Are you about to Travel to Germany and you’re asking yourself: How to pay in Germany? Can I use my cards in Germany? Which are the best way to shop in Germany? Here are the answers on how to pay in Germany…
You are all excited, packing your stuff, you take the plane to you German vacation you have been looking forward to for quite some time. Standing at the airport you take your first deep breath of fresh German air. Tired because of jet lag, you sit down at this nice cafe. shortly before you leave you realize that your credit card is not accepted in Germany, that you don’t have cash in a cafe that only accepts cash
A frightening scenario, especially if you were relying on this one payment method. To prevent this I’ve set up a quick guide on How to pay in Germany. I’ll tell you which payment methods you can rely on, and where you should be cautious.
Paying with foreign cards isn’t such a problem. Generally speaking, Visa, Master, and Maestro cards as well as V-Pay are accepted in Germany. Now you have to distinguish where
Here are the commonly used payment methods in order of acceptance:
- EC/Maestro Card
- Visa/Master Card
- All other new fancy payments (e.g. Apple Pay)
Getting money at the ATM
Now let’s go through it in a more detailed fashion:
|This is the way to go if you want to pay in Germany. For Germans Cash is King. Once arrived in Germany you will quickly notice how many places only accept cash payments. If you want to pay with cash first convert your money into Euro. It’s strongly advisable to always have cash on you as many places don’t accept card payments.
Note: Hardly any store besides chains and electronics will accept card payments don’t be surprised if even some restaurants don’t accept cards. Germans strongly hold to their cash money and are very reluctant and careful when using their card, if they own one.
Sometimes you might see the following:
It means that you have to purchase goods with a total value of more than 10€ this sign will mostly appear on smaller or midsized stores or even restaurants.
So keep in mind: Cash is king. You should always be able to do the payment in cash you planned to pay by card.
The Girocard is the German debit card system. As the Girocard is only for German bank accounts there is the Maestro system which is international. Usually any Girocard also has a Maestro function therefore they are often used interchangeably. Any where can pay by card you can be assured both systems will pass as those are the most common cards in Germany. Don’t get confused if the store only accepts EC-Cards. Giro and Marstro Cards are still commonly known under the old name ,,EC-Card”.
“V-Pay” is an other rising system for debit cards, but it’s still far from the EC/Maestro acceptance.
Conclusion: If you want to have additional option to paying in cash this is the way to go.
3. Credit card
Here is where it gets tricky. Credit cards for everyday purchases are still a far cry form Debit Cards let alone cash. Many places that accept debit cards do not accept credit card. Only bigger chains will accept them. Although this too is slowly changing I wouldn’t advise anybody to rely on credit cards. As Visa and Master Cards are the most popular every place accepting credit cards will take both of them. For any other Cards (e.g. Amex) you will have issues finding any place accepting them. Same for ATMs: all accept Visa and Master cards fewer accept Amex,… Make sure to check ATM disposability on your bank’s ATM finder beforehand.
4. All new fancy, tech phone payment Methods
I personally haven’t seen any of it yet. So no ApplePay, GoogleWallet, Square,… Germans can be pretty reluctant in regard of such kind of new technologies. It will raise many questions about IT security and data protection two topics Germans are very sensible about. So I’d say such technologies will pioneer in about a year or two, but I think it will take many years before it’s eventually established.
- Cash is king
- Never rely on your cards to pay in Germany (especially not credit cards)
- Always know your PIN. You might have to use it more often than in your Country of origin
- Don’t be surprised if you get feed for paying with Debit and especially credit cards
So just use cash 🙂