Using a US Credit Card in France

May 5th, 2012, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271

Oh BTW, what I meant to tell you before I went off on my tantrum about writing see id, the PIN arrived in a separate mailing the next day......
xyz123 is offline  
May 5th, 2012, 11:26 AM
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Yes, I realize the PIN will arrive separately. With all the communications going back and forth I couldn't remember if the PIN was something I had pre-assigned.

Stores that have a minimum purchase to sign. I hate that. I would like to have to sign always. Long live chip & PIN.

Ask for ID on the back instead of actual signature. Yes, the biggest pain with getting a new number is finding and informing those who charge directly although I try to keep those to a minimum.

Amused. I'm amused by store clerks who turn over the card (my card instructs to ask for Id) and hand it back to me without asking for Id. I think as part of their training they're told to turn over the card and give it back.

= = = =
Two years ago in Tuscany my credit card suddenly wouldn't go thru in a restaurant and right after in a train station. We travel with 3 different cards so we used a backup card. The next day I called the credit card company. I don't remember her exact wording. Either "the card works" or "the card works now". I had no problems the rest of the trip. And I called the credit card company before the trip informing them where I was going and for which dates.

However, I know that when I mess up it costs me. So why not them. I negotiated a credit on my credit card account and 10,000 air miles.

On another trip many years ago we were in California. Six months later I had two charges of $499. on my card. The credit card company told me it's common that people working in car rentals (why them?) copy numbers and sell them for future use.

It sometimes bothers me to give my card at a restaurant but I get over it. I figure that most people are honest and there's as much chance of this happening as anything else.

For some reason (maybe for that) I take a quick look at my credit card account every week or two and don't wait for the invoice to arrive. Once I noticed an issue.

We went out to a restaurant and the credit card charge had $100 added to the front of the charge. Before calling the credit card company I called the restaurant and spoke with the manager.

He told me the server was no longer with the restaurant. He credited our credit card $100 and sent us a $25. gift card.

About 15 years ago we did notice something strange happen. Whenever our credit card bill was very high (charge part of the cost of a car, hurricane shutters (we live in south Florida) and many expenses after a move) we noticed that the invoice wouldn't arrive and then come a month late with interest charges. We always called and had them reversed.

After a particularly large purchase my wife mentioned it to me and sure enough the invoice didn't arrive. I can't believe they have something in their program to cause an invoice not to print the first month when the balance is high. Conspiracy?

= = = =
And on a totally different topic. During the Atlanta olympics my daughter drove there with a friend. She walked into a mall and made a collect call (pre-cell) to us. I don't remember the exact charge but it was outragious.

I called the obscure telephone company and told them if they didn't do something I would file a complaint with the Public Service Commission. The person told me that she "was only authorized to credit up to 90% of a charge". I almosy choked. I guess they make their money on people who don't complain.

About the same time I read an article in the newspaper. Some companies were set up in Texas (again, why Texas?) called "It Doesn't Matter", "I don't Care", etc. Then when you get a new telephone line and the sales clerk asks who will handle your long distance and you reply oh, "It doesn't matter" guess who gets your business at their rates?
Myer is offline  
May 5th, 2012, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Myer, my pin ID came after they called me and asked a few questions to make sure I was on the up and up. The questions were of public knowledge and credit report things so nothing invasive but I thought it was reassuring that they were putting effort into protecting my account. Patience, patience, patience, thats what my grandma used to tell me.
ziggypop is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 06:29 AM
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To continue the saga.

We were in Montreal last week for my wife's high school reunion.

I took my Andrews Chip & Pin card with for a test run prior to our trip to Provence & Paris.

Just about every store has the new card readers that permit the cardholder to slide the card in and then proceed (I'm using that word carefully).

I used the card 3 or 4 times.

Each time I used the card a slip was printed out that required signing. Once I was with a friend and his card requested a PIN where mine printed a signing slip.

