Using debit card in France

Oct 19th, 2007, 04:12 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,675
>>French commission for bank cards is reputedly the lowest in the world and was brought about by the rapid generalization of the chip & pin cards in France 15 years ago, which greatly reduced fraud.<<

My wife works for Visa. She says that in some countries and perhaps in the US, the merchants are charged a higher rate if they have to manually enter a credit card number - vs. using the magnetic stripe or the Chip. Manually entered numbers have a higher fraud rate. Sometimes when merchants have had trouble processing my credit/debit card, they asked me if I could offer another card instead of them manually entering my CC number.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Oct 19th, 2007, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I was working with my debit cards yesterday, getting an increase in our daily withdrawal limit since the euro is now worth much more dollars.

I had forgotten, but my bank had also issued a debit card associated with my savings account. I think the general rule is Europe remains that a card will be accepted only if associated with a checking account, but not a savings account.

I hadn't tried to negotiate a lower cash price in France, but I know it can be done in some countries. I think I have read that the merchant fee can be as high as 8%, although I think that varies with the country, and with the individual merchants.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Roussillon: "Everything is set up in France for entering only four digits (****) and if you PIN is longer, you are not going to be able to get money from an ATM."

That used to be the case (in most of Europe as well). But for quite some time now longer PINs have worked. It is just a guess - but I think it has been about 4 or 5 years since PINs were limited to 4 digits. PINsdo still need to be numeric-only since most key pads don't have letters.
janisj is online now  
Oct 19th, 2007, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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clevelandbrown, it's not that they don't accept them if they are only attached to a savings account; I have a couple of those and they usually work. The issue is that if you have a card that's attached to both a checking account and a savings account, you can't access the savings account because it's considered the secondary account and the machines only access the primary account.
JP is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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when our US cards add the extra chip like they do in Europe, then we can use the cards at gas stations - a pain now to find an attended station at times.

also watch your Debit card limit on the amount of allowed withdrawals - I raised mine way high to get plenty of cash to save the transaction fees - small but everything helps with the dollar in the toilet
dsevig is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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we had trouble using our credit cards at some smaller tabacs and small stores because our cards did not have a chip - the proprietor told me when I asked why the card was accepted in some places and not others that it depended on the network the store uses (?). Also, don't forget to tell your bank that you will be traveling, one of us forgot and the card was frozen for a while. Good to see that someone is paying attention to protect us, but it was a pain.
Momliz is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
As a Canadian, a debit card to me means usiing it to pay for purchases at the point of slae form either my chekcing or savings account. I have heard some people say they have their card to pay for groceries, but I have never been offered this option, noe seen any (obvious) torusit do so.

If you mean a card used to access cash from my accounts back home, yes, this is available all over Europe and is the preferred way to access cash for your time there. I have a 4-digit pin #, and the funds come from the checking side of my accounts. This topic has been discussed in a War and Peace length here, so you can search...but essentially it seems there are no fee cards, BUT..since banks can tweak the interest rate, no ulisted fee may not mean no charge.

Credit cards..I've used VISA and Amex (less common) NEVER have I used it for cash...why should I, I have my money sitting in bank at home. I have found that in general machines over there will not accept my card (e.g. SCNF rail tickets, Roissybus tickets at CDG,etc) since I do not have the chip technology. When that happens, I hope the machine will take cash, or I go to a manned booth.

My currency rule is...there are two ways I can get charged, a fee and the currency exchange rate. So, for example, when I see currency exchange bureaus say "NO FEES" I KNOW, for use, they are making it up in the currency rate they choose. A hotel may be glad to exchange currency for me...they are not a charity, they are making money.

Michel_Paris is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 10:28 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 108
Hi ImGrammy, we used our debit card when in Paris this past July to withdraw cash...We didn't even think to try using our debit card in a store etc.Maybe because my french was not good, therefore I found it easier to deal with cash. Make sure you have a 4 digit password not 6- they don't accept 6 digits. Also, their bank machines are numbers only, not letters. I had to do some quick thinking because my password is a word not numbers. My husband used his credit card at restaurants and a few shops. I don't think debit cards are as widely used in stores as in North America. Good luck Ptm
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