SBB payment problem and availability of STP at AP

SBB payment problem and availability of STP at AP

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SwissPass
SwissPass
3 posts
new member
Aug 27, 2015 - 6:47 AM

(1) I live outside Switzerland and head for Zurich in a few days. I purchased Swiss Travel Pass (STP) online using Visa but the website wrote "Authorisation has been refused. Please contact your card issuer." However, I confirmed card issuer accepted the transaction and it is likely that SBB receives money but will not issue STP online. Card issuer says there is no way to cancel the transaction and I have to negotiate with SBB so I can get my STP issued before leaving the country (even though SBB website says authorization was refused.). Has anybody had such issue of payment with SBB website? If so, how did you deal with the issue? I had card issuer notify the authorization number of this transaction and sent an inquiry via SBB website.

(2) I may have to buy STP after arriving at Zurich Airport around 6PM. Is it possible to purchase STP at airport around that time? If not, how about Zurich HB? Is there website showing business hours of SBB ticket center at the airport or Zurich HB?

Kalimpong
Kalimpong
3 posts
new member
Aug 27, 2015 - 7:28 AM in reply to SwissPass

It has been my experience when trying to buy online from SBB that it is a complete nightmare. We tried buying reservations for the panoramic trains,as we already had a Swiss pass, (bought through an Australian website with no problem) I was online all day trying to figure out how to purchase the reservations. At the end of the day I had 2 debits on my credit card and 2 emails (after my emailing them to confirm the reservations) from SBB that in fact no such reservations had been made! My credit card provider immediately issued a disputed transaction form to me to use in the event that the transactions did not automatically disappear from card because if it says 'authorisation only' on your credit card then all it means is that the money has been set aside and the transaction has not yet been completed. Luckily in a couple of days the 'debit' did actually disappear from the credit card. In the end I simply rang Switzerland SBB to make the bookings on the phone and this process was quick and easy and they spoke excellent English. They will issue you with a booking numbers. When we arrived at Zurich train station I then gave them the booking numbers and paid by credit card. Hope this helps!

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 27, 2015 - 8:14 AM in reply to SwissPass

Hi SwissPass,

(1) I have heard of such problems before. In most cases it is actually caused by security measures of the card issuer. And in many of such cases they first deny there's a problem on their end. You have to get through to their security/fraud team to allow the transaction. But, I don't know whether that's the case here as well. The SBB webshop for Swiss Travel Passes is www.swissrailways.com. Did you buy it there or on the domestic site sbb.ch? They might use different payment providers. Problems can occur everywhere, but I have heard of it more frequently regarding foreign transactions on sbb.ch.

I see you live in Japan. The cheaper and probably easier option for you would have been to order through www.raileurope-japan.com/pass/swiss-pass or www.raileurope-world.com/pass/swiss-pass (all the retailers for your country are listed here). It might be too late for that now since you depart in a few days and they don't offer print at home passes. But you can check the first site; their shipping is pretty quick.

You can best contact the SBB and ask them to verify that your payment will not be accepted like the site said. If for any reason they will get the payment and not issue the pass, I am sure they will credit the amount back to you. It happened to me once as well, with a different retailer. They won't just keep your money.

(2) The ticket counter at the airport will just have opened when you arrive. You can get your pass there. They offer passes for the regular prices, not the lower ones of the other sites I mentioned.

Enjoy your trip!

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 27, 2015 - 8:19 AM in reply to Kalimpong

Hi Kalimpong,

Thank you for sharing your experiences here. In many cases seat reservations can be purchased along with your pass, in your case through www.raileurope.com.au, for example. You can also buy them separately: directly through the companies running the trains (which is not the SBB). Links are provided on each of our scenic train pages, under "Tickets".

SwissPass
SwissPass
3 posts
new member
Aug 28, 2015 - 3:53 PM

Based on your suggestion, I purchased the pass at www.swissrailways.com, which was far easier than the domestic site sbb.ch. The domestic site seems to use tight security to protect the card holder, which increases the possibility of rejection of transactions from abroad. This information should be widely shared among foreigners who plan to buy the pass online. Thank you very much.

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 28, 2015 - 7:55 PM in reply to SwissPass

Thanks for letting us know. I'm glad to hear it worked out for you. Enjoy your stay in Switzerland!

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