Barclays Europe

Using the Chip and Pin Barclays Arrival+ in Europe

Ordering from the automated kiosk is possible with chip and pin cards!
Ordering from the automated kiosk is possible with chip and pin cards!

It’s too bad that Barclays deemed the Saverocity family not deserving of having affiliate links anymore, because I have a post that would have been perfect for pushing their card! But even without an affiliate link, I wanted to share some of my experience using the Barclays Arrival+ card on our recent trip to Europe.

I was excited when Barclays announced that they would be adding chip and pin functionality to the card. I’m sure many of you know what that is, but just to recap – in many places outside of the US instead of using the magnetic strip, credit card readers often read a chip that’s embedded in the front of the card.

There are a lot of US issued cards with chips – the Chase Sapphire Preferred, AMEX Platinum, or the Citi AA cards (man if I had affiliate links this article would be a goldmine!). Most of these are chip and sign cards, which means you stick their chips into the machine but then a slip gets spit out that you have to sign. While a minor convenience, these cards don’t make a major difference in Europe.

The Barclays Arrival+ card, in contrast, offers chip and pin functionality – which is equivalent to the functionality of almost all European credit cards. Most automated machines in Europe will ONLY work with chip and pin cards. In the past, I’ve found myself waiting in long lines to buy train tickets and the like due to my lack of a chip and pin card, so I was excited to try it out.

Most US credit cards, even ones with chips, won't work with this kind of payment system
Most US credit cards, even ones with chips, won’t work with this kind of payment system

Despite reading some reports that the card didn’t work in some machines – I had a pretty sweet 100% success rate! The first place I tried the card out was at McDonalds. We had skipped lunch but realized we needed some kind of snack and the good ol’ golden arches were most convenient. There were a bunch of automated kiosks which I haven’t been able to use in the past, but this time we were able to order and use the Arrival+ chip and pin card with no problem! This made life convenient since I didn’t need to deal with lines or the pressure of ordering at the counter – the menu was in English on the kiosk.

In a less silly and more important way, the chip and pin card made life a lot more convenient when buying train tickets. We had to buy tickets to ride the funicular in Lyon and also to ride the London Underground. In the past, especially in London, I’ve had to wait in lines to get my tickets which I really find inconvenient. So it’s really nice to have a credit card to use on the machines. Traveling can be stressful at times so having a card that makes things a little more convenient is a big plus.

Anyway, setting the pin on the card is really straightforward if you haven’t done it yet. Either call the number on the back of the card or just click the convenient link in your online account. Necessary? Absolutely not. Convenient? You bet. Never avoid a McDonalds kiosk in Europe again!

Our trip into London to see the poppies was way easier thanks to our chip and pin card
Our trip into London to see the poppies was way easier thanks to our chip and pin card


Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

7 thoughts on “Using the Chip and Pin Barclays Arrival+ in Europe

  1. I called Barclays before a trip to Chile earlier this year. They said the card should first be used somewhere other than a ticketing kiosk (i.e. use it first at an in-person transaction) and only then would it be assured of working at an automated kiosk. Not sure why this “seasoning” is sometimes needed (for all I know the rep was misinformed or full of it or both) but in any case that is what I did and later in the trip the card worked just fine in the train station.

  2. Some have reported that you need to use the Barclay’s Arrival+ card at least once in Europe as a “signature” before the “PIN” part becomes active. Maybe that explains the different outcomes that some have reported.

  3. Very timely post. I am in Europe now and have the Arrival but had forgotten that it was a genuine chip and pin card, and that I had set the pin for it a while back. I had been using this and a couple of other chip and signature cards and had been asking to have them swiped instead of entering a pin. Now I know why when I used the Arrival and told the clerk to swipe it, it wasn’t working 🙂 Now I can’t wait to try it out with my pin!

  4. In my experience, the ultimate test is buying a train ticket in NL from one of the machines.
    Overall worked well for me in IT, CH and DE this week, including several train tickets.

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