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What Credit Cards Work in France?

Summary:Planning a trip to France? Learn about the types of credit cards commonly accepted, fees, and security measures to use them wisely.

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Credit Cards in France: A Guide for Travelers

If you are planning a trip to France, you may be wondering what credit cards work in the country and how to use them effectively. While France is a popular tourist destination with many merchants that accept credit cards, there are some differences in payment systems, fees, and security that you should be aware of before you depart. In this article, we will answer some common questions about credit cards in France and offer some tips for using them wisely.

What types of credit cards are commonly accepted in France?

In general, major credit card networks like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are widely accepted in France, especially in larger cities and tourist areas. However, some smaller shops, restaurants, and markets may only accept cash or local debit cards, especially in rural or remote areas. Therefore, it is recommended to carry some euros in cash for emergencies or small purchases, and to check with the merchant or ask the locals about their preferred payment methods.

Are there any fees or limits for using credit cards in France?

Yes, there may be somefees and limitsassociated with using credit cards in France. Some merchants may charge a surcharge or commission for credit card transactions, especially for low-value purchases. The fee may range from 1% to 5% of the total amount, and may be displayed at the checkout or added to the receipt. Therefore, it is important to check the price and ask the merchant if any fee will be added before you pay by card.

In addition, some credit card issuers may impose a foreign transaction fee or a currency conversion fee when you use your card abroad. The fee may be a fixed amount or a percentage of the transaction amount, and may vary depending on the card issuer and the type of card. It is recommended to check your card's terms and conditions or contact your card issuer before you travel to France to avoid unexpected fees.

Moreover, some ATMs and banks in France may also charge a fee for cash withdrawals or currency exchange, especially if you use a non-European card or withdraw from a non-partner bank. The fee may be displayed on the screen or on the receipt, and may be in euros or in your home currency. It is advisable to withdraw larger amounts of cash at once to minimize the fee and to use ATMs located inside banks or official outlets.

How can I protect my credit card from fraud or theft in France?

As with any travel destination, it is important to take some precautions to prevent credit card fraud or theft in France. Here are some tips that may help:

- Keep your card in a secure place, such as a wallet with RFID blocking or a money belt worn under your clothes. Avoid carrying multiple cards or large amounts of cash in one place.

- Use your card only at trusted merchants or terminals that look legitimate and secure. Avoid giving your card to strangers or typing your PIN in public or crowded places.

- Check your card statements and notifications regularly to detect any unauthorized or suspicious transactions. Report any issues to your card issuer immediately and follow their instructions to dispute the charges and protect your account.

- Consider using a virtual credit card or a mobile payment app that generates a unique token or code for each transaction, instead of using your physical card. This may reduce the risk of card skimming or cloning, as the token cannot be reused or copied.

What are some recommended credit cards for travelers to France?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as different travelers may have different preferences, budgets, and credit scores, here are some general suggestions based on the features and benefits of some popular credit cards:

- Chase Sapphire Preferred: This card offers a generous sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction fee, and flexible reward points that can be transferred to various airline and hotel partners. It also has travel and purchase protections, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and extended warranty.

- Capital One Venture Rewards: This card provides a flat rate of 2 miles per dollar spent, no foreign transaction fee, and a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit. It also has travel and purchase protections, such as travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance, and price protection.

- Discover it Miles: This card offers a 1.5% cash back on all purchases, no foreign transaction fee, and a matching bonus for the first year. It also has a free FICO credit score monitoring tool, and some travel and purchase protections, such as travel accident insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and purchase protection.

Of course, these are just a few examples of the many credit cards available on the market, and you should do your own research and comparison based on your own needs and preferences. You can also read reviews, ask for recommendations from friends or forums, or consult a financial advisor or a credit counselor before applying for a credit card.


In conclusion, credit cards can be a convenient and secure payment method for travelers to France, but they may also involve some fees, limits, and risks that require careful planning and management. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can make the most of your credit card while avoiding unnecessary expenses and troubles. Remember to always check the terms and conditions of your card, stay alert and cautious, and enjoy your trip to France!

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