Amsterdam Credit Cards

May 30th, 2014, 04:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 81
Amsterdam Credit Cards

We will be in Amsterdam in a week and a half. I am reading posts online that say many restaurants and stores in Amsterdam do not take credit cards and require cash. What are your experiences with this? The B & B we are staying in requires cash as payment. We have found that the ATM's in Europe only access one of our bank accounts so we will want to be sure we have extra cash in that account to withdraw if this is true. We have travelled fairly extensively in Europe and not run across this before.
CanadianJane is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 04:42 AM
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It's true that many B&Bs take only cash.

As for other businesses - generally you can use credit cards for any sizable charges - but for anything less than $25 or so plan on using cash. (We never found CCs an issue in Amsterdam - but we don;t stay in B&Bs.)

The problem is not the ATMs in europe - it's that your financial institution probably doesn't belong to one of the major ATM networks (perhaps it's not a bank but a credit union).
nytraveler is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 04:56 AM
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I'm trying to remember if the ATM's I have used in A-dam gave me the choice of accessing either my checking or my savings account as my "home" ATM does here. I don't quite understand NYT's comment about not being a member since I am not sure how your ATM card would work in a network machine without there being some sort of connection.

Anyway, I would simply make sure I had enough money in the main (I assume checking) account AND I would check with my home bank to know exactly what the withdrawal limit is (mine, for example is around $700 per day) and if it doesn't sound like enough ask the home bank to raise it.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 04:57 AM
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Your name suggests you are dealing with a Canadian bank, so you will benefit by reading the fine print of your credit and ATM card agreements. You could be paying up to $5 transaction fee every time you use the cards, or perhaps 2 per cent. These are beyond what you lose on the exchange rate. So, to echo nytraveler, it is more economical to withdraw a large amount of cash at one time from an ATM and avoid using plastic for small purchases (just like the old days.)
Generally in Europe you can withdraw only from a chequing account with a four-digit PIN. It is more secure to have cards for two separate accounts at separate financial institutions. And never carry all the cards in the same place.
Southam is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 05:40 AM
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When we were in Amsterdam last year we had no difficulty using our Credit cards at restaurants, museums or shops. We did find that grocery stores wanted cash so we planned accordingly. For small purchases or at flea markets we used cash.
lateinlifetraveler is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 05:48 AM
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We were there about 10 days ago and the main problem was American credit cards without chips. Some places had a credit card machines that accommodated them, others not. Additionally there were a number of places that only took cash.

We used more cash than we normally do when traveling in Europe.
IMDonehere is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 05:48 AM
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>>> We have found that the ATM's in Europe only access one of our bank accounts<<<

I wouldn't go to Europe with only 1 functioning debit card... find out why the other doesn't work and if need be open a new account that will work.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 06:32 AM
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IDone makes an excellent point. Increasingly places have machines which can only accept a chip card.
Supermarkets and small shops never accept credit cards, though your debit card could possibly work, if it has a chip.
Make sure you can take out cash at an ATM, and take out as large a sum as you feel you will need, to save on charges. You will probably only be able to access the main account for the card, not the savings account.
hetismij2 is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 06:36 AM
Original Poster
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Thank you for all your replies. Our bank is one of the big Canadian ones and we have not experienced problems accessing it when we travel. We are just used to using credit cards as a convenience.

Thanks for the tips about the smaller venues and smaller purchases requiring cash. This is something we'd expect and have experienced in other European countries.

I think in retrospect that the comment about the chip cards is likely one of the reasons some travellers have trouble. Canadian credit cards have had chips for a long time and we have had no problem using them when we travel.
CanadianJane is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Holland (as well as Germany and Belgium as examples) still lives in a world where cash is king. That's unfortunately the way it is and is sort of part of the culture. Most places that cater to tourists will take cards such as hotels, more or less slightly upscale restaurants, museums.

Note although it doesn't affect the op as she is Canadian. The Dutch National Railroad will not take chipless cards wither in its machines or at the ticket windows period. They will take a chip and pin card at some windows at Amsterdam Centraal station but that's it and I'm not sure if they take chip and signature cards. Using credit cards for smaller purchases, unlike Canada, the USA and the UK is pretty much out of the question.
xyz123 is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 11:33 AM
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Sorry -

I assumed the second account was with a second bank.

My understanding is that generally in europe you can only access your checking account - not savings. You need to transfer what you want into checking before you leave. Or try to find a secure way to do in while there.

(I know in the US many ATMs allow you to transfer between accounts - but I would only ever do that at one IN my bank - not a commercial one o one belonging to another bank.
nytraveler is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 01:11 PM
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Actually the Netherlands is pretty much a cashless society. We pay for everything either with a debit card (known as PIN), occasionally with a credit card and also with internet banking. We haven't had cheques for decades, and most people who live here carry little if any actual cash. I have about €3.50 in cash at the moment.

If your credit card has a chip, and a pin then it will be accepted anywhere that accepts credit card payment. You will see a sign on the door normally showing which cards are accepted. American Express is not widely accepted. Visa and MC are.
hetismij2 is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 01:43 PM
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You might also find out if your bank in Canada has any agreements with banks in Europe in terms of fees generated by using a particular bank's ATM. I know that Bank of America, just as one example, is a member of the Global ATM Alliance with various banks in Europe so I try whenever possible to use the corresponding bank's machines.
Dukey1 is offline  

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