magnetic bank card. The dock is unattended/unmanned so there is no scope of giving a signature.

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For the sake of completeness: As you mentioned earlier, yes this way of operation is meant for one time tourist rentals and the occasional rider. And you also mentioned that the other options for registering would benefit Londoners.

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    Are you sure that chip+signature won't work? At least some chip+pin machines are happy to accept chip+signature cards without prompting for a pin and without wanting anything signed
    – Gagravarr
    Jul 20, 2015 at 0:33
  • There is provision in EMV for a "chip only" transaction type. Whether the london cycle terminals support it I could not say. Sep 25, 2019 at 17:34

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