I just got a credit card from Chase with a chip -- American banks are starting to offer them. I'd like to know if anyone has used such a card in the U.K. recently and how that all worked out.

According to the guy at Chase, the deal with this card is that the chip helps it be compatible with U.K. point-of-sale systems, but the system will prompt the merchant for a signature (whereas their U.K. cards prompt for a PIN).

He also said that in some train stations this card won't work at an automated ticket kiosk because there's no PIN and the kiosk doesn't have a signature pad.

OK, great. So that's the bank's story.

I'm looking for up-to-date first-hand information from anyone who has used this type of card in the U.K. -- where it worked, where it didn't, any other useful information.

  • It sounds like you might have a "chip and signature" card. If so, these are rare, but not unheard of. Do you have a pin for the card at all, or is it only ever used for signatures? – Gagravarr May 17 '12 at 3:17
  • Yeah, the card has a chip but there's no PIN and when I used it in the UK, they asked for a signature. I didn't have any major problems with it. – Ethan May 30 '12 at 0:25
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    Note that "the chip helps it be compatible with U.K. point-of-sale system" is true, but the UK can also still handle strip-and-signature cards. We haven't phased them out in our POS systems, as so many tourists have them. – Jon Story Jan 29 '15 at 13:30
  • I don't have first hand experiance but my understanding is the terminals can handle it fine. The people operating the terminals on the ohter hand may be confused by it. – Peter Green Jan 22 '16 at 16:54

Coming from New Zealand, when I arrived in the UK I had one of the credit cards that I hadn't gotten around to putting a pin on. But without fail, as long as there was a person there, they'd be happy to let me sign for it - and they'd usually request a form of ID to compare with.

In theory a pin is more secure, but signing is still perfectly valid.

I then got myself a chipped and pinned debit card while living there, so I didn't end up using my NZ one that often, but when I did, it worked.

I had a bit more trouble in Central Asian countries, but a bit of hand waving and you'd usually get the message across ;)

  • "signing is still perfectly valid", IIRC Visa and MC guidelines are, to completely deprecate signing by end of 2012. – vartec Oct 28 '12 at 23:44

I'm from Ireland (which is similar to UK in this regard). Here many many point-of-sale or ATMs will be chip and pin. I overheard some Americans recently in my local supermarket unable to use their swipe credit card.

However I've never heard of these chip cards without a pin. Here "Chip 'n PIN" is what it's called at. You may have to explain to people about the lack of PIN. I'd be slightly surprised if it were to work without the PIN.

You could always use your card in a bank to get cash and just spend cash there. Or to be on the total safe side, get a proper chip & pin card.

  • Chip and PIN cards aren't expected to be available in the US for a few more years. – Michael Hampton Jun 12 '14 at 19:23
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    Chip-and-Signature is what they are called in the UK. They're used in Europe by some disabled people who can't use Chip-and-PIN, so they should be accepted quite widely, as the various national disability-rights laws require them. Unattended devices (like parking machines, rail-ticket machines, ATMs) are the main exception. – Richard Gadsden Jun 18 '14 at 11:06

I have had a chip-and-no-PIN MasterCard, Visa card and American Express card issued by Malaysian financial institutions for ages and throughout my travels to London, Paris, Rome/Venice, Sydney/Melbourne, Hong Kong, Tokyo/Osaka - none of my transactions have been declined by merchants. What I observed while queuing up to pay was that the locals have to key in their PIN, but I have to sign my signature on the transaction slip.

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    For credit cards you can sign, even if they are debit versions of the cards. This may not work for other kinds of cards (ones without MC/Visa/AMEX/Diners logos). – hippietrail Oct 28 '12 at 9:30

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