Top 10 Tips for Debit and Credit Card Holders Traveling Internationally

You may have heard of some people having difficulty using magnetic stripe debit and credit cards abroad now that Europe and Canada have switched to a chip card. Chip cards, also called EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) or IC (integrated circuit) cards are common in Europe and Canada, and their check-out machines are tailored for these types of cards. In predominantly chip card regions, merchants may hesitate to accept magnetic stripe cards or not understand how to process them. In an effort to minimize problems when traveling to chip card-dominated regions with your cards, please read these tips.

Before Travel

  1. Notify Bell State Bank & Trust before traveling internationally. Advance notification will help ensure that legitimate purchases are approved. In addition, you should check to find out if either your debit or credit cards are subject to any daily spending or cash withdrawal restrictions, or if you need a debit and credit card limit increase for your travel plans. For debit card limit increases, call 701-298-1550. For credit card limit increases, call Elan Customer Service at 800-252-5354 (select option 2, option 2, option 1, option 2 and press 0).
  2. Memorize your Visa card Personal Identification Number (PIN). Memorizing your PIN will help you easily obtain cash from local ATMs. Bell State Bank & Trust’s Visa debit card can be used at approximately 1.7 million Visa and PLUS ATMs worldwide. CAUTION: For security reasons, never write your PIN on your Visa debit or credit card.
  3. Keep your Visa card account number and the lost/stolen customer service contact telephone number in a safe place (separate from your wallet or purse).
    *To report a lost or stolen checkbook or ATM & debit card, call 701.298.1550 or toll-free 800.450.8949.
    *To report a lost or stolen credit card, contact Elan Financial Services immediately by calling 24-Hour Cardmember Service at 800.558.3424.

During Travel

  1. In some countries (particularly in Europe), merchants may be more familiar with accepting EMV chip cards (cards with an embedded chip) than magnetic-stripe cards. (Visa requires that magnetic-stripe cards be accepted everywhere Visa is accepted.)
  2. In countries that have adopted chip technology, international visitors may continue to use their non-chip enabled cards; most chip terminals will recognize and process a magnetic-stripe card.
  3. If you encounter a merchant who is hesitant to accept a non-chip card for payment, you should try and encourage the merchant to swipe the magnetic-stripe card through the terminal and follow the terminal prompts to complete the transaction.
  4. If you are using an unattended rail ticket kiosk, or an automated fuel dispenser that does not recognize non-chip cards, present the card to an attendant or agent (e.g., at a ticket window).
  5. In some countries, you may be prompted to enter your PIN at a merchant terminal. While you do need to enter a PIN at an ATM, it is not necessary to enter a PIN at a merchant location for magnetic stripe cards. They should be able to bypass the PIN request and proceed with the transaction by clicking “OK” on the terminal.
  6. If, for some reason, you are unable to use your Visa debit or credit card to make a purchase at a merchant location, you should be able to obtain cash from a local ATM.
  7. If any problems or concerns arise pertaining to your Visa debit or credit card, you should contact Bell State Bank & Trust at 701-298-1550, or 800-450-8949. You can also contact Visa Global Customer Care Services (visit to locate the toll-free number appropriate for the country in which you are traveling).

Should you have any questions, or like additional information, feel free to contact our customer service call center at 701.298.1550.

If you are traveling within the U.S., please read the Ways to Avoid Issues With Your Bell State Bank & Trust ATM/Debit Card article.

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