Will My Credit Card Work in South Africa?

072110-EMV-MapThis is my second time trying to add a travel notification to my credit card and this is the second time I haven’t been pleased with the outcome. I also just realized that adding a travel notification might not be enough. Bankrate says:

American cards don’t always work abroad

While most chip and PIN card readers can still read magnetic stripe cards, travelers may have trouble using their credit card at self-service payment kiosks that don’t recognize cards that don’t have a chip, such as unattended ticket machines in train stations, parking meters, parking garages, tollbooths and gas stations where customers pay at the pump.

You might even have trouble paying in person. “EMV has been prevalent in Europe for so long some of the cashiers don’t see mag-stripe cards often,” says Jania. Younger or poorly trained staff may not know how to process chipless payment cards.

Even if they know the procedure for non-EMV-enabled cards, some merchants might refuse those cards as payment because they “either think they cannot accept non-chip and PIN cards or have taken a business decision not to accept them,” Mark Bowerman, spokesman for The UK Cards Association, said via e-mail.

The reasoning, Bowerman says, is likely based on the mistaken belief that they would be liable for fraud committed with magnetic stripe cards.

My card could work …  or it might not. The answer could also change depending on the merchant. I’m a bit worried.

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