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No 3D Secure Card - how else can we buy Austrian Train Tickets from the US?

We are incredibly frustrated as the 3D Secure Credit Cards are not available. Someone suggested phoning the OBB and purchasing over the phone, but that didn't work.
How else can we purchase Austrian Train Tickets? Rail Europe prices are so much higher.
Thanks!

Posted by
4689 posts

As I understand it, you can only buy ÖBB's cheap advance tickets directly from them and not through a third party reseller.

So complain to your card company that they need to bring their security up to date.

Or take one out that is.

Posted by
2722 posts

Call your cc issuer. Most likely they offer it but there's a separate sign up procedure to activate it.

Posted by
2320 posts

I ran into this very same problem when I wanted to buy my ticket from Vienna to Budapest in April--neither my Capital One or Citi cards have the 3D and after lengthy calls with each it was determined they know nothing about it. Very frustrating. I am told American Express has it, not sure if I want to get another card for future use or not.

Since I needed to be on an 8:30 am train I just went to the Hauptbahnhof when I arrived in Vienna and bought my ticket in person, didn't want to be scrambling the morning of departure and it was good to see how long it took to get there on the U and the layout of the station. I was able to get the same Sparschiene price 3 days in advance of travel as I had seen on OEBB's website a month earlier. This may be your best option, and trains rarely sell out.

Where are you traveling from and to?

Posted by
31471 posts

msa,

This issue might actually be fairly easy to resolve. "3D Secure Card" is a secure payments protocol that adds one layer to online "card-not-present" transactions for increased fraud protection. Different card issuers have adopted unique names for their versions of the secure card protocol - Verified by Visa, MasterCard SecureCode, AmEx SafeKey, etc.

If you have online access to your credit card account, you should be able to set-up the secure card feature there. Otherwise call your credit card firm and hope that the person you're talking to has enough knowledge to walk you through the process of setting it up. I've encountered problems a few times when buying tickets on European websites but after setting up the secure feature, the transactions went through straight away.

Even the so-called "Secure Code" is not perfect and there are a few caveats to be aware of - "Analysis of the protocol by academia has shown it to have many security issues that affect the consumer, including greater surface area for phishing and a shift of liability in the case of fraudulent payments." The issue of shift of liability is a bit troubling, but hopefully they will get the bugs worked out of the system.

Good luck!

Posted by
4689 posts

All the USA card providers know all about 3D secure, and that most have made a conscious decision not to roll it out amongst their card base although some may allow it if you can find the suitably clued-up customer-facing member of staff. Wells Fargo was the last to routinely offer it; don't know if they still do.

An increasing number of European-based e-commerce sites won't allow transactions on cards without it. Some allow other methods but not at ÖBB.

Posted by
16860 posts

First try American Express, even 3-D secure has not been working for people have gone through the process. Another is to download the OEBB app, and try buying it with your smart phone. That has worked for some people. Lastly, try calling them and ordering the tickets over the phone.

The issues are coming from the bank they are using in conjunction with recent EU regs regarding limitation of fees. If your card has rewards, it might get rejected because the fees exceed EU standards. American Express has been granted a 2-year exemption from these requirements and is the reason it sometimes works when other cards don't.

Posted by
14 posts

I just bought our tickets from Salzburg to Budapest on the OEBB website with my AMEX card with no problem...no need for anything other than credit card # and exp date. I called the credit card company first to make sure they would not prevent the payment from going thru since it was a foreign transaction. (I had a problem a few years ago trying to pay for a Train ticket in England with my American credit card a couple months in advance of our trip, until I called the credit card company and told them what I was trying to do, then it went thru). Good luck.

Posted by
185 posts

We are also getting ready to book trains from Budapest to Vienna, then Vienna to Salzburg, then Salzburg to Munich in about a week when we are past the 90 day before mark. I had never heard of this issue but I just added it to the list of questions to ask Chase about our current Visa credit cards. Hopefully we will be able to book them online ourselves after all of the research I have done to figure out how and what to do! These forums and Seat 61 have been my savior. If we are unable to book the tickets on line ourselves, maybe we could go to our local Triple A branch and have the travel agent do it for us. I don't know if that would be a way around it, we could write a check to Triple A instead of using a credit card if they have the means to do it that way. I was planning use the Austrian railway, oebb.at and bahn.de to book everything, depending on which city we are going to and from. It seems quite inexpensive that way even with going first class which we want to do as we will have all of our luggage with us each time we travel by train. I will post if I find out anything helpful after we talk with Chase about the credit card situation.

Posted by
4695 posts

For 2 of your 3 journeys, it is not necessary to buy in advance. Budapest to Vienna - yes (but use the Hungarian site, not OeBB!). Vienna to Salzburg - take Westbahn, buy on the train or from the Tabak shop at Westbahnhof just before boarding. Salzburg to Munich - buy the Bayern ticket from the machine just before boarding.

Posted by
23 posts

AAA can definitely book it for you, but they will do it through RailEurope which is considerably more expensive. We were desperately hoping to get the discount "sparschiene" (sp?) tickets.
After spending countless hours on the phone with Visa, it turns out that Verified by Visa is the same as 3D Secure--but only some banks participate in that program. If your Visa card is held with a bank that participates, they can get you signed up. Ours does not, unfortunately. However we did locate the customer service number (thanks to a Rick Steve's article on Austrian trains). So, if you don't have a "Verified by Visa" Visa card, it may be worth contacting your credit card company to let them know you are going to make a purchase in Europe, from here, so they don't block the purchase and then try online and if that fails, call the Austrian train customer service to buy the tickets.
I hope this works for you! I will be trying this a few days after you do and I would love to hear how it goes.

