Canadian credit cards may sometimes be rejected in US (con't)

Canada has had chip technology with PINS for years now. 

Asaf Salem, customer advocacy centre coordinator for the Bank of Montreal, said he is aware of a number of Canadians having their cards rejected in the US when the cards are otherwise quite valid.

“It’s really due to the new conversion issue,” he said.

“We saw the same issues come up when Canada started converting…it’s like they’re working out their own little bugs because it’s very new for them and maybe they don’t know everything that’s going to go on.” 

A customer might go to pay at a restaurant or at a merchant’s cash and the card will not be accepted.

It has nothing to do with Canadian chip cards being incompatible with US ones.

Salem said the problem is that “something is wrong with the PIN pad at the merchant’s terminal.”

In that case the merchant should call the authorization centre to get approval for the transaction.

The waiter or sales clerk might not always be instructed about how to do this, especially with the rollout of new technology, and not realize that the problem isn’t with the card but with the terminal, Salem sad.

“Cashiers maybe are not informed about how to do that,” he said.

“The numbers are usually in back of their terminals to connect them to their own authorization centre.”

Credit card companies like Mastercard can tell exactly what the problem is.

Even if the transaction has not been completed they can tell that there was an attempt to use the card based on the card’s unique client code.

If this happens when you’re paying at the cash, Salem gives some advice.

“I would highly recommend in these instances only you don’t want to create a lineup behind you while you’re kind of talking it through.

“Maybe just step back, call Mastercard, we’re open 24/7,” Salem said.

The customer can call Mastercard (the number is on the back of the card) to have the problem resolved.

“An agent over the phone will immediate see the reason why the transaction may have not been approved,” he said.

Mastercard Canada spokeswoman Laurent Mostowyk said that otherwise Canadian cards are being fully accepted in the US.

“Transactions across the board are being accepted without issue,” she said.

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