Your Best Credit Cards for a European Vacation
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you're going abroad this spring, your head may be swimming with possibilities for how you'll pay for things during your stay. You'll need a card with chip technology, and having a card with no foreign transaction fees -- and cash when you need it -- is key to a successful trip. While choosing the right card may seem complicated, there are several options available now that will work wherever your travels take you.
Chip and PIN cards vs. chip and signature cards
Although the U.S. is woefully behind the curve when it comes to internationally adopted chip and PIN cards, many major credit card companies are expected to start offering the technology in the next few months, says Brian Kelly, founder of ThePointsGuy.com.
Unlike traditional cards that feature a magnetic stripe and require a signature, chip and PIN cards feature a computer chip and require a personal identification number to complete a transaction. Until they become available, U.S. travelers are encouraged to use one of the chip and signature cards available now. For most all transactions, the chip is really what you need, Kelly explains."The chip is what matters. The only place you can't use a chip and signature card is at an unmanned kiosk. So if you're trying to get a ticket for the Paris Metro late at night, you might be out of luck -- there has to be a human there for you to sign. But otherwise, you can use a chip and signature card anywhere you use a chip and PIN card," Kelly says. For now, there are a handful of cards in the U.S. that offer almost-as-good chip and signature technology, says Bethy Hardeman, consumer advocate for Credit Karma. Those include the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi ThankYou cards, Marriott Rewards Premier, British Airways Visa Signature, American Express Platinum and OPEN and a few others, Hardeman says. Other cards that have promised they'll be getting in on the game very soon include JPMorgan Chase and Barclays.
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