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OBB Website - Payment Trouble

Hi all,

I am trying to purchase tickets online on the OBB (Austrian Federal Railways) website. The first leg of my trip will be from Prague to Vienna in May 2015. When I search these tickets, I get a list of times and prices, and I select the 2nd class SparSchiene ticket for the time I want. It takes me through a few more pages where I enter passenger info and indicate how I want to pay. Then I enter my credit card number on the secure site, but it gives me the following error message:

The transaction was not successful!
Transaktion für Händler/Terminal nicht erlaubt (invalid transaction)
Please click "Back" to restart the payment process. By clicking "Continue", you can return to the merchant's website.

Has anyone else had this problem? It happened to my boyfriend trying to book with his credit card as well. According to the OBB website, SparSchiene tickets can be booked online up to 6 months in advance so I don't think timing is the problem.

Thank you in advance!

-Alyssa

Posted by
3458 posts

Two things to do which can have an impact -- Firstly , register on the OBB site before attempting to make a purchase , and secondly , inform the credit card issuing bank of an impending transaction , easily done by posting a current travel alert . Having done this , I was able to easily buy tickets .

Posted by
80 posts

Hi Steven - Thank you for those tips! I actually had already created an account, but I then also set a travel notification on my credit card account just for today to see if that would work, too. Unfortunately it still isn't working though.

Posted by
3458 posts

sorry to hear this . Wait a day or two and give it another try . I have found in the past that some of the rail sites ( OBB , Trenitalia , MAV ( Hungary ) , etc . can be a bit " fiddly " on occasion .

Posted by
80 posts

Thanks Steven, I definitely appreciate the help. I'll keep trying!

If anyone else has any ideas or advice, I'd be glad to hear them!

Posted by
80 posts

Hi Emily - That's a really useful website, thanks for posting it. I thought maybe the reason for my issue was because my train was originating outside Austria, however, I am having the same problem when I try to purchase a ticket for a train from Vienna to Hallstatt as well (and other intra-Austria trips).

I am thinking it may be a problem with processing the credit card (I tried setting a travel alert but it didn't help). Has anyone had experience using a debit card to purchase a train ticket?

Posted by
3458 posts

Sorry about that - I didn't read your post carefully - absolutely too early to buy , and since the trip originates in Prague , you do indeed have to buy from Czech Rail . Back to coffee and editing photos from last Autumn's trip .

Posted by
3458 posts

Another thought - see what happens on Monday , generally the banks don't process over a weekend , so the travel alert for a current date ( today , tomorrow ) might not take effect until business hours resume . The purchase point and time frame still remain the most obvious solutions

Posted by
80 posts

Thanks all. I will keep the Czech website in mind. I thought maybe it was too far out to buy tickets (even the ones within Austria), but the OBB website says you can purchase SparSchiene tickets from 6 months in advance up to 3 days in advance online. And it does list fares and let me go through all the steps up to hitting purchase before it denies me, so it didn't seem like those tickets weren't allowed to be bought yet. I tried calling my credit card company to see if they could help, but they said they didn't see any transactions get denied on their end. I attempted to use a debit card as well but it asks for an IBAN and BIC number and I have no idea what those are :(

I wouldn't normally be so neurotic about purchasing these so far in advance, but I don't want to miss out on the special ticket pricing since they get much more expensive once that goes away.

Posted by
3458 posts

Don't worry about missing the tickets . When I put a trip together ( as I have just done ) , I make a chronological list of train tickets that I need to purchase , and as time of sale gets closer , I start checking , usually in advance of the purchase window . I have purchased a lot of tickets in the past and have never had any difficulty , and have always been able to snag the lowest prices , you'll be fine .

Posted by
80 posts

Thanks for the reassurance Steven & Phil! I will just keep trying until it works :)

Posted by
5 posts

I have only booked train tickets online once in 2011. Could be high online purchase traffic. You shouldn't have any issues in regards of getting a ticket.. Weekends are usually busy on the Austrian trains. As to the credit card issue. Contact the company maybe and have them check out why it would not let you.. Hope you get it done

Posted by
80 posts

I just wanted to let everyone who gave me tips or ideas know that I think I figured out the problem. I was able to purchase a train ticket on the website this morning using a different credit card after I set up a Verified by Visa password, so it appears that the reason I was denied purchasing before may have been because I did not have Verified by Visa set up on my other credit card (and it turns out my other credit card company does not use Verified by Visa so the website didn't give me the option to set it up) since the OBB website uses Verified by Visa for Visa credit card purchases.

Posted by
2 posts

Okay, I've been trying to book tickets on the OBB website for travel from Zurich to Salzburg. I have registered on the website and my card has Verified by Visa but I get the same message that Alyssa received. My travel date is May 15 and I'm trying to buy first class tickets on a Railjet train. Thanks for any suggestions.

Posted by
8889 posts

blpattyq, If you are trying to book from Zürich to Salzburg, try www.sbb.ch (Swiss Federal Railways), since that is the company running the train for the first part of the journey.

Posted by
4690 posts

I would add that first class on Railjet is very unnecessary. 2nd Class is very nice.

Posted by
16883 posts

I still believe it is too early to buy train tickets for May in most countries. Either 2 or 3 months in advance are the standard dates that sales open for the majority of operators (with Eurostar to/from London being a notable exception). SBB won't even show me a price to start the purchase for May 15.

I'm having the same problem. I have already registered, my credit card has this Verified by Visa system, but at the time of confirming payment I get the same message "The transaction was not successful". I've been paying other tickets and hotel reservations and this is the first time I have problems with the transaction. Any ideas? I'm trying to book for August 12th. Thanks everybody! Gabriela

Posted by
11288 posts

"Any ideas? I'm trying to book for August 12th."

You're probably trying too early. As said several times above, you can only book tickets when they become available, usually 60-90 days before travel. And twice a year, when the new schedules are loaded, you can have an even shorter time before travel when the tickets first become available for sale. But don't worry - if it's too early to book for you, it's also too early for anyone else.

Just keep checking every few days. Also (as shown in some of the examples above), make sure you are booking on the correct website. Usually, that's the website of the country where the train originates. A handy list is here, from The Man In Seat 61: http://tinyurl.com/bo8x6o6

Thanks for your answer! I was trying to book now because I read that you can book this sleeper train 6 months in advance Before, when looking for my date, there was a message indicating that the timetable wasn't still available, but now I can see all the information, time, price, etc. The only problem is with payment. Anyway, I will try another day or look for other alternatives..

Posted by
80 posts

blpattyq & Gabriela - Call your credit card companies to verify (ha ha) that they use Verified by Via. If they don't use/have it, then that's why it isn't working. That was my problem - CapitalOne doesn't have it so the OBB website couldn't run it. I ended up having to use a Wells Fargo credit card instead, which did have Verified by Visa.

I bought train tickets for May back in February so you should be able to buy them now if you can find a credit card that works. I haven't been able to buy a shorter distance train ticket in Switzerland yet though.

Posted by
5697 posts

Another possible problem with the August purchase -- fares adjust as of June 15 so they may not be available. (I had this for December tickets until the December 15 changes posted. )