In Germany, it's pretty standard for you to have your own chip and this is used for all of your races. If you do more than 2-3 a year it makes a lot of sense to buy it instead of renting it. Most races (even the smaller ones) use the timing chip so it's really good value. I've had mine for 4 years and it's still working and doing great. The best thing for me is not having the additional hassle of trying to get it off at the end of the race and also being able to look up online (very easily) all of the races that i've done with the chip.
I've not been able to use my chip in Belgium/UK/France as they have the ones that you just need to give back at the end and you can't use "your" chip instead of the ones that they give you. It'd make more sense but not too many countries have their own "universal" system.
I'd ask: How many races are you planning to do in Germany/Austria/Switzerland? If it's more than 2-3 a year then buy it - otherwise just rent it.
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