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Old 11.08.2008, 11:28
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CS Visa or alternative Chip & Pin?

I have read the Visa Card related posts, but a lot of the advise is a year old or more, are there any new developments?

My Credit Suisse Maestro debit card is more widely accepted (in France) than Amex but no where near as useful as my HSBC Visa (denominated in US$!!).

Considering applying for a CS Visa credit card, but it does not appear to be a chip & pin card, can somebody confirm this? I am looking for a Euro denominated card that will work in the increasing number of automated French petrol stations, Esso, Carrefour etc. The CS Maestro does not!, preferably also one with online access.

Oh and by the way I need to get it without coming to Switzerland!!
I applied for a Travel Cash Card which was issued but I was told I had to collect it from Zurich, do these work in French petrol stations anybody?

Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
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Old 11.08.2008, 11:32
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Re: CS Visa or alternative Chip & Pin?

French automated petrol pumps are often problematic with foreign cards. It's getting better but still you might have problems.

Best option is a French card.
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Old 11.08.2008, 11:42
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Re: CS Visa or alternative Chip & Pin?

I second that. I was once standing in the middle of nowhere in France in an evening when everything was closed and both Master Card and Amex of "Swisscards" did not work at the automated gas pumps. CS uses the same credit card company, so I am sure a CS branded would not work either either...
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Old 11.08.2008, 11:54
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Re: CS Visa or alternative Chip & Pin?

Thanks Treverus,

So you don't think a CS Visa will work either?, this is obviously more complicated than I thought, I assumed the problem was that it is a Maestro card. I have several other Visa cards all of which work without problem, but my salary goes to CS so it would be a lot easier to use one of their cards.

Same goes for a lot of big stores Carrefour for instance will not accept the CS Maestro in store!!
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Old 11.08.2008, 12:02
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Re: CS Visa or alternative Chip & Pin?

My experience with both CS credit cards as well as "Swiss airline" branded ones: Works on the autoroute paypoints, usually work in big hotels and shops. Do not work in small restaurants and gas stations in the country side (with the dial-up type of credit card reader). I have seen signs at German gas stations close to the border saying "Swiss cards do not work with our system, sorry!"

So I do not think it is an issue with CS, a UBS or ZKB card would not work either. Looks like a technical problem to me, maybe we are once again not in some EU database or something similar?

Why not get yourself one of the free ones from the retailers to try out if it works in the places you need it?
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Old 11.08.2008, 15:39
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Re: CS Visa or alternative Chip & Pin?

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My Credit Suisse Maestro debit card is more widely accepted (in France) than Amex but no where near as useful as my HSBC Visa (denominated in US$!!).
I'm pretty sure the key there is the Visa bit. It was certainly Visa (Carte bleue) all the way in France in the 1980s when I was there, and everywhere was geared up for that. Mastercard was pretty useless except in tourist traps. The French cards had a smart chip and pin system (though maybe not the one we know now) as far back as the late 1980s.
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Old 11.08.2008, 15:50
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Re: CS Visa or alternative Chip & Pin?

Well, the point is that the pumps that rejected my cards DID have mastercard and amex stickers on it... so it is not a "general acceptance thing" but really a difficulty with the Swiss card. I had similar problems in Russia... my German card I still have never had the same issue.
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