What I forgot to do was use the Andrews card in a parking meter. I just thought of that and I wish I had tried it.

I called customer service and they told me that if the vendor has their reader set up for PIN only it would have requested my PIN. She also told me that their cards are set to default to "signature" when the the vendor's reader accepts both PIN or signature.

She said in Europe the card would work properly that if I used it in an unmanned machine it will request a PIN.

I did not come home with the greatest amount of confidence. Hopefully what she said is correct and the card will work as Chip & PIN.

We'll see in a couple of weeks.

I will report back.
Myer is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Why would you want to use the Andrews card outside the USA unless you absolutely had to? After all, they impose the visa/mc 1% foreign transaction (or is it currency) fee passed along by visa/mc. It is my intent to only use the card in those cases where a merchant refuses to take my magnetic strip card with no foreign transaction fee and a 1% reward to boot.
xyz123 is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 07:47 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 38
Just some thoughts to consider...we are photographers and travel every year to France....never had a problem with any cards etc. however, we always carry a ziplock bag of euro coins in the car. This past fall 2011, we ran into many unmanned toll booths.We do not yet have a chipped card, unfortunately and many of the ones from the US do not work. Just for information.. It is very easy to use the unmanned toll booths with coins and you can get a receipt called recu in French.Also in the countryside we always had cash and filled up early so we did not run out of gas.We even stopped in a very very rural gas station that came with a nice bar and since I am taking French lesson I went in and asked in French could we fill up and pay cash and could I uSe the toilettes... All the people at the tinny bar clapped for my French and bought me a glass of wine...Do think about carrying some euros in case the cards do mot work. I have never had a problem with our credit cards at hotels nor have we had any ATM problems...hope that will not become a problem. the one good thing about renting or leasing a newer car in France is that we got magnificent mileage...did not have to fill up very often and we were driving for 6 weeks.
KathrynJane is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Myer, DebitNM and all,

Looking forward to your continued adventures with credit cards. I'm getting ready for my next trip and things have changed at lot since 2005!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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Why would I want to use the card outside the USA? The question really is, "Why would I want to use the card inside the USA?"

The whole idea is to have a Chip & PIN card in Europe so that I can use unmanned vending machines and not either wait in line or not get service at all.

For instance, in a train station you have the choice of using a Chip & PIN card at a ticket vending machine or get into a line.

I have Euros but the intention is to have a card that works and not pay for everything with cash (Euros). I don't want to go backwards on this.

I know that manned vendors have to accept your signature card as per their contract. However, we will be making a fair number of train trips and I don't want to spend all day in line.

We were in Tuscany two years ago and it was very convenient just walking up to a vending machine and buy train tickets. However, they have since switched over. I often wonder what happens when someoone finds a card and walks into a train station and buys tickets. Chip & PIN protects against this.
Myer is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 10:08 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Myer: I am totally in agreement with your viewpoint.

I'm nearing the end of the excrutiatainly long application process for the Andrews. My husband keeps saying, "Why are we doing this?"

Indeed, why have I bothered?

AFter all, I do have two credit cards that do not charge a foreign transaction fee that work beautifully for most hotel and restaurant purchases, and I have two ATM cards that will refund me any ATM fees.

Flashback: Waiting in line for ONE HOUR mid afternoon to buy train tickets at a window in Paris that I could have bought with a Chip and Pin at a kiosk in two minutes.

Flashback: Waiting in line at Amsterdam airport to buy train tickets at a window that I could have bought in one minute at a kiosk.

Flashback: Waiting in line to buy train tickets in Brussels that I could have bought in one minute at a kiosk.

It's fine when there IS an attendent. There are times when there are not. I'm not going to let that possibility happen.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Myer...I was just reminding that Andrews has a 1% foreign transaction (or it might be a foreign currency) fee...I agreed with yuo completely if you read the whole answer...I too want the card just in case. It just wouldn't be my first choice!
xyz123 is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Actually, xyz123, it IS good that you brought up the 1% FT to reiterate why this should not become our "go-to" card.

