How Does a Traveler Use an International Prepaid Visa Card?


Quick Answer

A traveler uses an international prepaid Visa by entering the personal identification number when prompted. These cards have EMV chips that international locations require, according to Altra Federal Credit Union. Most international vendors no longer use the magnetic stripes common on United States credit cards as of July 2015.

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Full Answer

Because the card is a prepaid Visa, a user must load funds on the card before use and cannot spend more than the account balance without using another source of funds, warns Altra Federal Credit Union. The card issuer sometimes includes a minimal load amount and a maximum load amount and limits the number of reloads in a specific time. Some issuers allow the cardholder to deposit his paycheck directly to the card balance. Each purchase requires scanning the code and entering the PIN. If a user enters the wrong PIN three times, the EMV chip locks and the user must contact his financial institution for a new card and PIN to use it in chip and PIN locations, although it continues to work in magnetic stripe machines.

EMV codes provide greater security than magnetic stripes, according to PayPal. The information on the stripe is static and does not change, but the chip generates dynamic data that changes with each purchase. By October 2015, most card issuers plan to add chips to new cards given to U.S. customers.

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