Germany.... use cards or travellers' cheques?.....

(14 Posts)
noramum Sun 05-May-13 20:05:45

Banjo: rural Bavaria - forget it. My hometown: 70K inhabitants, hit and miss. Hamburg - much easier

It really depends where you are.

specialsubject Sun 05-May-13 18:00:05

contact your bank who will tell you the charges - both percentage and fixed fee. Some banks are part of alliances with other banks abroad which might mean you don't have to pay the fixed fee.

your bank and credit card company also need to know the dates of your trip so they don't stop the cards due to an unusual usage pattern. Some online banking sites allow you to tell them this.

never use the credit card to withdraw cash (only to pay for things) and if you get offered the choice of paying in Euros or sterling on a card, choose Euros. The exchange rate on the other option is loaded.

olivia41 Sun 05-May-13 16:03:55

Many thanks for all your helpful replies. Very much appreciated. I am obviously out of touch!! smile

Laquila Sun 05-May-13 16:03:47

Might be a long shot but if you have a Nationwide account, their credit card is pretty much the best way to pay for anything in Europe (no fees). Most debit cards will charge you a fee to withdraw cash (generally a percentage) and generally also a fee to pay over the counter, which is why the Nationwide credit card is great.

Outside the larger cities acceptance of visa/mastercard is always hit and miss. Chain shops and supermarkets are OK, but a lot of restaurants and cafés seems to accept only cash.

BanjoPlayingTiger Sun 05-May-13 15:57:07

I have found, having been there on holiday for the last 2 summers, that generally it was cheaper to pay on a card than to withdraw money from an ATM. We never had a problem paying with Visa - everywhere you would expect seemed to take it. We were generally in larger cities though.

noramum Sun 05-May-13 15:53:37

I am German, Worked in German retail Banking and am frequently there due to work and holidays.

Forget cheques, they were outdated when I left Germany over 10 years ago.

Unless you are in large cities with big chains take cash. In Germany they have their own card system to pay which doesn't accept MasterCard or Visa. So I always spent large sums of cash when I am there.

olivia41 Sun 05-May-13 15:47:49

Great, thanks - am going to Berlin/Dresden/Munich! I would imagine any German system is going to be pretty efficient!! smile

jazzcat28 Sun 05-May-13 15:42:02

No probs smile If you are going to a large-ish town there should be a bank called a Sparkasse which you can use for trusted ATMs

olivia41 Sun 05-May-13 15:38:11

Thanks for link - perfect!

olivia41 Sun 05-May-13 15:37:32

Thanks, jazzcat, some great advice there - especially as you've actually lived in Germany! Am really looking forward to going out there - just want to be clear on this before we go! Thanks again. smile

jazzcat28 Sun 05-May-13 15:35:17

Link fail!

Try again here

jazzcat28 Sun 05-May-13 15:34:53

I lived in Germany in 2005/6. Don't take cheques. Take Euros in cash. Take cash out of ATMs using your UK debit card. Check with your bank for specific charges, but taking out say 150EUR in one go from the ATM is cheaper than paying for things in shops on your card.

If you'd prefer the security of a card , try loading up a travel money card from the Post Office [[http://www.postoffice.co.uk/travel-money-card here]. It's a mastercard and allows you to use it like a debit card.

Guess it depends on how much you want to spend.

olivia41 Sun 05-May-13 15:27:23

Could anyone advise on best method for using money in Germany.... it's been so long since I've been abroad! Someone I know said no-one takes TCs anymore, but to take my debit card and some currency..... but am worried about not knowing how much I'll be charged for taking out money from an ATM abroad, etc... can anyone help me with best way to do this? Thanks!

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