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Author: winjim

Joined: 5/16/2010
Posts: 7
Traveler Since: 2005

October 20, 2013

Our PD for Sicily in her pretrip email mentioned potential problems with debit cards at ATMs.  I had understood that due to lack of the chip used in Europe, U.S.debit cards used at train stations, parking meters, etc. can be a problem, but normal ATM use is OK.  When in France and Russia in the past year, we have had no problems getting cash at ATMs with debit cards.  

What is your experience?

 

 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

October 20, 2013

I have not been in Italy since 2011 but at that time the standard US debit card (mag stripe, four-digit PIN) worked perfectly in all ATMs (Bancomats) at which I tried to use it. I used it in a larger city, Palarmo, and in a smaller town, Naxos.

Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 48
Traveler Since: 2007

October 20, 2013

Funny thing - a couple of days ago I talked with my card companies about the magnetic strip/chip and PIN issue for a pending European trip.  They told me that the standard U.S. magnetic strip should work fine for restaurants, retailers, etc., (and presumably ATM's, although I didn't ask about them) even if the business people there are reluctant to take them.  The exception: unattended kiosks (for bike rental and the like) and similar places.  Those would require chip and PIN.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 959
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

October 21, 2013

What I was told, and I also saw it in a newspaper article discussing this, that the credit card companies say that if these businesses accept credit cards at all, they are required to accept them without the pin and chip.  But as we are advised, it's always a good idea to ask first.  And it's imperative to notify your credit card companies where you will be.

Just to avoid these problems, a friend of mine who went to Italy last spring had to get a new Amex card and arranged for it to have the chip installed and registered a pin number.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

October 21, 2013

Folks, the question was about DEBIT cards, not CREDIT cards. I certainly hope that nobody uses a credit card to get cash from an ATM (Bancomat). That is the MOST expensive way to get cash. The DEBIT card at the ATM is, on the other hand, the cheapest way to get cash. But using a debit card to purchase merchandise has a much hight risk factor than use of a credit card.

I have not checked to see if I could get a debit card with a chip and pin, so I can't address that part of the question.

Author: franniepat

Joined: 3/11/2010
Posts: 49
Countries Visited:

Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Mexico, Alaska, Canada, Western US parks.

Traveler Since: 2008

October 21, 2013

Just returned from the Sicily trip. We, and several other travelers had trouble using debit cards in different towns, but other towns worked fine. We noticed it depends on whether the ATM accepted Cirrus, Star, Internet, etc... Just kept trying ATMs and when you get one that works, take out the max, usally around 250 Euros in one day. It was a fabulous trip!

Author: winjim

Joined: 5/16/2010
Posts: 7
Traveler Since: 2005

October 23, 2013

franniepat, great news.  We are good at persistence, and will try ATMs in our network.  How were the hotels?  They have been tweaked a bit from the original, and the Taormina location looks better.  We're looking for an "authentic" experience, not Hyatts, and enjoy observing the local scene.  

I guess when the European atms require chips, our American debit cards will add them.  Interesting how technology adaptation varies.

Winnie

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