August 15, 2006 3:53 AM
Credit Card May Be Refused in the UK
Great reminder for travelers to the United Kingdom: merchant may refuse to accept your debit or credit card now that the entire country has shifted to the smart card and PIN system this year. The universal access provided by both Visa and Mastercard will still allow signature-based transaction — you just need to advocate your right.
Americans shopping in the U.K. are getting tangled up with merchants refusing to accept their debit or credit card. Cardholders in the U.K. must now have a smart card and a PIN to make a purchase. Most U.S.-issued cards have magnetic stripes only (not a computer chip) and any PIN associated with the card will not work in the U.K. at the point of sale. However, the PINs will still work at ATMs overseas. AAA says some merchants in the U.K. are not aware that a U.S. magnetic stripe card will work in the new terminals and other merchants may be reluctant to accept only a signature. The U.K. fully switched to the “Chip & PIN” program this year. The AAA encourages Americans to be more persistent with merchants to complete the transaction with a signature, instead of a PIN.
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