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Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

Knoxville, TN
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for Interlaken
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Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

I'm not asking a question - just sharing info. I also don't mean to re-hash the same info, but... Am currently in Paris. It was exactly 1 year ago I was in Paris with my trusty Capital One card but was unable to purchase metro tix with it (It's not chip & pin). Before this trip I obtained the Andrews Federal Credit Union Chip & Pin Visa (with a chip and a real PIN). Just to test the self service metro ticket machines I tried my cap1 card and of course it was rejected just like last year. Then I tried my AFCU Card, slid the card into the reader and waited expecting to type my PIN on the keypad. But no PIN was asked for...it just accepted the charge and my AFCU worked just fine. That's good - at least I got tickets. I bought several carnets for 2 days in a row with no problem. Today I go to buy 1 carnet and now the machine would not accept my AFCU card. I tried at the window with the attendant sitting there and it was rejected. Luckily I just needed 1 carnet and had cash so I used the machine and just put the cash in. Yes, all of my Card issuers have been notified of foreign usage.

All this to say - if you don't have a chip & pin and you don't have cash - forget about buying a metro ticket. If you do have a chip & pin you'll "probably" be ok - but don't count on it 100%. It just seems that the Paris Metro machines are unpredictable even if you DO have the correct cards.

Lastly we've encountered a number of annoying metro problems with metro cards breaking down, RER trains breaking down, etc. I just seems like an abnormal amount of problems. Sometimes the attendants are "kind of" helpful and other times treat you like you're a pain in the **s.

Buyer beware ;-)

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Paris, France
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17,416 posts
21 reviews
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1. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

That's why I like using a Navigo Decouverte. One re-charge and I'm good all week.

Have you tried the busses instead of Metro/RER? Is it possible that you ran into disruptions due to all of the dignitary visits this week? Then again - it's Paris and these things happen.

San Diego
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2. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

tmynatt, thank you for your post! This is good information for travelers, as I see so many threads where people are very concerned about exactly what institution to get a credit card from and whether it will work in the machines, etc in France.

As your post points out, the best bet is to have several different cards AND some cash because what works one time, may not work the next.

On our last trip, we brought out CapOne (magnetic strip), brand-new British Airways Chase (chip & signature) and euros. Sometimes one worked, sometimes the other, even at unmanned places. It was always a guess.

Edited: 09 June 2014, 17:03
Pittsburgh...
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3. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

After reading your post I called Capital One to ask about this. As you stated the cards don't have the chip and pin technology, but the operator said that if I planned to use it at a place that required chip and pin that I should ask the owner/operator/attendant to manually enter the card number and expiration dates to complete the purchase. I don't think this would work for purchase at the metro though would it? By the way, do you happen to know if the RER stations use the chip and pin? I'm heading to Paris later in the week and will have to reorganize my finances if I'm going to need more actual cash than I thought I would need.

Arlington, MA
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4. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

Do you need the chip and pin type card for the ATMs too? Restaurants?

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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5. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

Chip and PIN is needed only at some vending machines. Other cards are fine at ATMs and where the sale is handled by a person.

Arlington, MA
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6. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

Thanks Sydney!

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

if the metro has a vending window they will take a magnetic credit card; the problem is that almost no metro stations have manned vending windows.

The ND is particularly useful because it is stable. I end up with demagnetized ordinary metro tickets all the time including pricey tickets for out of town sites. Yes they can be replaced, but the last time this happened to me the RER gate for tickets was blocks from any attendant who could do anything about it. The ND doesn't appear to demagnetize.

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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8. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

Every métro station has an Information window and the agent has a magnetic strip credit card reader. You must ask, explaining that you only have a magnetic strip card but these people can sell you tickets. They will not sell you anything if you have cash or a chipped credit card.

In reference to using a foreign pin and chip card at the kiosks: apparently the RATP has established a restriction on the euro amount of transactions it will allow a card holder and on the frequency of transaction requests. Usually my monthly Navigo fare purchases go smoothly but occasionally, if I attempt to purchase a complément de parcours fare within a few days of purchasing several monthly fares, I will not be able to purchase more the one complément de parcours of the three I need. My card is rejected. I have checked with PenFed about the rejected charges and I have talked with Visa about the rejected charges and they tell me that they have not rejected any of my purchase attempts. The rejections are with the RATP and/or its batch processor.

When this happens, there is nothing you can do really but wait or pay in cash.

9. Re: Metro Tickets / Chip & Pin Cards for Metro

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