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  #1  
Old 8 Jun 2013
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card not accepted in French petrol pumps

3 weeks ago I travelled through France and my visa cards were not accepted in the French petrol pumps on the peage service stations, how can I get my cards accepted
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Old 8 Jun 2013
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Made me grumpy too--especially on Sunday mornings when no one but me seemed to be interested in buying petrol. I understood the problem to involve incompatible cards--mine are magnetic strip, the French cards use chip and pin.

The solution: wait for someone else to come along and offer them cash. This means carrying cash euros and trying not to be in any sort of hurry, particularly on Sundays.
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Old 8 Jun 2013
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Yes, I got filled up a few times by others then gave them euro's.
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Old 8 Jun 2013
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FYI, I live in France and have always used my Visa card to fill up.
The only place I've found they don't work is in Esso garages
(No idea why only Esso)

Just out of curiosity, It's not a Barclaycard Visa is it?
I found my card didn't always work because of Barclaycard
put a block on it when using it in Europe without notification.
I now only use my Visa debit card

Dog
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  #5  
Old 8 Jun 2013
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had a similar problem at "some" filling stations last year. I found that if my visa debit cards didn't work, often my mastercard credit card worked. ? But it is important to make sure your bank have been notified of your travel plans before you leave. For HSBC you can do this online using internet banking service, but the business banking I found had to be by phone. Other banks I don't know.
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Old 8 Jun 2013
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also be aware

That many petrol pumps "reserve" about £100 off your card limit. this reserve can take up to a week before it is removed. This can quickly deplete the available balance on your account.
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Old 11 Jun 2013
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I've had this as well, only in france, and, rather inconveniently, only in unmanned fuel stations. had to buy fuel off someone else, which, given the problems with counterfeit money, is good of them.
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Old 11 Jun 2013
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I have had the same problem using my (Canadian) credit cards at automated facilities in France, both this year and in past years.

For example, this year, my MasterCard, which has a chip and PIN, did not work at any of the automated tool booths in France - even though it worked fine at attended gas stations in France. But, in past years, it has not worked at unattended gas stations in France. This same card has always worked for me in every other country I have visited, and I have been in over 50 different countries this year.

I think France must have some unique and peculiar system country-wide for processing credit card purchases - or, the monopoly operators of the unattended systems just can't be bothered to go to the trouble of accepting out of country cards.
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Old 12 Jun 2013
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I had this problem last year in France - Esso garages only - as already been noted
I notice that Barclays have now rescinded their stipulation that one has to notify them of which countries you may be visiting, etc. Although I have had my Barclays Visa Debit card rejected by a Bank in Austria yesterday (or was it Italy??) - NatWest Mastercard worked ok though (although nowt in the account!)
Brian
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Old 12 Jun 2013
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In the few times I used my cards at pumps in France, they always worked fine. I did however contact all my bank and credit card companies prior to my trips advising countries to be visited and dates. One time I forgot to contact them and had all sorts of hassle trying to use cards in shops/hotels/fuel stations.

None of my bank or credit cards are issued by Barclays
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Old 12 Jun 2013
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Hi
Same as Chris, had a similar problem in early 2012 especially in Carrefour and Esso stations.
It was
1. Because they pre-authorise - and it can fluff up your balance
2. Not informing the issuing bank of pre-destination, even in Europe can hinder card acceptance and block certain uses.
Good luck!
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Old 13 Jun 2013
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I don't think that the problem of credit cards not being accepted at certain French self-serve gas stations (or unattended toll booths) is in any way related to needing to advise the credit card issuer that you will be travelling out of country, or related to pre-authorization issues.

I have a very good relationship with my credit card issuer, because I use this same credit card to buy aircraft fuel when I deliver aircraft internationally (my day job). I have been in over 50 countries this year, and never had the card 'declined' (i.e. rejected due to location). I also have a ridiculously high credit limit on the card, which is kind of essential because it can cost over $5,000 for one fill-up of the aircraft.

When my card is rejected in France, the machine just spits it right back out after reading it - within a second or two. That is not sufficient time for any communication between the credit card terminal and the card issuer... it suggests to me that the card is being rejected because the first 4 digits of the card number (which identify the card issuer) show that it is an out-of-country card, and for one reason or another, the French gas station or French toll booth operator has elected to not accept out-of-country cards.

Michael
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Old 13 Jun 2013
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This ^^^. I have high-limit cards I use all over the world. At French self-serve petrol stations plus in train station ticket machines scattered around Europe I can't use them. I assumed it was a chip-and-pin issue, but maybe not. In any case, it's not about pre-authorization, anti-theft measures, or credit limits, at least for me.

A relatively minor irritation in the context of a big trip, particularly once prepared for the possibility.

Mark
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Old 13 Jun 2013
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Mark and Michael
I'd bet a pint on it, that it's as described by myself and ChiefFrog. CF, myself and the OP are using British bank cards. Either way, I'm not fussed.

The minor inconvenience for me, prior to a trip, to remember to call my banks and have some of them try to sell me extra random sh!te services while they have a captive audience is outweighed by trouble free currency withdrawals and credit card transactions throughout Europe in mainstream places like France and Germany and the slightly more exotic Maccedonia and Bulgaria.

Chris
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  #15  
Old 13 Jun 2013
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It is common for banks and credit card issuers to block cards whenever they detect movements in certain countries. In Africa this is fairly common but it can be easily solved by calling the bank and advising them that you will be visiting this or that country. The reason for this procedure concerns safety procedures. Most cards have some sort of unauthorised use insurance attached therefore the issuers tend to be very cautious.

On what concerns the pre-autorisation at gas stations which blocks a certain ammount (usually 100 €/£/$) it is also fairly common. The problem is that it blocks that ammount on the spot and then it takes its time to return it to the account. While withdrawals are inmediate, the return of funds to an account by means of a credit or debit card takes several days to complete, reason why only after several days is the money returned to the account or card.
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