Posted by
23 posts

Oh yes, I did talk to Schwab and they feel that the 3D Secure is quite passé. Very interesting. And confusing!!

Posted by
185 posts

Thanks everyone. Our bank is local to the state of New Mexico where we live so hopefully our Southwest Visa through Chase will have what we need or we can upgrade. We need to go to our bank and see about a debit card for ATMs next week as well. I have a list of questions I am typing up for when we call Chase about our credit card and all of the points on this forum as well as a few others will be on the question list!!!
In regard to the train tickets being purchased on the spot, would we be able to get first class at the last minute as well? We are traveling on Thursday, Sunday, and Wednesday. When I was reading information on Seat 61, I believe that he said that you could use Austrian OR Hungarian railway websites to book tickets from Budapest to Vienna. I also saw the information about either using Westbahnhof station Or Hauptbahnhof station to go from Vienna to Salzburg. The Westbahnhof station is much farther from our hotel than going to Wien Mitte which is a 3 minute walk, then 12 minutes to station Wien Meidling where we get a Railjet to Salzburg (2 hours and 15 minutes). I tried Google mapping from our hotel in Vienna to hotel in Salzburg and it gave us several options to choose from. For some reason, the Westbahnhof station took 50 minutes to reach from our hotel.

Posted by
4695 posts

Google maps is wrong. Use wienerlinien.at to calculate travel times with Vienna public transport.

Getting from your hotel to Westbahnhof is actually probably faster than Meidling as you get on the U3 subway line at Mitte which takes you right to Westbahnhof.

Again, Budapest to Vienna, buy online in advance.

Westbahn has business class seats which you also buy on the train, online or from a Tabak. Unlike the OeBB trains, with Westbahn there is no benefit to buying way ahead as they use a different pricing method. No one really uses first class, why for such short journeys?

Salzburg to Munich is on a regional train, so one class.

Posted by
1492 posts

If your hotel is close to Wien Mitte you have equal choices for going to Salzburg.

If you choose Westbahn, departing from Westbahnhof, you take the U3 subway to that train station.
If you choose ÖBB, departing from Hauptbahnhof (better than Meidling), you take an S-train to go there.

In either case you can reach the train station of your choice from Wien Mitte in about 10 minutes.

For the ride from Budapest to Vienna I recommend to buy seat reservations. (I always did because I wanted to sit at a table and I never like to walk through the train with all my luggage to find a seat.)

Posted by
31471 posts

A few further points to mention.....

  • Buying tickets on Westbahn - one important point to note about buying tickets on board Westbahn trains and you plan on using a credit card, it must be a Chip & PIN card. That's what I was told by the ticket agent last time I bought a ticket. I have C&P so it wasn't a problem.
  • "After spending countless hours on the phone with Visa, it turns out that Verified by Visa is the same as 3D Secure--but only some banks participate in that program." That's the point I mentioned above, albeit with different wording. Sorry that you had to spend hours on the phone.
Posted by
185 posts

Thank you all for clarifying how we can get to Westbahnhof and all of the other train and CC advice. I think the transportation factor is the most intimidating to me since we have not been to these countries or used trains before. We have used the subway system in NYC and Boston but that was a long time ago too. We probably just need to chill out and make sure we allow plenty of time but also take our time! We will get there!

Posted by
2353 posts

I just went through the same thing with SNCF - card was rejected because no 3D. I looked at the MasterCard "SecureCode" website and registered my card there. When I tried to purchase tickets again - it was still rejected although the SecureCode screen did come up & ask for my code which I entered. I then called the card issuer - oh yes they saw the transaction but it was blocked by v=bank. Great - bank will remove block.
Well - I tried it again - still rejected! I thought well give the bank a while. A while later my bank called me - the gal I had talked to earlier was following up to make sure the transaction went through - she saw it didn't so she call the guy to see what else - turns out they had two blocks - one for foreign rail and one for France - he'd only removed the rail one the first time - so France block now removed - try again. Success! The 3D thing comes up, then the SecureCode screen - I enter my code and voila - purchase complete.

Note: I had to try several cards before I found one that I could actually register with SecureCode.

Posted by
185 posts

We started researching the chip and pin cards today after reading all of the posts. We were also looking for a card that doesn't have foreign transaction fees as well. We ended up applying for the Barclay Arrival Plus Card. It is chip, you can create your pin for it on the website, at least that is what I read since we have not received the card yet, and no foreign transaction fees. They waive the $89 annual fee the first year and you do get 50,000 bonus miles if you charge $3000 in the first 90 days. There are quite a few other benefits as well. I don't know what will happen when we use the card in Europe as far as the issue of defaulting to chip and signature that many people have mentioned in other forums but I assume we can deal with that situation by situation basis. As soon as we receive it, I will probably try to book some train tickets at OEBB to see how that works. I will post the results.

We called Chase, USbank and even American Express before Barclays since we have Chase cards already as well as accounts with USbank but none of them had chip and pin cards for US citizens at this time.

Posted by
2353 posts

Just to clarify - Chip & Pin is not the same as 3D Secure nor Mastercard SecureCode. If a website requests 3Dsecure your chip & pin card will not work.

From what I read Barclay had MasterCard SecureCode in the past but is no longer using it.