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I have an international credit card that has a foreign zip code with letters in it. A vendor is complaining that he cannot enter letters into the machine. I think he just may be unfamiliar with how to use the machine.

How can I work through this problem over the phone?

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    That sounds like a software issue, perhaps the interface does not allow anything but decimal characters. – Pete B. Jun 27 '18 at 16:54
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    @PeteB.I am looking for somebody who has used typical merchant credit machines before and knows how they work so I can walk the guy through it. – Five Bagger Jun 27 '18 at 17:02
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    Something which apparently works for Canadians (with alphanumeric postal codes) paying for fuel in the USA (where the gas pump wants a 5-digit zip code), is to just enter the numbers from their postal code, followed by 0's. So a Canadian postal code of "A2B 3C4" would be entered as "23400". – brhans Jun 27 '18 at 18:05
  • I recall hearing about putting in 99999, perhaps look into that. – Kevin Jun 27 '18 at 18:15
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    A vendor and the machine. Can you be more specific, at least mention the country this is in? – user71981 Jun 28 '18 at 14:05
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You did not specify a country, but it sounds like typical US.
For international credit cards, ZIP Code checking really does not work. You can typically enter five 0s or five 9s, and sometimes whatever you feel like. The interface doesn't understand the problem, so it doesn't allow you to skip, but the software behind does.

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  • Not just the US. I have a UK bank account and visa debit card that I keep around for the once every other year or so that I travel to the UK, and for buying Christmas gifts online for my nephews and nieces. Every year I get the "Verified by Visa" pop-up that demands I put in a UK post code. Banks seem perfectly happy to keep money for people who live overseas, but make it difficult for them to get at it. I wonder why? – Rupert Morrish Jun 27 '18 at 20:37
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To expand on a comment by brhans

Something which apparently works for Canadians (with alphanumeric postal codes) paying for fuel in the USA (where the gas pump wants a 5-digit zip code), is to just enter the numbers from their postal code, followed by 0's. So a Canadian postal code of "A2B 3C4" would be entered as "23400".

I can personally attest that in 2014, while living in the UK at a place with postcode* AB16 2YZ, while visiting the US I was able to get an automated gas pump to accept 16200 as the zipcode for my credit card.

Another thing I have heard anecdotally is that for non-US cards the zipcode isn't actually checked, so just use 90210 (or whatever favourite zipcode you know)

* (not actually those letters)

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  • Did you try other codes before entering 16200 at the gas pump? I wonder if 90210 would have worked there too. – TTT Jun 28 '18 at 22:04
  • On that particular trip I always tried 16200 and if it didn't work I went in and prepaid manually – AakashM Jun 29 '18 at 8:31

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