Advice on Using Credit Cards While Traveling Abroad – New York Times, August 28, 2010

Consumers voice their thoughts about the credit card situation and travel:

Aside from the “not invented here” syndrome, why is there a reluctance on the part of US banks to issue chip embedded cards – and please don’t wave the cost flag!
The mag strip credit card is a liability in Europe – as US citizens traveling abroad we are reduced to stumbling bumpkins amongst the properly equipped electronic elitists of Europe – the inconvenience (and embarrassment) of having a card rejected in a restaurant, the ensuing frantic search for an ATM that will recognize a US card, incurring the wrath of Metro commuters in Paris with vain attempts to pay for a pass with a conventional mag strip card at an automated dispenser, the horror of creating a traffic jam when the automated toll booth refuses the mag strip card are only some of the downs associated with travel outside the US. Both Mastercard and Visa also add on a “foreign transaction fee”, calculated as 3% of each transaction – my experience is that the fee can be waived on appeal, but only once!
Aside from the reduced purchasing power of the once mighty greenback, the convenience of credit cards quickly evaporates outside the US – the credit card companies seem to be actively discouraging foreign travel through their head-in-the-sand approach to the embedded chip technology and their quest for profitability through added fees. The alternative of course is to travel abroad with large amounts of cash (making US citizens an obvious target for those of a criminal mind) …………… or perhaps just stay at home!

This is just one voice out of many!!!!!

OK, so keep Americans in the USA and their money here too, but this gives us a myopic view of the world.

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