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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I are about to travel to France to hopefully buy our French House.

We have an HSBC Premier account, with a Visa Premier debit card. It comes with additional car hire cover, and I had thought it would allow us to rent a car in France. Many of the car hire websites talk about Visa Premier being accepted, but listed under credit cards. We recently moved away from UK for work, and cancelled our UK credit cards and decided to do without as we hardly ever used them, now I am panicking that we won't be able to hire a car.

Does anyone have experience of using a Visa Premier debit card for car hire in France?
 

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My husband and I are about to travel to France to hopefully buy our French House.

We have an HSBC Premier account, with a Visa Premier debit card. It comes with additional car hire cover, and I had thought it would allow us to rent a car in France. Many of the car hire websites talk about Visa Premier being accepted, but listed under credit cards. We recently moved away from UK for work, and cancelled our UK credit cards and decided to do without as we hardly ever used them, now I am panicking that we won't be able to hire a car.

Does anyone have experience of using a Visa Premier debit card for car hire in France?
In my experience you cannot use a debit card to rent a car anywhere in the world - they have to have the ability to charge a credit card in the event of future unseen costs (like tickets, accidents).

First stop seems to be HSBC and get them to issue you a credit card, if it doesn't have car hire insurance don't worry, there is an excellent company:

Car Hire Insurance | Car Rental Excess Insurance

Also when renting your car try Auto Europe Discount Car Rentals, Airfare, and Hotels - you'll get much better rates than going to a car rental firm when you arrive.

Bon chance
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm confused - admittedly it's easy to do lol. But the Visa Premier is only available as a 'debit' card from HSBC France although it doesn't call the card a debit card on its site, just lists it as Visa Premier. And why have car hire cover for damage and theft and offer a discount with some car hire firms if you can't use it to hire a car?

I find the whole issue of French bank cards confusing, as there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a true credit card in the UK sense.

Anyway, I'll have to try emailing the car hire company and find out. I'm still at the learning stage with my french, don't think I could handle a telephone conversation.
 

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I'm confused - admittedly it's easy to do lol. But the Visa Premier is only available as a 'debit' card from HSBC France although it doesn't call the card a debit card on its site, just lists it as Visa Premier. And why have car hire cover for damage and theft and offer a discount with some car hire firms if you can't use it to hire a car?

I find the whole issue of French bank cards confusing, as there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a true credit card in the UK sense.

Anyway, I'll have to try emailing the car hire company and find out. I'm still at the learning stage with my french, don't think I could handle a telephone conversation.
I also find the bank cards confusing but one issue I did discover (at least with Soc Gen) was that they issue the card as a Visa and you elect to either pay immediately on the transaction (debit) or use it and pay monthly or longer (credit). It's the same card, you need to talk to HSBC about using it as a credit card. Or, resurrect one of your UK cards but that will get expensive with exchange rates etc.

Cheers
 

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If your card is issued by HSBC France, it should be marked as a CB (carte bleue). While, technically, a CB works like a debit card (i.e. they debit the money from your account either immediately or at the end of the month), there is no distinction made between debit and credit cards here in France. Officially the CB is a debit card, but works like a "credit card" when you are outside France.

As long as your card is marked either as a full fledged "Visa" card from outside France or a CB if it's issued by a French bank, you should be ok for renting a car - or anything else.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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If your card is issued by HSBC France, it should be marked as a CB (carte bleue). While, technically, a CB works like a debit card (i.e. they debit the money from your account either immediately or at the end of the month), there is no distinction made between debit and credit cards here in France. Officially the CB is a debit card, but works like a "credit card" when you are outside France.

As long as your card is marked either as a full fledged "Visa" card from outside France or a CB if it's issued by a French bank, you should be ok for renting a car - or anything else.
Cheers,
Bev
Bev, your experience is greater than mine but my Visa from Soc Gen is marked CB and I have an account "Carte Bleu" with that number. It is however only a debit card and all transactions are immediately deducted from the bank account, even those overseas via on-line or other transactions. I am told the reason is we choose to use it as a debit card not a credit card, credit card is an option though at extra cost.

Cheers
 

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Bev, your experience is greater than mine but my Visa from Soc Gen is marked CB and I have an account "Carte Bleu" with that number. It is however only a debit card and all transactions are immediately deducted from the bank account, even those overseas via on-line or other transactions. I am told the reason is we choose to use it as a debit card not a credit card, credit card is an option though at extra cost.

Cheers
That's the French bankers' understanding of debit-credit cards. There is no such thing as a "credit card" in the US (or UK) sense here. All bank cards deduct funds directly from your account - either as soon as they receive the charge or all together at the end of the month (if, as your banker says, you pay extra for the "deferré" (deferred) option. But by "deferred" they only mean to the end of the month, or (at best) perhaps to the 10th of the following month.

You don't ever have the option to pay part now, part next month or later with a check or whenever you feel like it, like you do in the US. Even an American Express card here has to be associated with a specific checking account and the amount of your purchases will be taken directly from your account once a month.

But you can, indeed, rent a car with a Carte Bleue - whether you have the immediate debit or the deferred debit option.

Hey, the French banks used to be MUCH worse. When I wanted to change banks, I had to pay a 20€ fee to close my old account. That was dropped a few years ago.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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