Péages refuse foreign visa

My German Visa card was refused by two péages south of Bordeaux on the A63. They don’t offer sans contact, I inserted the card and it was refusée. I’ve not experienced this before. I had to back out of the cards only lane, much to the annoyance of the lady driver behind me. Fortunately I had enough cash with me (I tend to go out without any lately)! It being France, maybe they would have taken a cheque…

We had an incident where all cards were refused at a local shop… it was a problem with the connection and only got solved the following day… caused mayhem in the meantime.

thinking gain on your problem… could have been a “greasy” card. I’ve seen cashiers take the card and rub it… (before covid…) and get the customer to reinsert… et voilà it works…

Did you press the button to speak to them? In the past before doofa I had to speak to them on occasion and they were able to sort it.

Was the magstripe definitely on? More and more banks are switching it off by default with you having to switch it on in app or online if you need it. Many of those tolls still work exclusively via magstripe and I’ve found myself suddenly remembering as I pull up to the booth that I haven’t enabled it in my Starling app and have a frantic moment switching it on with the angry french drivers behind. Now I have a tag it’s not an issue obviously.

In years gone by it used to be a constant problem, but mot aware of it recently.

One of my cards I have to tell them if I’m going to be in another country - is this the first time you’ve used it here?

When we got back here 7 years ago we did a few trips back and forward from the UK. We discovered some autorotes accepted our Aussie card and some the UK card, quite stressful!

IIRC from some years ago when we used a Caxton pre-paid currency Visa card (or was it MasterCard at the time), it would often be refused at Péages and garages alike even if there was sufficient currency for that transaction available on the account.
It turned out that the automated system would “reserve” something in the order of 100€ even though the intended transaction was far less and sometime later - may be a day or so - the “reserved” amount would be released once the real transaction had been successfully processed.
I just wonder if this is the issue here?
If the card was used in the automatic system, it was often a problem but if used in the caisse with human intervention it was not. I think what @Corona alluded to is the correct position.

I recommend you contact Visa’s helpline and check with them whether there’s a block on it for some reason. The helpline is always very helpful.

About 4 years ago I remember driving down France and also had a similar problem with cards not working in one particular peage. After persisting, still not getting any cards to work, I spoke to someone on the speakerphone and the barrier was opened, so I understood that to mean that I could just drive through as nobody came out to deal with the situation - very very strange, but resulting in a reduced toll cost journey, as think the person on the other end just couldn’t be bothered :partying_face:

Yes I believe this is still the system with non French cards, or at least certain non French cards.
I remember once a very long time ago when we were visiting France just prior to moving, in a hire vehicle I very stupidly forgot which side the filler was on and parked with the wrong side next to the pump. The fuel hose would not reach and there was a queue behind me so I could not manoeuvre, and there was no option but to cancel the transaction and drive out and back in again. I was using a UK card and I was hit with two “reserves”, one for the cancelled transaction and one for the second attempt, so for the next couple of weeks there was something like £200 blocked against my account. That taught me to be more careful!

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I’m sure you now know that there is a symbol on the dash to help you in this respect…


But not a lot people know that :wink:


The last big storm down here knocked out Orange’s fibre network for a few days and all the local shop’s payment terminals were down.

Anything can happen… and doubtless will at some time or another… such is Life.

Didn’t think of pressing the call button - was a bit panicky. That was probably what the driver behind was yelling at me to do. It only happened on the two péages. I tried my wife’s card and it didn’t work either. Everywhere else was fine, cards accepted. They were the only two péages that I have encountered recently that hadn’t yet been updated to sans contact, so the machines are obviously in need if tlc.

What car do you have, none of ours has this feature. No surprise on 1996 car but the van is 2017.

Our 2010 Berlingo does not have this either. My wife is away in the newer one so cannot check but I have certainly never noticed it.

We had an occasion many years ago where our daughter had come home from Germany and we were at Bicester village buying working clothes for her, ie. smart.
Her card wouldn’t work and we had to resort to the bank of Mum and Dad.
The next time she came over she had told her bank that she would be in England.
I would have thought that things had improved by now.

We have a 2015 Seat Ibiza and the symbol is present on the fuel gauge in our case.

Are you sure? It is just the picture of the pump and the side the hose comes out us the side. I was sceptical when I first heard of it but never seen a car with out this pump picture! Glasses on maybe, it is not huge always!!


We came back yesterday and had the same problem at the same two péages south of Bordeaux. It’s obviously a problem connected with the péages.