I love the Barclay Arrival+ card — even though it’s more a cash-back card than a miles/points card, it’s a mainstay in my wallet. On a day-to-day basis, I use it for 1x transactions where I earn about 2.2% back toward travel (2 miles for every dollar spent, plus 10% of those miles back when I redeem for a travel award). The card recently underwent a cosmetic makeover, the most glaring difference being the chip that advertises Chip-and-Pin transactions.
Coupled with no foreign transaction fees, this seems like a great card to have abroad! There have been several instances where I need to make a purchase in Europe from an unattended kiosk, like to buy a train ticket. However, my Chip-and-Signature cards wouldn’t work, and I would have to find a way to come up with cash or find a ticket agent.
I got the card in the mail and went online to my Barclay account to set the PIN. To do so, click Account Settings, then scroll down to “Manage your PIN.” I’ve put in some screenshots below.
However, after I set my PIN, I noticed this message:
IMPORTANT: When you travel abroad, please note that you must sign for your first transaction at a location with a cashier or attendant. After you first transaction has gone through, your pin will be activated and you’ll be able to use card at unattended terminals where a PIN is required.
So be aware that you won’t be able to use a PIN right out the gate – you’ll first have to do a signature transaction with a teller present. I don’t have an international trip for a while, so does anyone have experience with this?
One caveat is that it says, “when you travel abroad …. you must sign for your first transaction.” I’m not sure if that means “make a foreign transaction” or “make a chip-and-signature transaction” (or both). What if I go to a U.S. retailer that takes chip-and-signature cards and make a transaction there? Will it activate my PIN for when I land in Europe and need a train ticket from a kiosk?
I don’t often look for chip-and-signature machines at kiosks, but just today, I came across two retailers in my area who have just that! I was able to use the chip part of my Barclays card at both Walmart and Whole Foods (I might be the only person who was at both those stores today).
I’m going to experiment to see if these transactions (which I signed for) activated my PIN. However, it might be a while until I’m able to use it at an unattended kiosk, since I won’t be in Europe for about a month. If anyone else wants to try this activation technique and is traveling abroad soon, please comment below!