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Capital One problem

So, being proactive and wanting to save on fees, I signed up for and received a Capital One card to use to book my train tickets and other purchases while in Europe. Also being proactive, I called Capital One yesterday to notify them that I'd be making charges online these next few weeks while I buy train tickets, hoping to avoid having my account frozen.

So, as you can guess, not all went well! Went on the French SNCF site to book our first train leg and entered my Capital One info. Submitted for payment and was told the bank declined the transaction. So, figured it was flagged as fraud (grrr...) and called Capital One.

Talked to Fraud Division and it was declined as possible fraud. She authorized me to use the card again (1st transaction didn't go through) so while on the phone with her, tried again. Same result, though this time no record of the transaction showed up and the rep was unable to help any further with how to resolve the issue. Waited an hour, tried transaction again, and still nothing. Now completely frustrated!

Ended up having to use another credit card (called them prior to transaction) and worked smoothly. Unfortunately, had to pay 3% foreign transaction fee.

Anyone have this problem before? I've e-mailed SNCF to see if they've blocked the number on their end, but since it's midnight there, no response. Needless to say, a bit irritated with Capital One. Any suggestions appreciated!

Posted by
23411 posts

I am guessing your problem had to do more with timing. A brand new credit card suddenly being used to make substantial purchases in Europe. If C One had had a year experience with you it probably would not have raised the same number of red flags. It will probably work better in the future.

Posted by
504 posts

I sure hope so! The perplexing part is that when I called they authorized charges to SNCF. While on the phone with the rep I tried to again pay for the ticket and it didn't go through again...and didn't show up in the Capital One computer. She had no idea what was wrong. So, that's why I'm thinking maybe SNCF flags the number in their system and won't allow charges on it. Only think I can think of. We'll see when I hear back from them.

Mostly frustrating especially the time to get a new card and have this happen. On the positive side, though I was charged 3%, got to earn a few miles for the purchase! :-)

Posted by
524 posts

I'm thinking Frank is right - it's a timing issue. I had a card with Capital One for about 20 years and found their service to be excellent.

Posted by
390 posts

I also use Capital One for foreign transactions, but a few months ago when I was buying train tickets online at Southern Trains (for England) my Capital One was declined multiple times. I called the company and they said it wasn't on their end (after they transferred me to about 4 different people.) They said that they had no record of me trying to make the purchase - even as I did it over the phone. However, I was able to purchase the tickets with my Visa through my local bank. (I just decided to pay the 2%). It was definitely something with the CapOne card, but I don't know what. I haven't had any other problems with it in the 5 years I've used it abroad.

Posted by
504 posts

That's the exact problem I had today (just substitute internet for phone in my case). I'll try again in a few days when I need to purchase another ticket, and will see what SNCF has to say in the next few days. I know Capital One isn't the only company that is hyper-vigilant with online fraud, but I think my frustration stems from taking all the necessary steps to notify them of upcoming transactions (I told them specific countries and I was buying train tickets), having them declined and then not having the problem rectified. While I understand Frank and Mike's suggestions, having taken these steps should have avoided this situation. Oh well, I only got dinged 3% on a $55 ticket-not the end of the world!

My purpose for posting was more to find out if others had experienced this issue and what resolved it (Though I'm still a bit irritated). It is weird that Capital One had only seen my first attempt to buy, and none of the others. That's why I think SNCF might be a part of it.

Posted by
27 posts

This is interesting to me. I signed on for a Capital One card just for the purpose of a trip in June. I hope it will work for me over there in Europe, considering I will call the company ahead of time to report my trip.

Karen

Posted by
7 posts

I used my Capital One credit card to buy 3 train tickets from the DB website (without previous notification to Capital One) last December and did not have any problem making my purchases. After notifying Capital One of my foreign trip, I used the credit card to buy tickets from the DB ticket machines 2 weeks ago at Munich and Nuremberg and neither did I have any problems.

Posted by
7209 posts

It doesn't happen ONLY with Capital One. My trusted AMEX declined my charge of a group of 20 bargain rate plane tickets on Air Berlin even after calling them ahead of time to warn them. Booked them on the Air Berlin website which took the card, delivered a confirmation number, but no error. I waited for the ticket charge to show up on my AMEX statement. After 3 weeks I finally called AMEX just to confirm everything was OK. No it was not OK, Amex had declined the charge because they thought it was fraudulent - but didn't think it important enough to notify me.

