Swiss Rail rejected my US credit cards when I tried to buy tickets on line. Does that mean they will reject my cards if I try to buy tickets at the station? Not an experienced traveler, so have no idea what to do.
I didn't have any diffculty in Switzerland with my US chip & signature credit card. My Capital One Visa does not require foreign travel notifiation but some cards do require notifiaction. I did use my card at staffed locations and did not try the automated ticket machines.
In the past I have had to call the credit card company to advise of on-line foreign transations. The agent stayed on the phone line witle the on-line transaction was entered and accepted. But as said, not a recent issue with Capital One.
Did you alert your credit card co. that you would be making a foreign transaction?
Are you sure it was SWISS Rail that rejected your credit card or was it your credit card company rejecting a foreign transaction? You may have to notify your bank.
Have you told your credit card company that you will be making purchases in Switzerland?
If not, they may block it as suspicious as this transaction will be posted in Switzerland.
As long as you have informed your card company you are going to Switzerland your card should work. All Swiss (and other European) cards are "chip & PIN". If you don't have a PIN you may have problems with unmanned ticket machines. Manned ticket counters, and other staffed places should be OK as long as the staff have been trained to use the old-fashioned "paper+signature" method.
Thanks to all of you. I did notify the bank after I posted and read some other info. I will wait until tomorrow to try again. I know Capital One is awesome for travel, but we very rarely travel these days, so just VISA.
Just to add a data point, I had no trouble using my credit card at the Swiss Rail office in Zurich airport, or at my hotels in September 2017. I had to make sure not to be charged in US dollars, but in Swiss Franks (and I was asked by the machine EVERY TIME - be vigilant!). I then had to sign a slip, but that was that.
I didn't try to buy Swiss Rail tickets at machines in Switzerland, so I can't speak to that. Someone else here said the Swiss Rail app may work better with US credit cards than the Swiss Rail website - worth a try.
And yes, do call your card to see if the transaction got through to them and was rejected (in which case, they can remove the block) or never got through to them (in which case they can't do anything). If it was the card company, in addition to trying the app you can try another browser (worked for me when I had a similar problem in the UK).
We have heard reports that some European train companies, including SBB and OeBB (Austria) will reject US credit cards that do not have “Verified by Visa” or similar security, for online purchases. However, they should accept them for in-person purchases from an agent. Not from a ticket machine unless the card is chip and PIN.
Note that American Express is often accepted by the train companies for online purchase even when other cards are not. I had no trouble buying online from both SBB and OeBB, as well as Bahn.de, with my AmEx card.
I just returned last month from 2 weeks in Switzerland. I did not have any problems using my Amex card to purchase tickets from an agent.
It is all about on-line transaction security. Your credit cards will work fine when you are in Switzerland. It is just when making internet transactions that they get fussy. Europe is using 3-D security for these, and we are just beginning to catch up with things like Verified by Visa or Masterpass.
I had no issues using a Visa card in Switzerland as long as the establishment accepted Visa. I did have issues with AmEx and MasterCard. And, yes, I had alerted all three card carriers prior to departure that I'd be traveling. This was a point of service issue. Visa is far more widely accepted.
Fingers crossed that your card will go through now that you've alerted your credit card company. Let us know what happens?
I have read in the past on this site that folks had issues booking through the website, but not through their App. You may want to try that.
Just remember the advice above -- check for DCC every time! I found the SBB terminals always showed the charge in US$ as the default -- very easy to change by pushing one button IF you actually read the screen before pressing "Accept".
Has anyone used a Discover card while in Switzerland, and if so how frequently was it accepted?
I can't speak specifically to Switzerland, but in general, the Discover card is practically unknown in Europe. If you do bring it, count on not being able to use it, and be pleasantly surprised any time you can.
Thanks Harold. That is what we thought and the internet has told us but wanted confirmation about that.
Lola is right. Swiss Rail (SBB.ch) is VERY finicky about certain cards when purchasing their tickets from overseas. In person and while in Switz., I've not had a problem.
This issue has been discussed on here before. My credit cards worked over there, but not when trying to buy their tickets from outside the country. However, I did find that my debit card worked just fine for buying their tickets from overseas.
As mentioned above, if you're using a Visa card, make sure that you've completed the Verified by Visa registration.
Will you be using debit cards for ATM withdrawals whilst in Switzerland? Be sure to notify your financial institutions that you'll be travelling with those too.