When BarclayCard announced several new positive enhancements to their Arrival Plus card last week, I immediately picked up the phone to get a replacement card so I could test out the Chip+PIN technology for my trip to Paris and Cannes. France is notorious for requiring a PIN on many purchases, so having the ability to use a points earning credit card (with no foreign transaction fees) and purchases like train tickets and gas stations is a big advantage.
I had to pay $29.95 to get the card priority shipped, but I figured it would be worth it to be able to try it out and let TPG readers know whether the PIN technology actually works. I got the card the day before I left for my trip and on the way to the airport I activated it by calling the number on the card.
Note: I was not upgraded to World Elite- even though I received the new Chip + PIN Arrival Plus, it was still a World Mastercard. I’ve been told by BarclayCard that upgrades to WorldElite will be happening throughout the year, so I’m hoping I’ll get a new one in the near future. There aren’t that many benefits between World and World Elite Mastercard, but it would be nice to have the best option available. I reached out for more information on the whole process, so stay tuned
The entire process was automated and while on hold for the card to be activated, it gave me the option to set a 4 digit PIN, which I was happy about- I was fearful they’d need to mail a paper pin like many debit cards thus rendering the whole PIN technology useless on my trip.
I was able to select a PIN after entering my CID number and the system stated that it would be eligible for PIN purchases after I did a signature swipe at a establishment like a hotel. Once I arrived into CDG, I went into the Sheraton, which is next to the train station in the airport and connected to the free WiFi and ordered a coffee from the bar. I paid for the coffee using my Arrival Plus and also requested to get SPG points and the bartender brought out a form for me to get points as well- never hurts to ask!
I then went down to the RER train machines and proceeded to buy a 9.75 Euro one-way ticket into Paris.
The machine asked for a PIN and I entered the one I created the night before and it was approved within 30 seconds. Score!
Overall, BarclayCard made the process simple and the PIN worked like a charm. I just hope other issuers get on the bandwagon (ah, hem I’m looking at you Sapphire Preferred!). While you can still use regular credit cards and even EMV Signature cards at a lot of places, having the PIN technology is a definitely plus and is the reason why I’ll be using my Arrival Plus as I traipse around Europe this summer and beyond.
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