Originally Posted by NightFox
I don't think this is the case - it's not as if Europe adopted credit cards using Chip and PIN from the off; up until a few years ago we used the same magnetic strip/signature combination on our cards just like you do in the U.S. So, in fact, with a population of more than double that of the U.S. (though credit/debit card usage may be more directly comparable) I would imagine the transition to the Chip & PIN system was probably no less of a challenge for Europe than it would be for the U.S, indeed the number of different countries involved could have added to the difficulties.
Chip-PIN only give the illusion of security. In reality, chip-PIN was broken back in the mid-80's, when it was first deployed in payphone cards (EU having a problem with vandalism, coin phones are all but almost extinct. And besides, communication prices typically varies according to the time of the day so makes more sense to bill per unit than for a fixed price). The engineer who found the vulnerability was imprisoned for publishing it.
Only low-end fraudsters can be defeated with chip-PIN cards, and most fraud still happen by installing trapped payment terminals at willing retailers' stores, or by snatching a pic of both sides of credit cards. Even the chip can't do anything against that.
But relax, even EU retailers can take magstripe + signature from Americans who don't have a chip. I am not sure what happens when you want to pay with a chip-PIN in a non-chip-PIN enabled retailer. Properly configured terminals will ask for magstripe I guess.
I still come accross customers who just replaced their chipless cards with a chipped one. AFAIK deployment was not really sped up here in Canada, and I guess is still limited by how fast retailers upgrade their payment terminals. As some of them must pay a large premium to upgrade, they don't have any incentive to accept chipped cards.