credit cards and atms in france

Old Apr 24th, 2005, 11:22 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
credit cards and atms in france


Just got back from a weekend in Normandy and had various experiences with credit cards and atms that I thought I'd pass along.

ATM's: I had no problem using a four digit code at any machine. I have a US and a UK bankcards and both worked just fine.

Credit cards: Europe is trying to use "chip and pin" all over. Use of credit cards was mixed. I have a UK mastercard with a pin, but my bank hasn't given me the pin yet (it's on my to do list and been bumped WAY up after this weekend!!) IN one cafe and one store a "chip-less or pin'less card could not be used. I had to pay with cash.
From what I could tell, some stores have credit card machines that will take either old style signature cards or the chip and pin new cards.
I know that many US credit cards can be used with a pin number to take out cash. Perhaps setting a pin number (or finding the bank issued number) is worth it before setting off to Europe!
It's a bit frustrating and from my experience, varies from store to store. I spent close to 100 euros in one store and was able to use a credit card. When I tried to buy a shirt for 19 euros next door, the card was rejected. I showed the receipt from the other store, but there was nothing they could do. Made me wish for the old carbon machines!
highledge is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 11:34 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 666
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<< Europe is trying to use "chip and pin" all over>>

They aren't "trying to; we've had the chip and have been using pin numbers since the mid '80s. BUT, when I use my French card in a Belgian store, I can't use the pin number - I have to sign the slip.
And foreign cards, even with pin numbers, won't work at the self-serve gas pumps either.

Oftentimes you'll find a credit card (most often Amex) "refused" because it costs them too much and they prefer getting their money right away (Visa or Mastercard are the favorites).

Patricia
PBProvence is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 11:52 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>I know that many US credit cards can be used with a pin number to take out cash<<

Why would you use a credit card to get out cash at an ATM and incur the high cash advance fees? Use a debit card instead. Also, try to get one that does not charge the added 2% currency conversion fee - my Morgan Stanley debit MC does not charge this fee.

Quite often, the merchant's bank will charge the merchant a higher fee for manually entered charges/debits vs. ones that are swiped using the magnetic stripe. There are more fraudulent charges with manually entered transactions.

BTW, my wife works for Visa, and Friday their euro/dollar conversion rate which includes the 1% Visa add-on was 1.295 - which was about 1% more favorible than the rate (without the 1%) that the morning business newscaster quoted as that day's rate. If anyone is interested, Visa has this rate posted on their web site.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 12:39 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,873
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Stu - "Why would you use a credit card to get out cash at an ATM and incur the high
cash advance fees?"

I'm pretty sure highledge's point was that people should set up a PIN for their USA credit cards so they can use them as credit cards. Many people I know have no intention of ever using a credit card for cash advances, so they don't bother with a PIN. But before long most transactions will require a PIN.
janis is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 12:51 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>But before long most transactions will require a PIN.<<

My wife thinks Visa is a ways away from that. They want to make the usage of cards as effortless as possible - just like cash. If you heve to enter a PIN number on a Visa card, for example, you might be inclined to pull our your MC or AE instead.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 02:23 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello Stu, I have asked this question before without getting an answer.

My debit card with Morgan Stanley was replaced some months ago. Not because it expired.

The explination was that due to excessive fraud in Italy the Morgan Stanley debit card could be used at ATM's for for acquiring cash but until further notice their debit card could not be used for purchases. Of course they said if there were any questions to call them which I have not done as of this writing.

Did you receive the same notice? Thank you.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 03:45 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>Did you receive the same notice? Thank you.<<<

No - I did not. We have charged things in France as recently as last month, but nothing in Italy. Call customer service & let us know what you find out. I may have my wife do the same, although our card is a MC, which I think is the only card Morgan Stanley issues.

StuDudley is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 06:38 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello Stu, mine is a MC also.

Tomorrow I will call Morgan Stanley and will post here regarding the conversation.

In the meantime here is the informamtion I received.

