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Money Matters in France - ATM, credit cards, etc.

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Just returned from a 2-week trip in France and thought I share a few obeservations regarding using cash and credit cards -

Credit Cards -

Contrary to popular belief, US issued non-chipped credit cards are widely accepted in most places including ticket vending at the Metro stations. The trick when paying for train tickets on the ticket machine is to be patient. Sometimes I had to try a few times sliding the card through to get it read but was able to use it every time. The word to look for after sliding your card through is "Patientez", i.e. WAIT. I've learned to know to be "patient" and "wait" while that word appears. It usually means the machine is reading the card.

However, getting gas with non-chipped credit card is unforunately a no-go. I had to resort to pumping first and pay at the booth with a credit card or cash. The key is to avoid gas stations that are self-service/credit card only. I wasn't able to return my rental car with full tank because most gas stations that remained open past 9pm were self-service only.


ATMs are plentiful in Paris as well as small villages. However, I had a negative experience this time with one ATM at Credit Nord. The ATM accepted the card and took it before completing a transaction. Fortunately, this happened during business hours and the bank teller was able to retrieve the card for me. I hope this was an isolated incident. The lesson for me is to carry multiple debit cards or credit cards set up with PIN for cash advance.. just as a backup.

Anyone with other comments to add? Hope this helps my fellow travelers!

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