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Trouble buying a TGV ticket

Can anyone help me figure out why I can't manage to pay for 2 TGV tickets from Paris to Zurich? Ouigo and Lyria decline my card and Rick Steves just goes into the spinning wheel of death when I try to get to the place where I input payment info. And i'm getting messages that that train (on Sept. 10) is filling up. Very frustrating! (I'm in the US)

Posted by
183 posts

Nothing to panic over. Quite possibly your credit card company's anti-fraud protection has gone into overdrive - happens to everyone. Call them and tell them that you're trying to make a transaction on a foreign website. They'll override and after a few minutes the transaction will likely go through. While with them on the phone let them know when your be in Europe and where you'll be so that you don't have to deal with declined transactions while your travelling.

Posted by
9865 posts

Or use a different site to buy your tickets — I use (I think will charge a small fee), and many here on the Forum swear by

Posted by
16894 posts

The French sites tend to require you to either have a true chip & PIN card, or to be signed up with an extra security level called Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode. They only occasionally take PayPal, depending on ticket type.

Our site should not have the same issue, but I have heard some similar "spinning wheel" reports in the past week or so. Rail Europe advised us that Chrome is the best browser to use, and to consider clearing browser history. (If you want to send me info about the type of browser you're using and time of day, that might be interesting.) System maintenance is most likely in the afternoon/evening (when it's overnight in France.) If no luck with those tips, then is another option.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks, all. Loco2 did work. Re: the Rick Steves site, I'm using Chrome and it is most likely the middle of the night when I'm trying.

Posted by
8225 posts

I always call it the beach ball of death -- since it looks like a spinning beach ball on Macs.

Posted by
9436 posts

Spinning ball of death has been a common term for decades...

Glad Loco2 worked for you. I bought tickets in April via Loco2 and it was super easy.

Posted by
337 posts


I recently completed two weeks in France and used the Sncf mobile app without any problems purchasing tickets multiple times, both prior to departure and when in France when we had to change our plans. I also like the "manage by bookings" being very efficient in having the electronic tickets.
My Chip and pin credit card does have the verification previously mentioned, but this is no different than for some transactions at home and is linked to my mobile number. I found the pricing always cheaper than the suggestions made. Just my 2 cents worth.

You might try the Swiss Rail website, while I did set an account up, I didn't need to use it, but this might be an option.

Posted by
113 posts

I had issues trying to use my credit card on SNCF / TGV sites. Switched to my debit card and it worked just fine. No idea why...both with Chase bank. I know. Give your debit card a try...