Using Starling in France 🇫🇷


Spent a couple of weeks in France using my Starling card (as Lloyds charge £1.50 + 3% for my debit card), and the only issues I had were:

  • Carrefour automated petrol station reserved ~€130, changed to the correct amount in a couple of days
  • A Starbucks machine in a Shell petrol station rejected a contactless payment for €2.40, although nothing showed in my feed. I tried my Monzo card, which also failed but that shows a (still) pending transaction and re-credited 6 days later as “Sa Soc Invest Ge Parc Sar Fra”

No issues anywhere else. I counted 26 transactions, so reckon I’ve saved about £60 against Lloyds!

Card doesn’t work on French motorways
Card doesn’t work on French motorways

I’ll be going to France next week with my Starling and will try it out. I expect it’ll be fine except in certain cases like toll roads.


I’ve got an ATMB tag, so didn’t even stop at most of them never mind get my card out!


Just got through a Sanef “péage” (toll road), Starling worked just fine. :+1:t2::tada: Will report as I go through the other tolls.


I may be wide off the mark here but I seem to recall seeing elsewhere on forum that Starling cards will work offline if required, hence toll booths should be fine. This is unlike Monzo, revolut et al which are prepaid cards and need 100% online auth so hence get rejected.

Happy to be corrected though!


Be good to clarify that.


I have been using my card in France for the last two weeks with no problems at all (including toll roads)


Good to know. Last time I was abroad, I had a Monzo card…but now…:smile:


et moi aussi!!!


Parfait ! (Apparently, that’s French too). :+1:


Likewise Graham, haven’t been abroad since getting my Starling account - first trip Mauritius… near enough to France!!


Looking forward to that account :flight_departure:


I have been using my Starling account in Turkey for the last 8 days, lots of use in Shops, restaurants and an ATM withdrawal. Pleased to say no problems at all. I love my Starling account


Just used card in Paris and Disneyland and saved a fortune compared to using card with fees.
Only issue I had was contactless worked in Disneyland but card wasn’t recognised when I used chip and pin. In Paris chip and pin worked okay.
Also worked fine when paying for car hire.


Starling was fine for me in Paris when I used my PIN, BUT the contactless refused to work for vending machines, ticket machines etc. Contacted customer service but didn’t get anywhere - I got generic responses which didn’t address the problem. I must admit, it’s put me off Starling a bit - if I can’t guarantee my card will work abroad seamlessly (like my Halifax Clarity does, for example) it makes me question whether I can rely on it.


I have found issues with contactless on machines over here. For example, only one of my credit cards work contactlessly on the M6 Toll booths (my Tesco credit card does but my Barclaycard doesn’t). And my Starling debit card also doesn’t work via contactless. All cards work when you insert them in the slot.

I suspect this is more to do with how the equipment is set up rather than the configuration of the cards themselves.


I have used my Starling Card on vending machines (contactless) at Lyon Airport without issue.


France have their own national bankcard scheme called “Carte Bancaire” in addition to Mastercard, Visa, etc. I understand many stores only use the French CB network for contactless payments (not Mastercard’s PayPass or Visa’s PayWave) which is fine if you have a local cards as they have the CB application on their chip in addition to MasterCard or Visa one but fails for many UK cards as they haven’t got the local CB.AID file.

Technically there’s nothing preventing them from accepting contactless both via CB and MasterCard/Visa (the POS would just select the proper AID file based on what the card supports).


Ah, interesting! Thanks


I’ve recently returned from a short road trip to Normandy and spent around €700 on my Starling debit card.

  • :white_check_mark: both contactless and chip and pin worked fine

  • :white_check_mark: all Sanef and Sapn toll-roads, and the A13 toll too

  • :white_check_mark: at all parking machines I used

  • :no_entry: NOT accepted on the A29 bridge crossing the Seine at Le Havre. The automatic booth rejected Starling in both directions (with “refusé”). Used my Barclaycard instead which worked fine, appearing as “Ponts Norm Tanc 4531590, 76le Havre Ce, France”.

Barclaycard Visa offered an exchange rate of €1.11 to £1 (plus their 2.75% FX fee), while Starling offered around €1.145 to £1 (no FX fee of course). Reckon I saved about £30 in fees using Starling.