I successfully used a US credit card without the Chip/Pin in a major hardware chain BUT the fees charged by the credit card company and the exchange rates were truly horrendous - I'll never do it again.A supplementary story I heard was that the chip was the child of a French company, who required a fee of some fraction of a centime for each chip used in a card - which totalled up to quite a lot of mone. The US companies weren't keen on stumping up this fee, so chose not to use the system.
Which, of course, may be a case of not letting the truth get in the way of a good story!
In any case, your info is most helpful.
My solution now is using my French debit card (from Societe Generale) and my Everbank account in the US to fund the SG account - all totally without any fees apart from SG charging €16 for receiving funds.