If you’re an American moving to London and have visited here before, you’ve probably been asked to provide additional identification at some point when paying with debit or credit with your American swipe card. Or perhaps the vendor didn’t have the equipment to read a swipe card because the magnetic strip readers have been phased out.
That’s because many countries outside of the US use a smart chip technology in their cards that provides identification data and requires input of a PIN number for added security. Traditional swipe cards had become an increased security risk as signatures could be forged if the card is stolen. Identity thieves have evidently also created technologies that can read magnetic strips, which assists in cloning such cards.
Since making my own relocation to London, I have to say I’m a big fan of the point-of-service reader concept that you’ll see in restaurants. It’s similar to the readers you’ll see at store counters in which you insert your card (smart chip end-in) and enter your PIN on the keypad; however, it’s portable, so wait-staff bring it directly to your table. Having been a victim of credit card fraud before (when I trusted a shoe department employee to take my card and ring me up already at the register while I put my own shoes back on—he rang my new shoes up all right, just also made some purchases of his own with the information he stole from my swipe card), I like my credit and debit cards where I can see them. And I like that having to enter a PIN even for a credit card transaction gives me an added layer of security.
So once you’ve made your international relocation to London and set up your UK bank account with your London Relocation agent‘s help, get excited for when they issue your new smart chip technology cards. You can feel more secure and say See ya! to the swipe.