Money and Credit Cards



  • In small towns and small businesses cash is still king in Europe!
  • A common sense rule is to bring a mix of cash and credit or debit cards for the vacation; providing back-ups in case one funding source develops problems.
  • At least a significant portion of the cash should be in Euros because dollars can only be exchanged into Euros at banks or at a currency exchange; and because banks are sometimes reluctant to exchange large bills due to concerns about counterfeit currency.
  • AAA stores and American Express Travel Centers used to be good sources for foreign exchange.  However, they are becoming a dying breed in many parts of the U.S.
  • Customers using large banks (such as Citibank, Chase and Bank of America) should ask about the ability to order Euros ahead of time at their local branches.  Branches in large cities (such as New York) will likely offer foreign exchange services to their customers.

Credit Cards

  • Travelers should inform their credit card companies of their travel dates and plans ahead of time:  In this era of fraud prevention, credit card companies will quickly block usage of the card if they suspect international fraud.
  • They should also bring along the 1-800 number to contact the bank in the case of a problem.
  • Recent credit card fraud in the U.S. has focused the press on the better security of chip technology over magnetic strip technology.  However, few cards in the U.S. offer the superior technology.  The USAA World MasterCard is one credit card that offers chip technology.
  • As a general rule, U.S. credit cards with a magnetic strip should work in Europe.  However, there might be some stores or locations where that is not the case:  For example, the webmaster has experienced difficulties using magnetic strip only cards at gasoline pumps at certain supermarkets and service stations.

Bank Hours

Generally speaking:

  • Tuesday – Friday:  0900 – 1200 and 1400 – 1700 hours.
  • Saturday:  0900—1200 and 1400—1630 hours.
  • Banks are closed on Monday.

ATM Locations in the Sector

  • As the largest town in the region, Verdun offers a few banks with ATM machines.
  • The webmaster has also found and used ATM machines in Montfaucon, Dun and Clermont.
  • However, rural France is much like the rural United States:  ATMs are few and far between.

Basic French ATM Terms (From the book Savoir Flair!)

  • ATM:  Point Argent or distributeur
  • PIN Number:  code secret
  • Receipt:  reçu
  • There will be a green button to press to confirm (valider) a transaction.

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