I am an American who has a chip-and-signature credit card issued by Bank of America. Last time I was in Europe (specifically, the Netherlands), I was unable to use my card at an automated ticket kiosk, because the kiosk required me to enter a PIN.
I will be returning to Europe next year, so I looked into getting a card with a PIN. It turns out Bank of America will let me add a PIN to my existing chip-and-sign card:
Do I need a PIN to make purchase with my credit card? What is Chip & Signature and Chip & PIN?
You have a Chip and Signature credit card, so in most instances, you should not need a PIN to make purchases with your credit card. [...] On rare occasions, you may be asked to provide a PIN. Should this occur, just enter the credit card PIN assigned to your card. [...]
You may request a PIN by calling the number on the back of your card or through Online Banking. Please allow 7-10 days for delivery of your PIN.
However, when I requested a PIN for my card, the bank representative told me that chip-and-PIN and chip-and-sign cards are fundamentally different, and the added PIN is meant only to authorize cash withdrawals from ATMs.
Since the situations that requird credit card PINs are fairly rare from a U.S. perspective (i.e., mostly automated terminals outside the U.S.), I'm not sure the representative I spoke to meant that the PIN is absolutely only useful for ATM withdrawals, or meant merely that the PIN is not generally otherwise useful in the United States (but might still be useful in Europe).
In short: will PIN-requiring automated terminals in Europe (especially the Netherlands) accept the PIN associated with my chip-and-signature card, or do they require cards formally classified as chip-and-PIN?