Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

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heraclitus
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Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by heraclitus » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:53 am

I was wondering whether anybody has encountered any difficulties using U.S. credit cards in Turkey. Here I am referring primarily to the "chip and PIN' system commonly used with European credit cards. While I know that, technically, all merchants accepting a given brand (e.g., VISA, Amex) are supposed to accept non-Chip and Pin cards, sometimes they offer resistance. I started thinking about this because a Turkey travel wiki I was reading talked about gas stations where, for credit card purchases, you first needed to enter the station office and enter your credit card PIN. Is this standard practice? If so, can I use American credit cards when buying gas or do I need to carry extra cash to negotiate these transactions?


heraclitus
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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by heraclitus » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:08 am

Hmmm. It's probably bad form to (partially) answer one's own question in a forum like this but further research has provided me with a tolerable fallback solution for any Chip-and-PIN issues that may arise in Turkey or elsewhere. (I'm still interested in hearing about others credit card experiences, though.) Anyway, it seems that Travelex has recently introduced a Travelex Passport debit card which incorporates a CHIP and PIN system. You load up a card at one of their U.S. affiliates (or online) with a given amount of Euros or British pounds. You can then make credit card purchases on CHIP and PIN units/kiosks as well as ATM withdrawals. The downside is that you pay ghastly, exorbitant exchange rates while loading up your card. (Exchange rates are slightly better with higher value cards, i.e., more than 1000 euros.) Still, it strikes me as a useful addition to the traveler's monetary toolkit. If you encounter a machine/kiosk that just won't accept a U.S. card or cash, this may be useful as a last ditch backup.

Personally, I wish that the U.S. credit card companies would finally get their heads out of the sand and offer CHIP-and-PIN compliant cards. Sheesh! This issue has been around for at least five or six years now! Still, until that day arrives, something like the Travelex Passport strikes me as a useful (albeit expensive) workaround.

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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by SwampeastMike » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:57 am

Some did ask about the "Chip and PIN" cards but few problems with U.S. credit cards in three long holidays throughout the country.

Fuel stations were the biggest problem. All I have visited accept plastic and have a bank of credit card readers that the manager will attempt to use before saying, "I need cash." With both a Mastercard and a Visa you should find acceptance but ensure you have enough cash!

ATMs are a bit iffy. Any town of size to have at least one ATM will probably have a number of them and since the Turkish custom is to group similar commercial ventures, just go to another nearby if your card is declined when you know it is good. Your U.S. bank is FAR more likely to gouge you for the cash advance fee than the Turkish banks!

The small merchants where you find the best things and the best bargains typically insisit upon cash.

Yentakvetch
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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by Yentakvetch » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:34 am

I am planning my first trip to Turkey so I can't speak to my experience there, but I have had problems with American credit cards in other countries. The problems for me always seem to occur in gas stations. On the weekends they were untended and there was only a credit card macine. Yup, my cards did not work. The stations without attendants are usually cheaper but I had to go and use the stations where there was a person present. Even then, I sometimes got asked for cash.

You are more likely to have problems as well outside major tourist centers in my experience as the merchants might not have as much exposure to the antique American credit cards. I wait for the say when American credit cards get with the program.

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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by KayaKoyuOldBoy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:28 pm

Turkey were one of the pioneers in "Chip and Pin" and the second in the world to introduce it across the entire country. We lived in Turkey for 6 years and didn't have any problems with it worth mentioning.

One of the biggest problems that I have encountered when using "Chip and Pin" throughout Europe and The Balkans isn't with the cards as such but with the quality of the phone lines being used to transmit the transaction details. That's often why cards are rejected and cash is requested at outlets.

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David Morgan
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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by David Morgan » Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:58 am

Interesting that you say that, KKOB, I've never really thought about my ability to stick my Lloyds cashpoint card into any machine I find in Turkey.
I guess the most out-of-the-way place I've done it was at an ATM outside a fabrik by Çankırı, on my way from İstanbul to Hattuşa in '04.

P.S. Come to think of it, I've never had any problems with my card in even farther out places like Zambia and Bolivia, it's always worked, sometimes with a guy in uniform with an AK47 guarding the machine.

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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by turkeytom » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:04 am

According to travelers on the road in Turkey right now (early October 2013), on October 10, 2013, credit cards used in Turkey will be required to be chip-and-PIN. In other words, a magnetic-strip-and-signature card will not be accepted.

Check this page for the latest:

http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/deta ... Cards.html

Tom Brosnahan

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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by SwampeastMike » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:17 pm

In late October/early November my U.S. credit card (no chip & pin) worked fine.

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Re: Credit Cards - "Chip and PIN" Difficulties in Turkey?

Post by turkeytom » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:48 pm

The report from travelers that "chip and PIN would be required" was erroneous, as I discovered on my most recent trip to Turkey (end of October).

Here's the current situation: many Turkish retail businesses—especially motor fuel stations—use credit card machines on which you swipe your magnetic-stripe credit or debit card, then input a PIN (Personal Identification Number). (Most Turkish credit cards still have magnetic stripes, not embedded chips, although embedded chips are coming into use).

If you do not have a PIN for your credit card (as many North Americans do not), some businesses are prepared to accept your signature in place of a PIN, as is done in North America. But other businesses—again, especially fuel stations—are not. If your credit card does not have a PIN, check in advance of purchase about acceptability, and have cash to pay if it is not accepted.

IMPORTANT NOTE! No matter what your credit card's technology, when you order a travel service online (or by phone) and reserve it by credit card, you should have that credit card with you when you use the service. For example, if you make an airline or car rental reservation by credit card, you should have the credit card with you when you fly or receive the car, or your reservation may not be honored. You may not be allowed to board the aircraft, or take the car! It all has to do with fraud prevention and anti-terrorism security.

Hotels, I think, may be more liberal, but why take a chance?

BTW, I just noticed that British Airways offers a VISA credit card to North American travelers that uses chip+PIN technology. This can be highly useful for travel in Europe, where chip+PIN is the rule (as I found out while researching FranceTravelPlanner.com. Unfortunately, most US banks do not offer chip+PIN credit cards.

Tom Brosnahan


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