Credit cards with chips

Taking this cruise in June and seeking advice on using credit cards. We have a fair amount in Euros from last trip but see that they don't take them in St. Petersburg, Stockholm or Copenhagen. Our credit cards all have chips. Can we use them freely in most places on this tour? (I note the advice that we will need cash for Russia, but I mean the other cities.) We don't have or use PINs for these cards when we use them in the US, and we don't want to use them as ATM cards, so do we need to ask banks to assign us PINs to use them as credit cards only? I am worried we will need to bring cash in. several currencies, which seems really inefficient. Would appreciate any advice on this. Thanks!

Comments

  • I can’t speak for Stockholm or Copenhagen, but generally speaking you just say it is an American credit card, you do not have a PIN, but you may be asked to sign instead. We have never had issues using credit cards in numerous countries where they are accepted for payment. If you use AMEX, they don’t even require you tell them you are traveling, other cards it’s worth telling them you are traveling when and where.
  • And, to add on, CapitalOne, that used to be the only non-currency exchange fee card ( there are others now) no longer requires you to notify them of travel plans. I am particularly amused (and, this could be a long travel story, but I will do the “Cliff’s Notes” version) as I have always notified them and on two separate Asian trips , I have been notified via email that I have unusual charges on my card and was frozen out! Sadly, those charges were legitimate, and trying to call an 800 number internationally to notify them was a challenge, to say the least ( I do not use my cell phone internationally). On one occasion, in Bangkok, I was given a different number to call than I had been given by the company to call. When the answerer wanted my security code to verify my identity, I balked. We had a stand-off where the CapitalOne rep refused to help me and I refused to give the code, not sure that she was legitimate. She hung up on me...not exactly good customer service! When I returned home and called CapOne, it turns out the number I was given was legit, but the whole incident left me angry. Then, when years later my card was frozen in Mumbai, ( even though they had been informed of my travel plans) i didn’t even try to fix it and let my husband pay for everything with his card....worked for me!! I will be interested in how the card works on our upcoming European trip (I will bring a second card to cover me in case that card gets frozen)...I suspect card companies are getting more savvy with travelers.
  • Credit cards are easy, cash is difficult. I had read on Trip Advisor that there is an ATM machine on every street corner in St. Petersburg ... not! Never could find one ... our tour director finally got me some rubles for ‘street purchases’. If you really need to do street stuff, get your rubles ahead of time. I had no trouble using credit cards for purchases from regular merchants, though there is some danger of having your data compromised. I had no problems.
  • edited March 2018
    A few years ago a friend's son and his colleague traveling there independently were 'Arrested', taken to an ATM where they were forced to empty their bank accounts before they were released. Of course while in the Tauck bubble this is unlikely to happen, but be careful when you are on your own. It is one of those destinations where I think it is essential to not display signs of wealth, leave jewelry and fancy clothing at home. Every tour we do, I am still perplexed by the number of fellow Tauckers who wear huge diamond rings, earings and necklaces, on my last tour in Indochina is a prime example.
  • At least they found an ATM machine. (;-)
  • We have found that it is best to use ATM machines at the airport. There are lots of people around and the possibility of danger is less.

  • I totally agree. We always do that when we arrive in a ‘plane’. Howsomever, this trip arrives in a boat. (;-)
  • Sealord wrote:
    Credit cards are easy, cash is difficult. I had read on Trip Advisor that there is an ATM machine on every street corner in St. Petersburg ... not! Never could find one ... our tour director finally got me some rubles for ‘street purchases’. If you really need to do street stuff, get your rubles ahead of time. I had no trouble using credit cards for purchases from regular merchants, though there is some danger of having your data compromised. I had no problems.

    Wondering how much opportunity for "street purchases" one will have in St. Petersburg. I understood we would really have no 'on our own' time.
  • Mainstay86 wrote:
    Wondering how much opportunity for "street purchases" one will have in St. Petersburg. I understood we would really have no 'on our own' time.

    “No on our own time”, would be incorrect. I think we had some “on our own time” at almost every venue. And there were things to purchase at almost every venue. We even left the ship on our own to roam about St. Petersburg and shop or whatever. Of course, unlike ‘normal’ cruises, Russian imigrations does not ‘clear’ the enitire ship and allow you to come and go as you please. Each time you leave, and return, you must go through immigrations. So you need to carry your passport all the time. We went to a hotel that was supoosed to have an ATM, and we found something that looked like an ATM, or perhaps a vending machine, but all the writing was in Russian so we could not figure it out. As said, our tour director got some rubles for us, but that was a bit inconvenient. If you want to ‘street shop’ in Russia, I would recommend getting your rubles before you leave.
  • We just returned from this trip and had no trouble using our credit card in Russia. We did use Russian currency and credit cards together on souvenirs in a shop. If you are traveling on the small ship tour there is a fabulous souvenir store across the street where the ship docks. We found they had the same items and did bargin a bit, wrapped and bagged purchases for travel. We felt no need to explor on our own. The ship is docked several blocks from the main square should you feel the need to be out on your own. Best shopping for amber was Catherine’s Palace, be sure to bring your credit card. Also Finland’s open air market and surrounding shops had great pieces for purchase.
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