Luckily I called Air Berlin and they re-ran the card which worked the 2nd time. AMEX really ticked me off on that one.

Posted by
504 posts

Yikes! That is a scary one Tim! My worst was when BOA declined my deposit for our wedding rehearsal dinner at the restaurant where we having it at. I had paid the caterer earlier in the week and BOA froze my account, but never called (even though I had called them to warn them of charges and my home # was the preferred method to contact me regarding suspicious charges). I called from the restaurant and got it straightened out in about 10 minutes, so only damage done was a bit of a red face to ask to have the manager re-run the deposit. I've had BOA freeze my account a few other times for potential fraud since, but have been notified by both e-mail and phone promptly so I could verify it wasn't fraud. Both those times, the charge went through before they froze it though.

Still no word from SNCF. I'll wait a few days. By then it will be time to buy my next ticket so I'll try my Capital One card again. Cross my fingers!

Posted by
1170 posts

We're new to Capital One as well, so I was interested in your post. Hope everything is resolved.

Posted by
23411 posts

Does anyone what to guess what the postings would sound like if Capitol One permitted a bad charge? Good security does have some trade offs. Which is why we carry three credit cards and two debit cards. One of them has to work !!!

Posted by
504 posts

Frank- As I stated previously, my main reason to post was to see if anyone else had this problem with Capital One(or others). The perplexing part is why subsequent attempts to try and charge were not showing up in the Capital One computer. While on the phone with the rep she too was wondering why they weren't showing up as I tried 2-3x while on the phone with her.

Secondary was my irritation that I notified Capital One of my intentions 2 days prior that I was going to make specific internet charges in France and Germany for train tickets and they still blocked the charges. Not a huge deal, but certainly irritating,regardless of how long I've held an account with them. Unfortunately, I've heard too many times (I think on this board too) of people following these steps and still having charges declined.

I understand completely the need for caution and the reality of credit card fraud and applaud the credit card companies for the steps they take. You are right too Frank, need to carry multiple cards!

Posted by
95 posts

Jed,
I had a similar issue with sncf in the last few months. I wasn't booking with a capital one card but another visa and the transaction did not go thru and only showed as a temporary one on my online statement. It also put a hold on my account until i called visa. Now granted, I did not call them to tell them I would be charging anything overseas, but by this time, I had booked a few things on bahn.de already as well as a few other online reservations.

Maybe something to do with sncf specifically and not capital one?

Posted by
504 posts

That's what I'm wondering. I e-mailed yesterday and am waiting for a reply. Hopefully I hear in the next day or two. The 90 day window for our next train trip opens in a few days, so if I don't hear from them I'll try again and see if it goes through. I only have a couple train trips in France so worst case I'll use my other card and pay the 3%. I'll try my Capital One again on the DB site for those legs. I'll post my experience in on Friday! Thanks to everyone for the feedback and suggestions!

Posted by
504 posts

Update on my previous post! SUCCESS! I just booked on the SNCF site our next leg of the trip, Paris to Caen (Looks like I have to buy the Caen/Bayuex leg separately in order to print from home, so we'll just buy in Paris). Used my Capital One card that had previously been blocked, and had no problem at all with it. Transaction went through the first time! I still haven't heard anything regarding my e-mail to SNCF, but looks like for now the problem is solved.

Thanks for all the feedback from people!

Jed

Posted by
1170 posts

Jed, I'm glad you were finally successful. Thank you for starting this thread. It made me realise that we need to take several credit cards and debit cards just in case.

Posted by
233 posts

I've had no problem using my Capital One card in Europe but have also had a few troubles booking foreign train, bus, and tour tickets on-line with it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Posted by
504 posts

Just used it again this morning on SNCF and no problems! I think the main problem was Capital One didn't allow that initial charge to go through and now they have in their records I'll be making internet charges, so I'm not anticipating any more issues (though still interesting none of my subsequent attempts after the first failure to buy the ticket never showed in their computer. One of the world's great mysteries I suppose).. Knock on wood!....

We'll see in a about a week when I go to buy off of the DB website for our Germany tickets.

Thanks again to everyone who commented!

Jed

Posted by
8 posts

Jed,

I had a similar problem with my bank card when I made an online purchase with a merchant located in Paris. The transaction was declined and both the merchant and my bank contacted me. The bank 'held' the transaction as a possible fraudulent transaction until I called them and ok'd the transaction. The bank rep. also advised me to notify my credit card companies of my travel plans so that I may prevent another potentially embarrasing transaction hold.