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Cash and Carry

By Linda Tancs

One crucial point to keep in mind about credit and debit cards is the usage in Europe, Canada, Latin America and other parts of the world of what’s known as “chip and PIN” credit and debit cards.  These cards have a computer chip embedded in them, technology increasingly adopted internationally to combat credit and debit card fraud.  The use of the card is effectuated by verifying a PIN (personal identification number).   It does not appear that any U.S. credit and debit cards (characterized by magnetic stripe readers) currently possess this “chip and PIN” technology for use abroad.  So what do you do if your card is rejected by a vendor?  In some cases, the situation can be resolved by reminding a vendor that he or she has the option to type the card number into a credit card machine.  Now there’s another option.  Money exchange company Travelex is debuting the Cash Passport, a card pre-loaded with your desired currency.  The more you buy, the better the exchange rate.  This option is particularly attractive for automated transactions where a magnetic stripe card might be rejected.

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