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Avoiding credit card problems overseas

Monday - 6/20/2011, 5:03am  ET

AP: 2faca653-c050-497a-8665-79a48d69fabf
Many places in Europe, South America and Asia have moved away from the credit cards Americans are use to using. (AP)

WASHINGTON - Don't count on your credit card on that big summer trip abroad.

While many travelers avoid carrying large amounts of cash for safety reasons, they should be careful about relying solely on their credit cards overseas.

Many places in Europe, South America and Asia have moved away from the credit cards Americans are used to -- switching from magnetic strips to special chips and pin numbers. That means if you leave the U.S., you need to be prepared.

It hasn't changed in the U.S. Because of the coast to banks and merchants, but The New York Timesreports that two-thirds of the cashier terminals worldwide are using the the new technology.

Options include getting a special pre-paid card for the trip from a company such as Travelex, having some cash for the places you need to use an automated machine, and as the Times reports, politely asking cashiers to try a normal swipe of all the credit cards you have with you. The card reader may be able to recognize one of them.

WTOP's Max Smith contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)