Using EMV Card Outside USA
Can I to use my EMV card when I travel outside the country?
Yes and no.
The U.S. is the last major market still using the magnetic-stripe card system. Many European countries moved to EMV technology years ago to combat high fraud rates. That shift has left many U.S. consumers who have magnetic-stripe cards looking for other forms of payment when they travel.
Since many foreign merchants are wary of magnetic-stripe cards, consumers who hold some type of chip card may run into fewer issues than those without one, according to Ferenczi with Oberthur.
“Just the existence of the chip will likely make European merchants more willing to accept transactions that they wouldn’t have likely accepted if a customer presented a mag-stripe card,” he say, which is good news for traveling U.S. cardholders.
However, chip-and-PIN cards are the norm in most other countries that support EMV technology. So consumers with chip-and-signature cards may find some merchants who are unwilling or unable to process their card, even though it does have an embedded chip.
But despite any difficulties in the transition, Ferenczi says the change is a step in the right direction.
“Nobody likes to think that his or her card is being secretly used for other purposes,” he says. “So I think regardless, there is a level of comfort knowing that it will be far more difficult to counterfeit EMV cards.”