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"A" route does not always have real toll takers

"A" route does not always have real toll takers

Old Nov 1, 12, 7:51 am
  #1  
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"A" route does not always have real toll takers

We just returned from the burgundy area of France, flew into Geneve aeroport. We picked up the "A" route near Bellegarde and got off a bit south of Macon. There was not a real person at the booth, our credit card was not accepted and the machine did not like our paper euros. This was a small tollbooth, we pressed the Assistance button and all we could manage was Ne marche pas, we did not understand what was being told us. Luckily a very helpful French couple came by, saw our distress and spent at least 10 minutes with us, speaking with Assistance, trying different euro bills et al. Then the machine still wanted 1 euro 70. We did not have the change nor the small bills. Somehow we rounded up the needed money and the arm lifted. What a way to start our trip.
Then on the return to Geneve aeroport 2 weeks later, we got off A40 at exit 11, Bellegarde, and again there was no person taking tolls. This time we had plenty of bills and coins and luckily no problems.
My advice to new travelers in France: do not assume the "A" route can make you change for the toll. Have plenty of euros on hand. Their machine does not like American credit cards(no microchip maybe?).

Nancy
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Old Nov 1, 12, 6:19 pm
  #2  
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Looking here, you can see that they only accepte "Carte Bleu" (a french card system), Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

It does also say that they accept cash in the following currencies: Suiss Francs, US Dollars and sterling, but I somehow wouldn't trust this if you do not have backup.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 5:17 am
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Have you complained to your bank? Part of the problem seems to be that they don't issue cards with chip which automats cannot accept (not surprising as banks began issuing cards with chips almost 10 years ago in Europe) because of Mastercard&Visa regulation... Retailer cannot change banking regulation but bank can change the way issue their cards after receiving enough complaints... It's not just about the tolls, also many other machines require using cards with chip abroad.

Anyway, having coins is always useful. They are more reliable than bills in almost every country.
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Old Nov 5, 12, 1:47 pm
  #4  
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A number of grocery stores and restaurants said our credit cards were not working. We suggested they try again. After sometimes numerous swipes, the card would be accepted. Only a very few times were we told we needed euros(cash). Most times at the supermarkets the cashier had to call in sometime to help them get the card accepted. Very frustrating. Would have thought the credit card companies in the States would be on the same page as their counterparts in Europe but appears not.
And always remember to notify your credit card company that you will be traveling abroad.
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Old Nov 9, 12, 1:23 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by nanp View Post
A number of grocery stores and restaurants said our credit cards were not working. We suggested they try again. After sometimes numerous swipes, the card would be accepted. Only a very few times were we told we needed euros(cash). Most times at the supermarkets the cashier had to call in sometime to help them get the card accepted. Very frustrating. Would have thought the credit card companies in the States would be on the same page as their counterparts in Europe but appears not.
And always remember to notify your credit card company that you will be traveling abroad.
Merchants taking Mastercharge and Visa in France and the US sign an agreement that they will take *any* legit card, whether chipped or not. All current terminals include a card swipe on the side, for non-chipped cards.

The difference between a chipped and non-chipped card is simple to find- a chipped card will have an exposed contact area that looks like an embedded cellphone sim. Thus it is easy for a merchant to recognize a non-chipped card from the US and swipe it instead of plug it into the front (as you would a chipped card).

So why, in the #1 tourist destination in the world, a place which sometimes feels overrun by US tourists, do they act as if they cannot deal with a non-chipped credit card, something they obviously encounter frequently? My theory is that they're hoping you'll pay cash instead, which can be kept off the books. I can't come up with another scenario to explain it.

Keep in mind I'm making some pretty harsh remarks here about my favorite place to visit in the world. 12 times in the past 10 years I think? Yeah, I'm hooked! Just gets a bit frustrating dealing with the credit card issue.

By the way, you can dramatically reduce your chances of your credit card not being accepted if you ask FIRST before selecting your purchase or eating. "United States bank card OK?" Invariably the answer will be yes. But if the opportunity exists to claim otherwise further along in the transaction, the odds change.
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Old Nov 24, 12, 8:42 pm
  #6  
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Some of the Autoroutes won't take foreign chipped cards
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