Using an American credit card in European ticket machine can be hell, just ask anyone who's been to Paris and I'm sure you'll get an earful. The big problem is that almost no American chip cards support the Chip + PIN standard. Barclays has a few cards that support Chip + PIN Backup, which enables the card to use a PIN in situations where a signature isn't possible, like automated ticket machines.
|New JetBlue card...|
Right before we began our Tokyo sabbatical, my new JetBlue Barclay card showed up in the mail (I had the JetBlue Amex and they switched providers). I'm happy to report that my JetBlue PIN worked great in the Japan Railway's Shinkansen ticket machine, where my other American chip cards failed (Sapphire, Amex, Skypass). Not all JR machines require a PIN, but as you'll see from the pictures, a bunch of them do. I learned this when I was in Nagoya for the day without my JetBlue card, and I couldn't find a single machine that didn't require a PIN. And the line for the staffed JR counter was very, very long.
|JetBlue card works in Tokyo Bullet Train ticket machines!|
|PIN required notice|
I just wanted to mention this real world example because we all get told so many conflicting things about Chip cards to the point where my first reaction is always, "well call me when you've tested it in the Paris Metro and then we'll talk..." I've personally tested my Barclays Arrival card (same issuer as JetBlue, also has Chip + PIN Backup) with:
- London Oyster card machine (pin)
- London Emirates Sky tram ticket machine (pin)
- Transport for London staffed window (sig)
- Spanish Renfe long distance train ticket machine (pin)
- onboard cafe on Spanish AVE train (sig)
- Madrid metro ticket machine (pin)