Retailer locations are equipped to take your old U.S. magnetic stripe card and are supposed to take your old magnetic stripe card. Merchants who have converted to the new and more secure EMV chip cards can be liable for fraudulent card transactions that a chip card could have prevented. That's one reason why they may resist taking them. Card payment brand websites encourage you to insist that the cashier take it. However this can be uncomfortable for you. It's also often the case that cashiers are unfamiliar with processing an old magnetic stripe card and don't know how to "swipe", as opposed to "dip" the card into the reader. No matter which point you're trying to convey, it can be a challenge to communicate in a foreign language.
American cardholders have found that their cards won't work at unattended kiosks. For example, the automated ticketing machines at train stations and the Vélib bike rental racks. The reason is the equipment is designed to only work with chip cards and you don't have an option. More often than not, the kiosks won't even take cash because a goal is to eliminate cash and coin management and vandalism. So that can affect metro and train tickets, highway toll booths, gas pumps, parking garages and other places where there are no cashiers.
As more countries around the world move to chip-and-PIN cards, it's inevitable that Americans will encounter more difficulties paying for things abroad