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Declined credit cards

Posted: Fri 12 Jun 2015 14:04
by Wolfpeltz
This is on the rise again. I expected it 15 years ago as cards were not universally accepted across Europe.

Scenario - today my Nationwide card was declined 3 times at Argeles Gifi. I rang the cc company to be told the card would not be declined, and there had been no electronic communication, and hence no log created. I told the cc company that I preferred to use their card in France because it was financially more attractive. They told me to use another card, and they would reimburse any difference, which was an unexpected offer.

I then used my Tesco card, and that was declined twice. Normally, I would tell them to keep the goods and go elsewhere, but I needed them. I paid cash and asked to see the manager. I pointed out the problem, and the fact that the cc company put the blame on their terminal. The manager's attitude that it was not the store's problem wasn't helpful, and they had not offered to either change the terminal pod, or phone for an authorisation, which would be customary in the UK.

Well, gripe over, but being a subscriber to conspiracy theories, are the stores, or French banks making it difficult in some places to use a UK card? The block is happening in France, and not the UK. A second card as backup used to be enough. Apparently not now, and cash rules.

Pity the poor person who has filled up on fuel, or eaten out, relying on a card to pay the bill.

Posted: Fri 12 Jun 2015 14:43
by Ari├Ęgeoise
Same thing has happened to me on occasion using my French card in Spain.

I understand that it's as simple as there not being a network connection at that moment for the terminal to verify a foreign card. If it isn't that, you can put it down to my bad Spanish :wink:

Posted: Fri 12 Jun 2015 14:48
by Wolfpeltz
That does sound logical for a small business/cafe where the phone and data use the same line, but a big store? We have a friend who has a small cafe and he is fed up with the failures, and he knows his line is free.

Posted: Fri 12 Jun 2015 18:42
by Ari├Ęgeoise
Yep, last happened in Decathlon on Lleida ...

Posted: Sat 13 Jun 2015 09:31
by Kate
Not the same thing, but beware if you have been spending quite a lot on your French cc. I have had mine refused several times recently because, although I had the money in the bank, the bank had taken it upon itself to authorise a limit on my expenditure per month, which I wasn't aware of. When I arrived near this (quite small) limit, and tried to pay for something quite expensive, they blocked the transaction and others following it until I got in touch with them. I find it sooooo annoying not to be able to spend my own money as I wish, at the same time as recognising their explanation that it is for my security... but it should surely be up to the customer to choose the limit, not the bank.

Posted: Sun 14 Jun 2015 00:19
by martyn94
Kate wrote:Not the same thing, but beware if you have been spending quite a lot on your French cc. I have had mine refused several times recently because, although I had the money in the bank, the bank had taken it upon itself to authorise a limit on my expenditure per month, which I wasn't aware of. When I arrived near this (quite small) limit, and tried to pay for something quite expensive, they blocked the transaction and others following it until I got in touch with them. I find it sooooo annoying not to be able to spend my own money as I wish, at the same time as recognising their explanation that it is for my security... but it should surely be up to the customer to choose the limit, not the bank.
With very few exceptions, all french cards work this way: your issuer gives limits (daily/weekly/monthly) to the central body (eg Visa, Mastercard), and no check is ever made with your bank when you attempt a transaction to see whether you could afford more or less. Some banks offer the possibility of a temporay hike in your limits - if you get their permission first. But there is no permanent way round it; the only expedient is to find a provider who gives relatively generous (and transparent) limits, given your financial circs. My researches suggest that the online-only banks (eg Fortuneo, Boursorama, or in my case ING) are streets ahead (as well as giving you the card for free).

Of course, being France, it can work two ways. My sister banks with the "house" bank of the distinguished international organisation she is now retired from. Her limits remain very generous, to the extent that she has bought, eg, airline tickets for me that my own limits don't come near, despite our very comparable incomes.

Posted: Sun 14 Jun 2015 00:45
by martyn94
Kate wrote:Not the same thing, but beware if you have been spending quite a lot on your French cc. I have had mine refused several times recently because, although I had the money in the bank, the bank had taken it upon itself to authorise a limit on my expenditure per month, which I wasn't aware of. When I arrived near this (quite small) limit, and tried to pay for something quite expensive, they blocked the transaction and others following it until I got in touch with them. I find it sooooo annoying not to be able to spend my own money as I wish, at the same time as recognising their explanation that it is for my security... but it should surely be up to the customer to choose the limit, not the bank.
By way of afterthought, the idea that this is all for your security is utter cobblers. It is perfectly possible to check your capacity to pay transaction by transaction, as in the UK, and that is obviouly the more secure approach for all concerned. And in a few cases this is done here ("autorisation systematique"). But mostly in the case of "prepaid" cards, where it is obviously necessary to check the remaining balance. Otherwise it is a lot cheaper and easier not to bother, if the punters will accept a secondrate service, as modest punters like me are obliged to do.

Posted: Sun 14 Jun 2015 10:28
by Sue
Pay by cheque, no limit! Also no charge.

Posted: Sun 14 Jun 2015 15:59
by Gus Morris
Are we talking here about credit cards, debit cards or both? Also domestic or non-domestic?

Gus

Posted: Sun 14 Jun 2015 18:54
by Kate
Mine is carte bleue so debit

Posted: Sun 14 Jun 2015 22:59
by martyn94
Sue wrote:Pay by cheque, no limit! Also no charge.
So it's you who's in front of me in the queue at the checkout?

I play a little game with myself while waiting to check out: predicting who is going to pay by cheque (in order to pick a different queue, if there's a choice).. The likelihood is strongly correlated, positively, with age, and negatively with the size of the bill, their ability to find their chequebook, and their ability to fill out the stub and sign their name without faffing about. But you are evidently the exception.

Posted: Mon 15 Jun 2015 08:26
by Sue
Very rarely use my cheque book Martyn and never in a supermarket. It is handy though when you are purchasing an expensive item or know you are close to your month's limit. After suffering the embarrassment of having our card refused in Leroy Merlin when renovating our property and buying loads of materials from all over, never again!