Expat Magazine

Oh for a Chip and Pin Card

By Expatmum @tonihargis
So I'm in England for my annual pilgrimage and feeling a bit like a foreigner once again. As many expats discover, with each year you're gone, your mother country becomes less and less familiar. New fangled procedures queue up to make you look like a complete idiot in your own land, compounded by the fact that you have the same accent as the natives and yet appear clueless. 

A few year ago it was the challenge of the supermarket trolleys/carts that require a pound coin as a deposit. Try as I might, I couldn't figure out just by watching others, quite how the feat was performed. You put a coin in somewhere, pulled something, and the trolley was released. On returning the trolley, you somehow joined it back together with the other trolleys and your coin was returned to you. This, of course, assumed that I actually had a pound coin to my name. Half the time I had to buy a newspaper or a packet of chewing gum to get the desired coinage. 

This year, once again, it's the bloody credit/debit card situation. Up and down the land, Brits are equipped with chip and pin cards. The whole process of paying for goods has changed in the last few years - no signatures required. There is even something you can wave at the scanner, although purchases are limited to thirty pounds and no more than thrice a day. Meanwhile in the US, while many of us now have a card with a chip in it, only a chosen few have been designated the magical PIN.
Despite Brits in America telling me that they have never had a problem with a PINless card in the UK, (as if it's somehow a moral failure on my part) every day is a new adventure for me with my cards. Unbelievably I visited Costco on two consecutive days and proffered my Visa card (with advance warning of its PINlessness). First day was no problem; second day, it wouldn't process. How can that be? (Fortunately my PINless American Express went through). Filling the car up at a petrol/gas station on the A1, my cards were all totally rejected by the sales assistant and I had to drag the Ball & Chain out of the car to pay with his Diners card (with a PIN). I suspect however, that the sales assistant just couldn't be bothered with the fuss of a manual process.

Yesterday in Sports Direct (a large national chain of sports stuff), my PINless Visa (again, with advance warning) sparked off a security procedure that would've put Buckingham Palace to shame. Although they could process it, because of recent scams, there are now internal steps in place involving a manager, a phone call to the bank, an internal code and a long queue of people muttering under their breath. Sigh. 

The real benefit of a chip and pin card is that there is now no matching of signatures. I remember working in retail decades ago and young Americans would try to make purchases armed with a parents' credit card. We were, under no circumstances, allowed to process cards with dodgy signatures, even if they were accompanied by a letter from said parent. Now though, I can make off with the Ball & Chain's PIN'ed card, key in his PIN and no questions will be asked. 

I think. 

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Video: Climbing The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite

    Video: Climbing Nose Capitan Yosemite

    Thanks to the recent speed record set by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, there has been a lot of talk about The Nose route on El Capitan in Yosemite recently. Read more

    The 19 June 2018 by   Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS
  • Paper Fix | Pop-up Card

    Paper Pop-up Card

    greenhouse pop-up card | terrain Read more

    The 19 June 2018 by   Ofpaperandthings
    HOME, LIFESTYLE
  • Finding Your Own Yoga

    Finding Your Yoga

    by NinaKitchereeIf you carefully read the Yoga Sutras cover to cover and learn about what the eight-fold path really entails, you would realize—and maybe you... Read more

    The 19 June 2018 by   Ninazolotow
    FITNESS, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING
  • Bad Fruit is Bad

    Fruit

    Yesterday I wrote about the wind, meaning, the Spirit, blowing where it will. I wrote of how we can't see the wind at the time but we can see its effects. One o... Read more

    The 19 June 2018 by   Elizabethprata
    SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY
  • Supermarine Seafire F.XV

    Supermarine Seafire F.XV

    @ Oshkosh, WI July 2010 My first Seafire sighting, seen at 2010 Oshkosh Airventure.  The number of articulating bits on this aircraft are certainly impressive. Read more

    The 19 June 2018 by   Htam
    PHOTOGRAPHY, SOCIETY
  • The Eyecicle • Temperature Cooling, Anti-Aging Beauty Device

    Eyecicle Temperature Cooling, Anti-Aging Beauty Device

    Facial massagers have become a popular beauty buy of late and even though they have been around for years and used in many a facial treatment, they have become... Read more

    The 19 June 2018 by   Kellilash
    HAIR & BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE
  • Karakoram Summer 2018: Individual Expeditions to Keep an Eye On

    Karakoram Summer 2018: Individual Expeditions Keep

    Yesterday we shared a few updates from the Karakoram about the current status of a few teams that have already started to arrive on their respective mountains. Read more

    The 19 June 2018 by   Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS