We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

And another Europe booking question....

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 7,550
reviews: 83
And another Europe booking question....

Using instructions from other posts here and from Man in Seat 61, I attempted to book a train from Paris to Basel on the French website. I couldn't seem to get the best rates or the route I wanted on the Swiss site. I entered Antarctica as my country. When I got to the point of how to get my tickets, it did not give me the option to print at home; I did have the option to pick up at a French station. However, the instructions state that I must use the same credit card as I use to book the tickets AND it must be a chip and pin card. I don't have a chip/pin card. Is this a change? Or will they really let me pick up the tickets with my credit card and passport?

By the way, I then checked the Rail Europe USA site, and I could get the tickets for only about $3 more than the French site, but they want $18 to ship them to me. (Much more if I needed them quickly)

Bucks
posts: 4,261
reviews: 2
1. Re: And another Europe booking question....

Yes, you need the same card you used to make the booking.

BUT the instructions about Chip n PIN can be ignored. If your card isn't chip and PIN, you simply collect from the staffed counter instead. The confirmation email you receive AFTER payment actually tells you this, it's a shame they don't say this BEFORE you pay as it always worries Americans.

So go ahead.

Incidentally, the new instructions for using www.voyages-sncf.com for anyone from ANY country are as follows:

1) go to www.voyages-sncf.com

2) IGNORE and CLOSE the 'Choose your country' pop-up.

3) Change 'France' top right to 'Other countries (EUR)

4) Select 'France' as your ticket collection country, OR if from any country EXCEPT the USA you can select your true country at this stage (although the only advantage in selecting Great Britain or Australia say, is that ticket will be posted in the few cases they cannot be issues as a print-at-home e-ticket or collected at a French station). Do NOT select United States as search results will then open on Rail Europe.

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 7,550
reviews: 83
2. Re: And another Europe booking question....

Thank you! I suspected as much. I knew I'd have to have the same card, but it did worry me when they said you'd also have to have the Pin.

Edited: 1:38 pm, July 22, 2013
WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 7,550
reviews: 83
3. Re: And another Europe booking question....

Well, I'm about to throw in the towel. I got as far as entering my payment, and the payment was rejected. I used my other credit card, and that was rejected, as well. My card company is aware that I am traveling and will be booking in euros, etc. and they say they do not see that the transaction was even sent to them. They believe it is because I do not have a chip/pin card.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 4,185
reviews: 24
4. Re: And another Europe booking question....

It's NOT about chip and pin, your card must be verified either by Visa or Mastercard (the term is 'Verified by Visa' and 'SecureCode'), see below:

…voyages-sncf.com/en/…payment-3d-secure

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 7,550
reviews: 83
5. Re: And another Europe booking question....

Yes, I read that, and it says "Please direct any questions about 3D Secure (obtaining a code, lost code, changing your code, etc.) or the authentication process to your bank." So I did that. Neither one of my credit card companies seem to be able to help me with the authentication process or obtaining a code other than the security code printed on my card.

I had no problem with this card on the Austrian rail site where I booked a train for later in our trip.

Tried again while I was on the phone with my credit card company. Still no luck, and they don't know

how to advise me.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 55,175
reviews: 11
6. Re: And another Europe booking question....

It seems that many US banks do not use Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode, so their cards cannot be used on the SNCF web site. It is a problem with the bank, not SNCF.

If you continue to have trouble with voyages-sncf, www.capitainetrain.com is a private website which links directly to the SNCF ticketing system. The drawback is that it is only in French, but translate.google.com would probably allow you to follow it. www.loco2.com is a UK site, so there is a small conversion cost from € to £, but it is in English and has French prices.

Edited: 1:35 am, July 23, 2013
Sydney, Australia
posts: 4,185
reviews: 24
7. Re: And another Europe booking question....

"I had no problem with this card on the Austrian rail site"

Well, if OEBB decided not to participate in this process, it is their right as a merchant. SNCF decided to do otherwise, it is also within their right to participate.

My sister had the same problem booking a flight to Malaysia last week, and the error message that came up was a bit cryptic. Anyway, I forced her to front up to the bank, and asked the bank to help resolving this matter for her. After all:

- she is their customer

- it is in the bank's interest that legitimate transactions are verified properly, to minimise fraud

If the bank is reluctant to help, just change to another that is willing to do so!

Cape Coral, Florida
posts: 597
reviews: 6
8. Re: And another Europe booking question....

Miss P,

I had problems with SNCF last April 4th and 5th when I bought and printed my Paris to Nice and Zurich to Paris tickets. When SNCF finally answered my e-mails they said the problem was caused because my country given Antartica was different than the country of my credit card. Before their reply the person at Visa who was trying to help me with my ticket purchase suggested if I have a MasterCard to try that. I did and it went through with the MasterCard. He said he has seen it go through just trying a different card. Last trip to Europe I bought tickets and printed them from SNCF for Paris to Strasbourg and I used Great Britain as my country and I had no problems. Maybe I should have used Great Britain again instead of Antartica since they were all print at home e-tickets.

Edited: 11:29 pm, July 23, 2013
WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 7,550
reviews: 83
9. Re: And another Europe booking question....

"If the bank is reluctant to help, just change to another that is willing to do so!" Easier said than done. I wish I knew where to get a card that will work.

And both banks were willing to help, but they didn't really know how, since they had not denied any charge and, in fact, there was no charge attempt even showing up. I could not find a telephone number, and they said if I could get some contact information to call them back and they would try to contact SNCF. I did finally receive an email back from SNCF, explaining that it could be a problem with the website and to try again in 24 hours; or that it could be several other difficulties. He did give me a number to call, but since the website was warning me there were only 7 seats left at this price, I had already decided the night before to go ahead and purchase the tickets on Rail Europe. I ended up paying, I believe, about $5 more per ticket and their $7.95 fee. But I wanted the tickets at that price and-- I was tired of messing with it.

American Express, of course, is not a Visa or MasterCard. SNCF says it accepts American Express, but my card was denied by their site, not by American Express, because they could not see any evidence of a charge attempt. I suspect it was the situation NCandFL encountered--I had used "Other Countries (Eur) as Man in Seat 61 explains as the new procedure, and my credit card billing address was in the USA. AND, one of the cards I tried does participate in Verified by Visa. I have a pin number for ATM access or cash advances, but no chip. But the SNCF site did not give me an opportunity to enter any identifying information. Perhaps the programs have slightly different requirements or computer programs in the US and in France, or perhaps the French want to collect their part of the Rail Europe fees, or perhaps its something else entirely. Maybe SCNF officials read Man in Seat 61 and Trip Advisor and decided to close the loophole.

So, I have my tickets, but wanted to report my difficulties for the record, I guess. To report that the instructions for using the SCNF site did not work for me.

Edited: 1:27 am, July 25, 2013
Sydney, Australia
posts: 4,185
reviews: 24
10. Re: And another Europe booking question....

@misspWestSlope

If you managed to get your tickets from Rail Europe at a reasonable price, then all is well and good. It is not worth the hassle trying to find out what actually caused the problem, especially if your bank is unable to resolve the issue (in my sister's case, the bank was able to contact the 'Verified by Visa' people on the phone, which enabled her to proceed with the purchase with no problems)

I just want to mention some of the related issues here, I am not claiming they may be the actual problem in your case. (speaking from the perspective of someone who used to be in the computer industry, and familiar with some of the programming issues)

I am not sure how relevant entering the country as 'Antarctic' or 'Afghanistan' anymore these days, if SNCF wants to close the loophole, then it would certainly be easy to do, from just detecting what is called the Visa BIN numbers. The BIN database would immediately flag the issuer of the card, and by proxy, the country of issue. See:

https://www.bindb.com/bin-list.html

However, prior to the card data being entered, when you log on to the site, the SNCF site should immediately determine your country by your computer's IP address. This process is called 'geo-blocking', ie. I could design the program such that certain countries are blocked or re-directed.

All the above discussions are purely academic, since I have no clue on what parameters the site operates