Using Credit Cards in Paris: Paris Travel Tip #1

by Parisgirl on November 1, 2008

by Parisgirl | November 1st, 2008  

Thirty days has November and Parislogue will give you a travel tip each day to help your Paris trip be the best ever!

Don’t leave home without your credit card – but most importantly – don’t leave home without the four-digit code you would normally use for cash withdrawals. While in the US, most restaurants request signatures, European credit cards practically always use the four digit codes to confirm purchases. If you don’t have a four-digit code, it’s not the end of the world. Restaurants and hotels will accept credit cards using the signature process, but you’ll want to have your code handy for all sorts of handy short cuts around lines – such as in the Metro (where you can buy a ‘carnet’ of tickets with your credit card, at the Louvre, at the movie theater, or even renting a ‘Velib’ bike for the day. Credit cards are used in telephone booths and some parking lots, highway toll booths. Best of all, you can save on exchange rates by using your credit card at bank machines to get Euros for dollars at a competitive rate.

Which credit cards are accepted in Paris?
Leave your Discover card home. It isn’t accepted in Europe.

American Express? Well, without wanting to show bias – I have to be honest here. Shopkeepers aren’t too crazy about American Express simply because it charges higher fees. They will normally ask you for either Visa or Mastercard.

Can you use debit cards in Paris?
Confirm with your bank that your debit cards will be accepted overseas. You may want to inform your bank before you travel that you’ll be using your debit card overseas. We have noted that debit cards don’t seem to work for larger sums.

>> Get more Paris travel tips from a local before you go!

{ 2 comments }

Peggy Meyers September 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm
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We have been traveling to Paris every year since 1997 and I have never heard of using a 4 digit code when using a credit card. There is a 4 digit code for ATM cards or check cards but not credit cards. Can you clarify the following statement?

“Don’t leave home without your credit card – but most importantly – don’t leave home without the four-digit code you would normally use for cash withdrawals. While in the US, most restaurants request signatures, European credit cards practically always use the four digit codes to confirm purchases.”

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Mary Gould October 28, 2009 at 11:40 am
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I just returned from two weeks in Paris (September 2009). While there I found that I could not use my Debit/credit card for Metro tickets – I could however use my card for all meals although there were some times that the card had to be turned around to scan through their machines. I did not have to enter my 4 didget code, but did sign each time. I was also able to easily use my card at all ATM machines for Euros. I did find that many places did not accept American Express and I didn’t even try my Discover card.

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