"Due to the increased occurrence of fraud in certain foreign countries, we are imposing certain restrictions on the use of Morgan Stanley Debit Master Cards for purchases outside the US. Specifically, your Card is currently unavailable for purchases of goods and services in Italy, France and Spain. If you plan to travel to these countries, you should contact us at the number below before your departure date to determine whether the limitation still apply, these restrictions will be lifted as soon as possible. Please be advised that you will continue to have access to the funds in your account - you can still use the Card to obtain cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) around the world, even in those countries where the Card is not avaiable for purchases.



LoveItaly is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 06:57 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello again Stu, you used your Morgan Stanley MC Debit card in France a month ago for purchases, so perhaps this ban has been lifted. Well at least in France.

Again, I will call MS customer service tomorrow to see what they say.

Confusion reigns it appears!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 06:33 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Janis. My point was that visa and MC can be used with a pin and that this pin number could be used for credit card transactions- not for cash!

Chip and pin is new to the UK.
highledge is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 08:16 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,873
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
highledge: That's what I thought I said. That the PIN would be used for credit card transactions. I was agreeing w/ you. Stu Dudley is the one who though you meant to use a credit card to get cash.
janis is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 08:58 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>Stu Dudley is the one who though you meant to use a credit card to get cash.<<

I thought that, because that's what she posted.

"I know that many US credit cards can be used with a pin number to take out cash. "

But you are right - she never said that she actually did this - only that it "can" be done.

We spend two months each year in France & stay in Gites (houses), that are usually off the tourist path. We shop for food in groceries, get watches repaired, buy special phone cards in France Telecom stores, and many other things that are not the usual restaurant/hotel charges. We have never had to enter a pin number on either a debit card transaction or a credit card transaction. When we are in line at a large grocery, we notice that the French have to enter a pin number on a special "secret" key pad. When the clerk tries to process our card the same way - it does not work initially - it has to be processed differently. A few times the clerk had to get some help from someone else to find out how to pocess it correctly. It might even be on a different machine.

I'm guessing here, but I suspect that if they tell you they can't process your card, they really don't want to process it differently and want you to pay cash to make thing easier for them. At the grocery where we shop (probably 50 times or more), they have already "rung up" several dozens items, and perhaps $100 worth of stuff that they will have to re-stock if they can't process our card - so they try real hard to do so.

Like PB said, the chip/pin card is completly different in France. There was a long thread on this earlier this year, and these cards are not issued in the US - only in France.

Therefore, I'm not sure obtaining the PIN number does you any good for US issued cards, except for ATM machines. At these groceries, we tried to enter our PIN when the clerk processed our card the same way as the French cards, but it still did not work because it's not a "chip & PIN" card.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 04:25 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LoveItaly

My wife called Morgan Stanley and they no longer have the "HOLD" on charges in France, Spain, or Italy for their Master Cards. They gave it up a month or two ago.

My wife was surprised when I told her about MC not allowing debit transactions. She works for Visa, but not in the marketing/sales end (she's in the Data Proccessing area). She said that Visa would not likely do this because it tarnishes the "brand" (Visa in this case). Imagine word getting out that you can't use you Visa card in France, Spain, or Italy - remember all the commercials on TV where Visa touts "bring your Visa - because they don't take American Express"?

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 04:39 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Stu, I am so happy to see your post as I just looked at my appointment book and realized I had forgot to call Morgan Stanley today! Tell your wife thank you for me.

That is interesting news, welcome news too as it seems each year one way or another travel gets more complicated.

They (MS/MC) must have had some serious problems. Personally I have never used the debit part for purchases but always consider it as a backup if it is needed.

And yes indeed, I do remember those Visa ads. American Express must have hated them!

Thanks again for your usual good help and advice. It is truly appreciated.
LoveItaly is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Jeff_Australia
Mexico & Central America
5
Jan 13th, 2009 11:44 AM
josep55
Europe
10
Sep 16th, 2006 07:32 AM
bornintheusa
Europe
24
Jan 9th, 2006 07:22 AM
drb
Australia & the Pacific
4
Jul 3rd, 2003 07:50 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:22 AM.