On previous trips abroad, I always had a pretty organized method of banking and tracking transaction fees; therefore, I was flabbergasted when I friend recently alerted me to the new chip-n-pin system in Europe. As I began to peruse some of the New York Times articles covering the debacle , I quickly learned that pretty much everywhere in the developed world has transitioned to a more secure banking system that uses microchip processing rather than magnetic strips. US debit cards and credit cards are not equipped with the microchip,causing significant hassle for those trying to bank abroad.
I have thus far been disappointed in my research as I realize that there are some banks offering chip and pin cards to high end travelers, but even these cards seem to only work consistently in major global metropolises. Somehow I am not certain that Rosthwaite, Cumbria will be able to process my transactions.
Essentially I am trying to figure out the most convenient and inexpensive way to make purchases abroad. We will buy most everything we can ahead of time, from home, using our credit card. But what are we to do when we need to buy dinner?
As a loyal credit union member for almost six years, I am hoping that there might be some sort of global cooperative that might ease the transition. Aside from the United Nations Credit Union (of which I am not a member), I haven’t yet found any connections, but I welcome input from anyone who might have some creative ideas.
Or perhaps US banking institutions will migrate toward a more compatible chip-n-pin system before my travels. Although it’s probably about as likely as the long awaited conversion to metric promised to me by my fourth grade teacher: we are learning the metric system because one day when you are an adult the whole world will be on the metric system.
So pragmatically, any suggestions about US banking in the Lake District and across the Wainwright Coast to Coast are much appreciated.