Friday, September 10, 2010

Chipped credit cards

We encountered another problem with 'regular' credit cards again this trip – this time in Bangkok. (In our last trip we also had problems using our credit cards at Tesco, a superstore. There they kept having to call a manager which was a hassle since it held up the check out line and us(!) and we pretty much went there daily for supplies.) The hotel we were staying would not accept the card when we checked in and since it was a Sunday there was no manager available whom we could speak to. Fortunately, my brother-in-law offered to use his card since he lived in Bangkok. He paid for our deposit for our stay.

Visa and Mastercard really have not dealt with this problem adequately – they need to force the US banks to switch over. As the use of chipped cards expands the capacity to deal with unchipped cards is going to shrink proportionately – mom and pop operations in Asia and Europe that accept chipped credit cards may not have the know-how to bypass the use of a chipped card. Fortunately for us the hotel's IT folks came in later that week and 'fixed' their card reader so that we could pay our balance with our crappy US based credit cards.

Canceling credit cards is now on my to-do list. I am also exploring the possibility of moving our money off-shore to a country that does offer chipped cards.

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