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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I would like to buy a new dress for my civil ceremony coming up on July 8th, and was wondering about online shopping. When I tried to buy a mattress online from a couple of French stores (But and somewhere else)neither my credit card nor my debit card were accepted, even though I had notified both my credit card company and my U.S. bank that I would be making purchases in France and I have plenty of money in my account.

I wanted to avoid this problem when buying a dress, so I thought I'd look into American department stores online. Just wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations on American department stores that will ship to France or that have a store in France.

It's not the end of the world if I don't get a new dress--I just thought I might be able to find something online in the time I have left. I thought it'd be really easy to buy clothes and furniture online here, but it's turning out to be kind of a hassle. ?
 

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The French "bank cards" work differently from US "credit cards" - so that may be the source of your problem. However, it you're looking to buy something online, start with Amazon.fr. They seem to take just about any sort of credit card and if you have an account with them in the US, all your information carries over to the French site. They actually carry a number of standard US brands, which can make the whole size question a bit easier.

American department stores can be fussy about shipping overseas - or, in some cases they will direct you to a service for shipment (like myus.com). In any case, shipping from the US to France gets expensive and these days even the shops that ship directly go with the "express delivery" services, so figure a minimum of $25 to 35 for just the shipment, plus 20% VAT on the combined total of your purchase plus shipment costs.

Plus, I've had some hassles using my US credit card from here in France - apparently because they don't seem to "like" the foreign billing address or they insist on billing the purchase in euros (which adds the bank exchange and foreign transaction fee) even though my card is US issued and will be paid from my US bank account.

But for clothes, I wouldn't think you should have too much hassle using a US card here in France. That's one of the main things all the tourists seem to buy over here. Especially in Paris! Try Galleries Lafayette or Bon Marché or Printemps. But if all else fails, there's always amazon.fr
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Agree with Bev. Why not get a French credit card? My wife has NO problem spending a lot of money on internet shopping with a Fr credit card.

I've found internet deliveries from the US can be very variable.....sometimes next day (yes really!), sometimes weeks.

If you think if's difficult with a US card in France, try deep Texas for using non US cards!

DejW

The French "bank cards" work differently from US "credit cards" - so that may be the source of your problem. However, it you're looking to buy something online, start with Amazon.fr. They seem to take just about any sort of credit card and if you have an account with them in the US, all your information carries over to the French site. They actually carry a number of standard US brands, which can make the whole size question a bit easier.

American department stores can be fussy about shipping overseas - or, in some cases they will direct you to a service for shipment (like myus.com). In any case, shipping from the US to France gets expensive and these days even the shops that ship directly go with the "express delivery" services, so figure a minimum of $25 to 35 for just the shipment, plus 20% VAT on the combined total of your purchase plus shipment costs.

Plus, I've had some hassles using my US credit card from here in France - apparently because they don't seem to "like" the foreign billing address or they insist on billing the purchase in euros (which adds the bank exchange and foreign transaction fee) even though my card is US issued and will be paid from my US bank account.

But for clothes, I wouldn't think you should have too much hassle using a US card here in France. That's one of the main things all the tourists seem to buy over here. Especially in Paris! Try Galleries Lafayette or Bon Marché or Printemps. But if all else fails, there's always amazon.fr
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info. I wanted to wait to get the French debit card and/or credit card until I have been officially granted my spouse visa. I'll be going back to the U.S. right after getting married in order to apply for my spouse visa. Thought I could just wait until then to become established with a French bank, but maybe I should try to do it now. Anyway, thanks very much for the shopping info!
 

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Don't be in too big a hurry to get set up with a bank account and bank card here. There are "considerations" to that as well and it will go somewhat easier once you have your spouse visa/carte de séjour. (Google FATCA for more than you want to know on that score.)

And do hang onto your US bank account and credit card. (A US debit card is usually not terribly useful here in Europe. I know my US bank can't or won't send a new debit card to an address outside the US, so they "hold" it for me to come pick up in the US.) Change your address with your bank and credit card - after you move to France, so they can't give you any guff about the foreign address - and you'll find it comes in handy at times, even for online shopping and especially when you're back "visiting."
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Do you have a paypal account? There are lots of french online stores that accept paypal now (not all of course, but almost all that I shop from do).
 

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As long as you are not going to a small independent shop, your US debit card should work fine. Try the big stores. I have used my debit card many, many times over the last few years with only one store it didn't work in - a small store in a small town.

Karen
 

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My US credit card, a PenFed Visa, is accepted anywhere in France I have ever attempted to use it. However, it is rejected with great regularity for on line purchases.

The Paypal idea, mentioned above, can be a workable solution. You should also make sure that you have registered your cards with either Verified by Visa or SecureCode for those using Mastercard.

After a recent conversation with Visa USA in reference to their Verified by Visa program, I was told that the program was discontinued and replaced with something else called Visa Checkout. However, I have found that Visa has neglected to inform their French merchants of this fact and that the French on line merchants still use Verified by Visa.
 

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HI,

I am have just joined this site. I am from the UK and I also had problems with my cards being rejected. I found out that the problem was with my address in France not matching the address they had on their file. It may be your case or not. Have you tried contacting your US bank to find out why the transaction was declined in France? Does your card have any symbols like visa or MasterCard on them?

Andy
 

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I've only had problems with toll stations along the French highways, for whatever reason my American cards are usually rejected.
Either you don't have the "right" kind of chip or there is some other type of difference in the US cards. The toll road credit card readers don't require you to enter your PIN (to keep traffic moving, I suspect) so even minor differences in the cards may rule out the use of a US card. The other factor is that the toll roads often don't take American Express cards any more. (I think the fees charged to the "merchant" were too high.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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