No more Travelex prepaid chip and pin to purchase before leaving US

First, I apologize because I know this topic has been discussed to death, but still have a question... My husband and I are taking a 3-week driving tour of France in June. We have the Chase Hyatt chip-and-signature card. As I understand it, this may only be marginally better than the magnetic strip card. I also understand that cash works except with unattended kiosks. I do not want to go through the hassle of the Andrews chip and pin card that I would only use at unattended kiosks and at toll booths. However, on our last driving trip out of Paris in 2010 the lines were incredible at the manned toll booths, and I'd really just like to figure out a way to use the automated toll booths to save time. I was interested in getting the Travelex prepaid chip and pin, however, they have discontinued its usage for purchasing in US. I called Travelex and they said there were going to be launching a "chip and pin" mastercard this summer but could not give me a date. If I purchase a prepaid Travelex card at the airport when I arrive, I can use it in France, but will not be able to add funds online. To "cash out" any leftover funds, I would have to return to same the Travelex location. Does anyone have any better options for a prepaid card? I've searched online and haven't been successful. I've called my credit union and they do not have a chip and pin. So, I'm left with my chip and signature card, cash, and a Travelex prepaid card for the occasional kiosk or toll booth that is going to have no ability to add more funds. Any other options I'm missing? Thanks, everyone.

Posted by Robert
704 posts

I'm not sure any option will work if your goal is to avoid the lines at toll booths in France. I just got back from a 5 1/2 week trip to France, and was able to use my Andrews chip and PIN everywhere (e.g., SNCF machines, gas stations) except at toll booths. I tried 4 or 5 times and it was always rejected. I thought it had worked once at a toll booth last year, but now I'm not sure. In any event, I had to use cash at the machine in each case after the card was rejected. And there hardly ever seem to be manned toll booths on the A roads anymore, at least when I've traveled.

Posted by Tara
148 posts

Great advice, everyone! Thanks! I don't remember from our previous trip in 2010 if the kiosks also take cash, but I seem to remember that they do. I will look for the Liberte card at our first toll booth -- great suggestion! I don't have an AMEX, though, but I'm assuming they'll accept my Visa?