Hi Ta Haresh -
<<"When I told them that I wasted a whole day in Paris because their
website is dodgy, they asked me if I am from USA. So they hear this
always from US customers and I saw some Americans complain too in
<<"They indeed have issues with foreign credit cards that don't have all the latest security measures (so I've heard, ">>
Those comments bring to mind something that I read a couple of years ago. In Europe a few years ago, the banks put in place a credit card security system called "Chip and PIN."
There was a warning not to get caught on an autoroute in Europe...France in particular, I recall - which collected tolls only by credit card, without a Chip and Pin card. You could cause a great deal of consternation at a toll booth on a busy highway. ;-(
With "Chip and Pin" , there is a computer chip embedded in the credit card. For various reasons, the US Banks have not been willing to invest in "Chip and PIN" so that a card without a "Chip and Pin" capability may not work in Europe. (Some of the larger US banks with substantial international business have made "Chip and Pin" cards available for a fee.) About that time , clerks in Switzerland sometimes helped me with one of my cards. The aim of "Chip and Pin " is that no signature is needed, as well as some other electronic security features. .
In the past year or two, the US has gone to "Chip and Sign. " The chip works, but, you still have to sign. I have used those in Switzerland routinely.
But, if your card is an older one from the USA ( and maybe also your newer card from Australia?) it does not have a "Chip." I wonder if you got caught by that technology shift? The websites were not dodgy, since they work for a lot of other people. Possibly, your card did not match modern "Chip and Pin " standards.
By the way, over many years, I have found that Swiss service personnel, especially those in the train stations, have been extremely helpful, very friendly, and worked hard to help me. That is why I said "Talk to a real person."
The Swiss figured out a long time ago that tourism is a major source of income for the country. Consequently, with typically Swiss common sense, the population has chosen to support tourists as general practice. I've been traveling in Switzerland since 1980, and I have been treated well and courteously at all times. If there was an exception, I can't remember it.
By the way, when I travel abroad, I always start with a couple of hundred USD in the currency of my first country, and always have at least two , typically three, kinds of credit cards. I have one card that can use a PIN, which is never asked for in the USA by the credit card terminal. Once in a while in Switzerland, it asks for the PIN. I have forgotten it, so I just use another card.
You have met that need with Euros, which are widely accepted inmajor tourist destinations in Switzerland. But, you get your change in CHF. And, in the countryside, Euros are not so easy to use.
Have great time in Zermatt!
Check the first paragraph in this Rick Steve's article:
<<"Don't worry. While I've been inconvenienced a few times by self-service
payment machines that wouldn't accept my old-style, magnetic-stripe
card, it's never caused me any serious trouble. Any American card will
work at hotels, restaurants, and shops as long as there's a cashier.">>