In addition, the miles/points earned on the no FT card also make my two Visas--CapOne and Chase--more attractive.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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I know what you mean about the application process. Every time I thought I was finnished I got more things to sign.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to look up my transactions online. Haven't figured that out yet.

I guess another call to customer service.

We travel with three credit cards. My wife has one and I have two. At home we both use the same card but when we travel she leaves that one at home.

Two years ago when we were in Tuscany one of my cards suddenly started to be rejected (I had called before the trip to inform them - maybe that was my mistake). My wife took out her card (didn't call before leaving) and paid for the meal and then a train ticket). The next day I called the credit card company and it was unlocked.

On the way back home I started to think. If I screw up I know that somehow it's going to cost me. Conversely, if they screw up shouldn't it cost them. When I got home I called and we negotiated a small settlement.
Myer is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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I opened up online access to the credit card on their web site and it now appears as part of my full view on my brokerage account which lists all the credit cards I have on-line access to.
xyz123 is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 12:09 PM
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I'll take a look in a little while. Thanks.
Myer is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I do have had worries about getting gas at non attendant stations and ticket and toll booths.

I called Wells Fargo and they have not come up with the chip yet.

I also have a BA card at Chase which does not charge the 3% foreign transaction fee. I just called them and they will sent out a new card with all the features of the old card but with a chip which should solve the problems per above. only problem is a pretty high annual fee and BA FF program charges for fuel charges etc so a ticket is far from free. hope to use for AA trips that don;t charge the extra fees.
dsevig is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 01:08 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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I will chime in -

We will use Cap One credit card for all payments on our trip that we can sign for and that are more than 5 euros. Will pay cash for anything less than 5 Euros. {We each have card, 2 different accounts}. As long as we can use this one, it is our go to card.

We will use the Andrews FCU card ONLY when we cannot sign - unmanned kiosks, tolls, gas stations. This is the beauty of a TRUE chip and pin.{1 account, but we each have a card}.

We will get cash from ATM using Cap One debit card that uses our online banking account. We only fund this account for our trips, otherwise, we keep minimal amount in it. {We each have one, different accounts}. Also, my having only travel funds in it, it limits the amount withdrawals, should someone get the card - which I doubt will happen.

And lastly, AMEX for velib rentals and for car rental, since we got the car insurance for the rental with AMEX card.

Wow, that is a lot, isn't it? Will be nice when things are same all around.

dsevig - make sure that BA card is a true chip and pin and not chip and signature. Per the chart, it is not true chip and pin, unless that has changed.
DebitNM is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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As of today, all the chipped cards issued by most US banks are chip and signature...the only two chip and pin cards I know of are from Andrews as we've been discussing and the UNCU open apparently only to employees of the UN.
xyz123 is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I know it is chip and signature - when I questioned the agent she said most Kiosks will not require a signature - any ideas how effective this is?
dsevig is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 02:43 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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From all my research, kiosk for train tickets etc, will not work with chip and signature. Read allessandrzoes' post from earlier today.
DebitNM is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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dsevig--DebitNM is correct.

It's not you. Agents* know squat about this because they are rarely in the position of testing the darn things.

When I use my credit card (non chip or chip/sign)at merchants in France, they actually out of habit ask me to enter a PIN. I shake my head and make a scribble motion, they nod, and then I just sign.

But I can't shake my head and motion scribble at the darn kiosk.

*Credit card agents too frequently are just like all the bank reps who keep insisting that a non-Visa ATM card does not/could not work in foreign ATMS. Does not matter that I have used a non-Visa ATM and will continue to use a non-Visa ATM in every darn ATM machine in Europe. They insist that "they" know.

Sidenote: I looked at what you are taking DebitNM and I'm wondering if you are a member of my immediate family. Looks pretty much like MY wallet.
AlessandraZoe is offline  

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