Translating ATMs

Old May 13th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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Translating ATMs

We are planning a trip to Paris in June, and I have been gathering lots of valuable information from this site. It looks like the best way to handle the foreign currency is to use credit cards and get cash from ATMs. I plan to follow that advice, but I have one question. Since I dont' speak French, will I be able to follow the prompts on the ATMs? Is there an option for English? Thanks for the help!
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:27 PM
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Yes - just like in the US ATMs in areas that have tourists generally have several language options. My local ATM has 6 choices - assuming (i think) Mandarin.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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Yes. Even if they don't give you an English-language option, which most of them do these days, they are pretty idiot-proof.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:34 PM
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NO no no... please don't use a "credit card" to get cash!

That counts as a *cash withdrawl* and is one of THE most expensive ways to get money. You want a normal debit card like you'd use in an ATM at home.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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Oh, I thought you meant "use credit cards" and "get cash from ATM machines" as two separate things. If you DID mean use a credit card at ATM machines, NO NO NO!
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:51 PM
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Oops, sorry maybe I'm the one who misread the sentence. I can see now how it could have been meant either way, StCirq.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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Yes, I did mean use my debit card in the ATMs and credit cards for other purchases. Thanks for the info.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 07:51 PM
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There is almost always an english selection. My issue is with the physical buttons that are in french. I say always hit the green one.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:01 PM
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bookmarking
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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Although I speak no languages (well, maybe a little English) I've never had any problems using ATMs in Europe. Sometimes I don't even hit the English button as it's just like at home. You enter your pin, validate (always seems to be a green button), enter the amount, and poof -- there's your money.
The only thing that's different. At home I have to enter 300.00 if I want 300 dollars. In the euro ones, do that and it will tell you you're over your limit as it reads as 30000 euro. There is no decimal and no extra zeros.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 11:47 PM
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Do not worry. Using a bank "ATM" is very easy. We have done it twice (300 euros each time) in our first 14 days in Paris with no uncertainties as to how to proceed.

By the way, from looking at our credit card account on line, I see we had 26 credit card transactions in that time--use of the card was unsuccessful only at two cafes where monsieur/madame insisted the card would not swipe properly and at one new restaurant where we were told upon entering that the VISA arrangement had not yet been made.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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We obtained a pin number for our credit card so that we could make cash withdrawals 'just in case'. Well, just in case happened; for some reason our ATM card did not work and we had to use the credit card to get cash. Just took out as much as we could so as to make as few withdrawals as possible.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Ronda, Using a credit card to get cash is not about the transaction fee imposed (although that is there obviously). It's because that money is then targeted from that day forward as a Cash Advance which has even more ridiculous interest rates than using your cc for a purchase.

I understand the need in an emergency, but wanted to make clear the differences.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:51 PM
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Rhonda reminds me of another issue, make sure your PIN is only 4 digits. For some reason any more and your card won't work. Also, let your debit card issuer and credit card issuer (each card may have a different phone number) know when you will be traveling so they don't think the activity is suspicious and deny the transaction.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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I just looked at the back of my debit card, and it says "Plus" and "Star". Do you know if those are accepted at most ATMs in Paris? My credit card has "Cirrus" on the back. Thanks.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:38 PM
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Don't know about Star, but the Plus and Cirrus are common in Paris. You can contact your bank and ask if there are certain Paris banks that are on the neworks, but it really should not be a problem - ATM's are all over the city.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:59 AM
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>For some reason any more and your card won't work.

Thatīs strange, because my 6-digit Swiss PIN and my friendsī 5-digit Italian PIN worked perfectly all over Europe (including France).

The 4 digit PIN seems to be a legend from days long past.
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