When news hit that the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® was being tweaked to include Chip & PIN capability, I dutifully ordered mine the minute the option became available on the website. At the time, I knew my next most likely opportunity to try the chip capabilities would be on a then forthcoming trip to Canada. Now, when you receive the card, the materials that come with it refer to the card as Chip & Signature with PIN capability. They also say that you must sign for your first transaction in an international location, but then you should be able to use your PIN.

After enjoying a first lunch in Canada, I used my Arrival+ to pay. The card machine had both chip reading and swipe capability, so I went for the chip slot. Having watched the patrons paying prior to me from a distance, I could see that all used chip cards, and no one signed receipts. I worked through the menu, and out came a receipt for me to sign. Worked like a charm. I thought the next transaction might offer the PIN option, but that did not happen, again, I received a signature slip. This repeated itself for each transaction during the weekend, and not once was I offered the PIN option when making a purchase. I experienced no issues with any merchant except one. On Saturday afternoon I was dispatched to the local store to purchase wine for dinner. It was clear that the clerk had not seen a signature slip for a card purchase in a long time. That led to a request for my driver’s license. After providing that, there were some strange stares at the merchant receipt, looking for what, I do not know, then I was told to have a nice day.

In the end, the trip went fine, and the card worked flawlessly, even if it never did default to the PIN when making a purchase. I do not know enough about EMV technology to understand why this might be the case. Our neighbors to the north likely see enough Americans in most cities to not be surprised when they see a signature slip. Nonetheless, chips are coming to a credit card near you very soon if they haven’t already. Here’s some interesting reading aimed at merchants faced with the conversion to EMV.

-MJ, July 9, 2014


A happy holiday weekend to you from Vancouver, BC. I’ve often heard Vancouver called the most beautiful city in North America, and I do quite like it. Part of me wishes we could stay a little longer, but it’s been an enjoyable visit. We’re not here to tour, but to visit family, but have managed to work in a bit of sightseeing and experiencing new things – not counting eating Chinese food for lunch on the 4th of July in Canada, but I digress.

I was wondering if this visit to Canada would offer the opportunity to test the Chip & PIN capability of my Barclays Arrival Card. According to the materials that came with the card, it is Chip & Signature with Chip & PIN capability, and you’ll need to sign for your first transaction. In reality, I’ve needed to sign for every transaction. Not an issue, just an observation. I’m sure some of that is driven by the underlying workings of EMV chips, and what drives PIN requirements. I’ve not “studied” them but I think some of it has to do with attended terminals vs unattended and whether or not there is a real time connection to the payment network. In any event, chip cards are expected here, but each terminal I have used has included the option to swipe. The card has served me well this trip, and the Chip & Signature capability has worked like a charm. So…that’s enough of that Chip card datapoint. Let’s take a look at the week in review here at MJ on Travel.

No matter how you’re spending your weekend, enjoy it! Talk to you next week.

-MJ, July 5, 2014

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