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French toll roads with US credit cards

This topic has been mentioned several times, and in the past my comment has always been that my card hardly ever worked. However, that was not the case on our recent trip. I used the same Andrews FCU chip card I've used for years, and it worked every time - about 8-10 tolls. I always went to a booth that would take cards and cash in case there was a problem with my card, but there never was. I was on several autoroutes in the Rhone, Burgundy, Isere and Savoie regions, and it worked in all of them. What I didn't pay attention to was whether it was the same company that was operating all of those Autoroutes. However, it may be that something has changed for the use of US cards, since I had driven on those same roads over the past few years.
Edit: I just checked my credit card statement for those tolls, and it looks like it was 3 different toll road operators on the roads I used.

Posted by
12172 posts

My last three trips I think I've had one, each trip, that didn't work with anything I put in - so I had to pay cash. I was using the Andrews card first and sometimes it worked first try. At least half the time, I go through every card I have, twice, and eventually something works.

Posted by
8230 posts

We drove from north to south and back again last May. The cards did not work in the north and they did in the south --we had several different American CCs. The toll booths are run by different companies in different regions. I always carry a change purse full of coins and a supply of small bills.

Posted by
1005 posts

You are lucky your card worked everywhere. I've used my Andrews card all over France with success, until I was in the Loire, when suddenly it wouldn't work. Yes, I had to back up and get into the cash lane (fortunately it was a rural exit so it wasn't very busy). Lesson learned--always use the cash lane, even if you think your card will work. Even in the cash lanes, there is an option to use your credit card, so you can try it first.

Posted by
2713 posts

There was a recent post about a toll machine eating the credit card. I’ve used cash in fear of that happening.

Posted by
5697 posts

Yep, that was my post -- going from Beaune to Lyon tomorrow and we will have cash for the expected €12 toll on the A6.

Posted by
6095 posts

We have driven in France a couple times. The first time we couldn't get any of our credit cards to work at a highway gas station. A lovely older French woman came out and explained it all. She had a driver, but walked us through the credit card process because she could speak English. It turned out that it needed a card with a PIN and at that time only one of our cards had a PIN associated with it. The second time we didn't have a problem with gas though occasionally we did with tolls. My recollection is that they are all automated so if your card doesn't work or you don't have the correct amount of cash, you are in tough shape.

I always contact my credit card companies before I leave and tell them I am traveling. We only have one card with out a foreign currency transaction fee and we like to use that one, but we have needed to use an alternate card on occasion.

I also copy both sides of my credit cards and email it to myself and someone at home and print it.

Posted by
2916 posts

Jules mentions gas stations and credit cards. That was the principal reason I got an Andrews chip and PIN card several years ago (when few American banks were issuing chip cards), after being unable to get gas one Sunday. And my Andrews card has never failed at an unmanned gas station, although it almost happened last week. I went to fill up at an odd hour, and when I tried my Andrews card it was rejected. Then my other 2 cards were also rejected. I then tried my Andrews card again, and it worked. Why it failed the first time I don't know.