Credit card problem

Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:07 AM
  #1  
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Credit card problem

I was in the UK in May and some businesses could not scan my cards with a magnetic strip. I was told the new EU standard is cards with embedded chips and some places no longer have the old scanners. Supermarkets, for example, had no facility to key in the card number directly.
Is this a problem on the continent, i.e. France?
Visa and AMEX told me they have no plans to issue this type of card.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:12 AM
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I had no problem using my credit card at some bigger supermarkets in France last month. Nor any other kind of business where I'd use it -- like stores or restaurants. I don't try to use it for trivial small costs.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:22 AM
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Just about every place in France will still accept cards with a magnetic strip. However, I do know of a few Chinese supermarkets who only accept chip & PIN cards.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:30 AM
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We've had this discussion before here...

Chip and pin cards were mandated by the UK government about a year and a half ago and all merchant were required to get new terminals; however every one of the new terminals continue to have provisions for the use of the third world magnetic strip technology still found on US cards; the problem is the semi literate clerks do not have a clue...what you have to do is insist the card is good and if the semi literate clerk doesn't understand, insist on seeing the manager who will usually be able to demonstrate to the clerk what has to be done.

As noted, chip and pin technology is probably a long way off in the USA as the banks have probably done a study and found their losses due to credit card fraud are far less than the cost to replace all the terminals and all the cards with chip and pin technology.

In addition, the vast vast majority of credit card fraud does not come on retail purchases but rather on internet fraud.

So the simple answer is that if some semi literate clerk tells you your card is not good, insist it is and ask to see the manager.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:36 AM
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I've just got back from the UK. I have a magnetic strip credit card still. I just said it was a swipe card not a pin card and there was never a problem with it. I was given a slip to sign as always. Supermarkets coped just fine.
Next month I get my nice shiny new Chip and Pin card. Everywhere will coninue to accept both types of cards until the magnetic strip is phased out.
Eventually the US will follow - it has been agreed worldwide that the chip and pin card will become the norm. No deadline has been set however.
Do folks with chip and pin cards have problems in the US? I assume not.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:47 AM
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uh uh uh...

Nobody in the US has agreed to go the chip and pin route...as noted while I have no proof of this, US banks have probably decided the cost for new terminals as well as replacing all the cards would be far more than their losses due to fraud...

The eu, from what I understand, is pushing the use of chip and pin and has been working on establishing one standard...up to a point, I don't know if it has been rectified, a UK chip and pin would not work in a French chip and pin terminal.

But it will be along time, if ever, before the US is forced down the chip and pin route (in the same way a generation ago we were told the US would be embracing metric measurement and that hasn't happened and it won't in our lifetimes).
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:57 AM
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In France we encountered several places that were unfamiliar with our American swipe credit cards. In addition, they can not be used in automatic gas pumps and toll booths. We almost had to stay in an underground parking garage in Toulouse like Charlie on the MTA because our cards wouldn't work at the exit machines.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Most toll booths in France read magnetic strip cards, since no PIN is entered to pay a toll. Only the magnetic strip is read, even on French cards!
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:01 AM
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Tres interessant. I thought I had read a post here by someone who tried to use a US credit card at a toll booth and had to back out of the booth, so we didn't even try.

I volunteer to go back again and try it out, as a sacrifice in the name of science.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:07 AM
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I had a number of issues in Europe this summer with my card not scanning. But in nearly every case, a few more tries and it would scan. Sometimes the person would just do it once and then say it wasn't working, so I'd have them do it another time or two. Sure enough, when I got home I was still having issues. Ordered a new card and no problems. Sometimes the problem is simply that your card is getting scratched or slowly demagnetizing! At least that was certainly my problem.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:25 AM
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Some credit cards fail to work at toll booths, even French cards, if the magnetic strip is damaged in any way. This happens all the time to everybody's dismay (particularly the people behind the car with the problems). It has nothing to do with what country the card is from.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:41 AM
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lonewolf - I think they were just not willing to be bothered. Your US-issued credit cards should work throughout the UK. Just because the majority of cards are chip and PIN doesn't mean mag strip cards don't work.

Just how many places would not take your card???
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:46 AM
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We were in Paris and Amsterdam for 2 weeks this summer. The only problem with our Canadian magnetic strip cards was trying to buy a ticket online for the train to Amsterdam.

You make the purchase on the site then need a chip card only to get your ticket from the machine at the station. No problem with purchase at a SNCF office.

Rob
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:46 AM
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No foreign credit cards can be used at automatic petrol pumps as far as I know. I have never been able to use mine at a French pump.
The mail we received from Visa regarding chip and pin stated that it has been agreed it will become the world wide standard. Since Visa is a US company I imagine they will eventually be introducing it in the US. Provided you protect your pin it has to be safer than the swipe cards.
So many people have had their cards skimmed, and very few places actually bother to check the signature. All this fraud costs the CC companies - reason enough for them to change.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:47 AM
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Hi L,

As noted, your US card will work at any staffed facility.

You won't be able to use it to get gas on Sundays at unattended fuel pumps.

Nikki,
I thought one was supposed to pay at the machines near the exit and then insert the validated card at the exit gate, No?

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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Ira, unless I totally misunderstood (quite possible), there was just one set of machines and you were supposed to insert your credit card at the exit. We drove around the garage, found someone in an office and paid there.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Parking garages are extremely variable -- some of them require PIN numbers and others don't. The ones that don't will obviously take magnetic strip cards. There is no way to know upon entering which sort of method is used. One consolation is that parking lot machines are among the rare machines in France that take paper money for payment, if necessary.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 06:08 AM
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Just returned from France and I can tell you that the toll booth will not take take a US card. I forgot and tryed to use my card once and backed everyone up until a lady came out to take my cash and let us thru. Just remember to use the cash lane. The same goes for parking lots, just use cash. The biggest problem with the parking lots is trying to figure out how to use the ticket machine.
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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 09:18 PM
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I can confirm Bob_C's experience. We were in France in March 2007. We were able to use our U.S. credit card at several autoroute toll stations, but just when we thought it was safe we ended up at one near Lyon where it would not work. Due to our inadequate French it was a bit of a production calling on the intercom and trying to get someone to understand that the problem was not a bad card, but the wrong kind of card - all while cars backed up behind us. Eventually someone came out of a booth 3 lanes over and took our cash to pay for the toll, but I REALLY want a chip card for my next trip!

Ernie
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Old Dec 29th, 2007, 12:12 AM
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Cash is not obligatory on the French autoroute because the attendant can take a chipless credit card. But one must choose a lane with an attendant in the booth.
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