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Old 09.03.2019, 10:06
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Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

I am used to only larger purchases in the US with credit card requiring an actual signature. I have forgotten my CC pin at the moment, and my Debit Card doesn't work here, so I'm stuck using my CC pinless, and for example at self-checkout this means the (often very busy) attendant has to come over, lay out the receipt for me to sign, and stuff it in their little box. This happens not always but even for relatively small purchases (15 CHF?). Haven't figured out the threshold.

Is this something about having a US credit card, or about selecting USD vs CHF currency when paying? Or do I just need to figure out what my PIN is / request a new card+PIN from my US bank?
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Old 09.03.2019, 10:12
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

I wouldnt say its because you have a US card - everything is just chip and pin these days. I would ask for a new pin otherwise it will be such a hassle. Can you get a swiss debit card?
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Old 09.03.2019, 10:12
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

If you don't have a PIN, you have to sign, regardless of the amount.

Swiss cards as well.

Tom
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Old 09.03.2019, 10:15
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

I thought they could refuse payment if you don't have a pin. Or at least ask for photo ID. Signatures are easily forged
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Old 09.03.2019, 11:13
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

Ask your CC company for a PIN reminder ASAP!

Are you a tourist or here temporarily? Only asking as it’s quite exorbitant to use a foreign CC with high mark-up and fees on FX transactions.
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Old 09.03.2019, 13:24
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

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Ask your CC company for a PIN reminder ASAP!

Are you a tourist or here temporarily? Only asking as itís quite exorbitant to use a foreign CC with high mark-up and fees on FX transactions.
I've actually just relocated here to work, it's only been a week and a half so. I'm going to have to open a local bank account anyways for work to deposit to, so I guess I will just get a local CC then, and stop using my US one.

I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong because in the US the signature for pinless only kicks in for large amounts-- I forget the threshold, but it happens rarely enough that it doesn't feel like such a nuisance.
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Old 09.03.2019, 13:47
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

The Swiss are still getting used to credit cards. When we first moved here 20 years ago they were a rarity and hardly used for anything except large purchases. People either paid cash or used a debit card and they're still the most used methods of payments here.

Once you get your bank account organised (and that'll be another eye-opener for you) you'll get a debit card which you can use.

I assume you're American so you'll find your banking choices are limited. UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance - maybe Migros Bank if you're lucky.
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Old 09.03.2019, 13:53
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

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I've actually just relocated here to work, it's only been a week and a half so. I'm going to have to open a local bank account anyways for work to deposit to, so I guess I will just get a local CC then, and stop using my US one.

I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong because in the US the signature for pinless only kicks in for large amounts-- I forget the threshold, but it happens rarely enough that it doesn't feel like such a nuisance.
Revolut might be an option during the transition period (and beyond). We have a whole thread about it here on EF. Your situation is one of their main use-cases!

Signing for card purchases has nothing to do with the amount. They are two completely separate authorization mechanisms (one is magnetic strip and the other is the chip). The most used method is chip and pin, and I donít recall the last time I had to sign for a purchase purely because the chip is the default one used.
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Old 09.03.2019, 15:52
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

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Revolut might be an option during the transition period (and beyond). We have a whole thread about it here on EF. Your situation is one of their main use-cases!

Signing for card purchases has nothing to do with the amount. They are two completely separate authorization mechanisms (one is magnetic strip and the other is the chip). The most used method is chip and pin, and I donít recall the last time I had to sign for a purchase purely because the chip is the default one used.
Like everyone said I should just get my local debit card and also remedy my forgotten-US-pin situation by talking to my bank back in the US. But now I'm curious... what's the consequence of magnetic strip versus chip? l I have been using chip, but without pin, and get asked to sign. Does that mean if I use the magnetic strip instead that it will behave differently or will I still have to sign? Do I have the choice of swiping or are there chip-only terminals?
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Old 09.03.2019, 16:26
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

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Like everyone said I should just get my local debit card and also remedy my forgotten-US-pin situation by talking to my bank back in the US. But now I'm curious... what's the consequence of magnetic strip versus chip? l I have been using chip, but without pin, and get asked to sign. Does that mean if I use the magnetic strip instead that it will behave differently or will I still have to sign? Do I have the choice of swiping or are there chip-only terminals?
Not an expert here but in essence the difference is as follows...

From a technology perspective:

1) With signature authorization the terminal read simply reads the card details stored in the magnetic strip and authorization is simply a matter of verifying the signature.

2) With chip and pin authorization it’s not just about reading the card details (or whatever details are read to complete the transaction) from the chip but also the authorisation is dependent on a successful entry of the pin (hence chip and pin). I am not sure if signature is also possible versus chip or if it’s always based on magnetic strip.

The whole thing about chip and pin is that it’s supposed to reduce fraud as pin is deemed more secure than signature and most importantly it moves the burden of proof from the retailer to the card holder when it comes to fraudulent transactions. In the former the retailer has to prove the signature is genuine (difficult to do) and in the latter the card holder has to prove they haven’t evligentkh divulged their pin (also difficult to do).

Finally most of the SIX terminals in Switzerland I believe can do both reading the chip as well as the magnetic strip, you won’t have a choice and I believe it’s up to the retailer to override any defaults. (Again not an expert)
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Old 09.03.2019, 17:16
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

I'd ask for a new pin. Without it it's virtually impossible to shop anywhere in Switzerland or the rest of Europe.
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Old 09.03.2019, 17:31
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

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I've actually just relocated here to work, it's only been a week and a half so. I'm going to have to open a local bank account anyways for work to deposit to, so I guess I will just get a local CC then, and stop using my US one.

I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong because in the US the signature for pinless only kicks in for large amounts-- I forget the threshold, but it happens rarely enough that it doesn't feel like such a nuisance.
It is the credit card issuer (usually a bank) who sets the rules for when a signature is required or not.
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Old 10.03.2019, 14:02
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

It is due to your American card, no one has to sign anymore if they have their pin. It can be overridden, but most stores will just ask you to try another card if your pin doesnít work. You should really get a new card, imagine situations like a car park marching where they only have a PIN pad and no way to sign.
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Old 10.03.2019, 14:18
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

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It is due to your American card, no one has to sign anymore if they have their pin. It can be overridden, but most stores will just ask you to try another card if your pin doesnít work. You should really get a new card, imagine situations like a car park marching where they only have a PIN pad and no way to sign.
Well that's the thing. Everyone here who has said that chip without PIN means you have to sign must be wrong. I don't always have to sign at the store, and I have bought transit tickets at terminals, used vending machines, etc, all with the same card (using the chip), without PIN, and without signing. So far in my ~2 wks here the only problem has been having to bother the attendant each time to come over and gather my signature. Otherwise I have not been blocked from anything in normal daily life. Kind of like if I were in the US, using a CC without PIN.
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Old 11.03.2019, 08:37
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Re: Use credit card (without PIN) sometimes/usually requires signature?

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Well that's the thing. Everyone here who has said that chip without PIN means you have to sign must be wrong. I don't always have to sign at the store, and I have bought transit tickets at terminals, used vending machines, etc, all with the same card (using the chip), without PIN, and without signing. So far in my ~2 wks here the only problem has been having to bother the attendant each time to come over and gather my signature. Otherwise I have not been blocked from anything in normal daily life. Kind of like if I were in the US, using a CC without PIN.
Yes just depends on how the machines have been programmed. At the end of the day the system makes the liability fall on the retailer. If they disable the security features they get dinged for fraud.
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