Best credit card to use in Spain?

Reply

Apr 30th, 2012, 03:42 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1
Best credit card to use in Spain?

I am traveling to Spain & Ibiza this summer and was wondering which credit card was the best to use while there? or is it better to use Euros?
Lilo_EA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 30th, 2012, 04:03 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,038
Capital One Visa Venture card - no foreign currency transaction fees.
Bedar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 30th, 2012, 04:09 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,522
Any of the major cards are just fine and most places I used cards in Spain this last month(April,2012) asked on the receipt if I wanted Euros or US$. I took Euros because as a Canadian this meant only one money change instead of two. Also I found that the bank, BBV?,(sorry) doesn't charge a fee to use their ATM.My bank in Canada does charge 5$, but this saves an additional charge. You should have a chip and a 4 digit pin#. Have a great time in the hot climate. Hopefully the rain in Spain will stop by the time you go. 3 1/2 weeks and sun only 4 days!!!UGH!!!. But I loved the area..central spain..and would go again in a heart beat.
amer_can is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 30th, 2012, 04:55 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,877
Visa and Master Card are most widely accepted. Naturally getting one from a bank with the lowest charges is the best idea. AmEx is not accepted in a number of less expensive places.

I think CC when possible is much better - why would you want to carry around all that cash?
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 30th, 2012, 07:13 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Few North American banks offer a credit card with a chip and pin, which is not actually an issue.

As noted, having a Visa or MC with the lowest charges is best, which means that you should look for one that charges no foreign transaction fee, no yearly fee, and low interest rates. The Harvard Card MC, which I believe is no longer available to the general public, has been one of the best.
Robert2533 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 30th, 2012, 08:09 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,713
You want to use a credit card with low(est) charge with charges made in EURO (not US dollar or whatever is your home currency, if you don't want to pay yet another 3%+ charge). Last month, every single place I used my US credit card in Spain asked me whether I wanted the charge in Euro or in Dollar (the dynamic currency conversion!). They either selected the Euro when I told them or asked me to push the Euro button on handheld machines.

Whether it is better to Euro (cash) depends on what is being offered. Low end places don't take credit cards. I use cash if I want anonymity, or there is a chance of unknowingly entering into an annuity type of service arrangement.
greg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 30th, 2012, 11:16 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,628
Information on this website:
http://www.fodors.com/news/story_542...f=twt_fd_5428#
ribeirasacra is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 01:43 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
One correction for the above. Canada has entered the 21st century and its mc and visa cards all have chip and pin from what I understand. It's the Americans who cling to the 20th century magnetic strip although some of the banks issue some of their most expensive cards (those with annual fees) with a chip but they use chip and signature which might not work at automatied kiosks although I don't know how prevalant they are in Spain.

For the most part, the antiquated American credit cards will work in Spain so not to worry on that score. One thing I did find in my last visit to Spain about 5 years ago, is they always ask for identification when using a credit card (probably don't with chip and pin which wasn't all that common back then) and while mc/visa regulatins in the USA permit a merchant to ask for identification, they specifically say a merchant cdannot refuse to process a credit card charge for failure to show identification (and I've had several hassles bout this and cary around the quote from the mc and visa regs regarding this and have reported several merchants for this. Also understand while the odds are small, giving a merchant any information not required such as a driver's license number found on a driver's license can open you up to identity theft...and thoswe who write on the signature panel on a credit card see ID have invaldiated their cards but that's for another place). Unfortunately as I understand it, these protections do not exist in merchant agreements in other countries outside the USA. And consistantly I was asked for my passport, not just my driver's license when I trried to use a credit card in Spain and quite frankly I don't like to carry my passport especially in a place like Madrid or Barcelona where petty crimes are through the roof (sorry guys, but that's what the statistics show).
xyz123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 02:22 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,533
It is statutory law in Spain that merchants are required to check ID for purchases above a certain amount. I think someone from Spain explained that it's part of a law against money laundering.
I think this obligation is waived for transactions made with P&C cards as I can't remember that I had to show ID when I made purchases last year. But I may err here.

ID means government issued ID, though some reported that they got by with showing just their drivers license. You did not, and that again was in full compliance with the law as a US drivers license is not a government issued piece of identification (you got it from your state, not some federal authority). Legally it has the same status (abroad) as your library card or bus pass.

The Spanish law obviously supersedes and terms & conditions that MC or Visa have.

So what you found in Spain were not merchants trying to play foul with you but on the contrary they were complying to the law to the fullest extent.

As anybody in continental Europe including the Spaniards is normally carrying his or her ID card (not passport) in their wallets as this is also good for crossing borders in the EEA and a bit beyond, it's obviously not an issue for 95% of the customers.

If you don't like that, the other option would be to withdraw cash with your debit/ATM card when you wish to make purchases.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 02:37 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
cowboy...I was just passing along information. I was not editorializing or criticizing one way or the other. I do understand that different regs apply to financial transactions in different places and accept that.

I might quibble, a driver's license is a government issued id and I now have a chip and pin credit card issued by Andrews FCU although I haven't used it yet but will this summer (only at any place that doesn't take the swipe card which has no foreign transaction fee; Andrews charges th 1% visa fee, my other credit card eats it.
xyz123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 03:24 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,363
You will need some euros for taxis, etc., but for the most part we used our chip Visa card which offers max points for travel/dining charges.

We just spent 3 weeks in Spain and had sunshine every day except the second day in Barcelona-- it's a big country so the weather will vary. It was cooler than we expected however.
aliced is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 05:08 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,309
With the new pin cards you dont have to show ID, though they still request it out of custom. Anyway, why not carry show your passport?
josele is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 05:36 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
I prefer to have my passport locked up safely in the safe in my hotel than to chance pickpockets or whatever, even in places considered "sae" such as London. As I said, from reputation neither Barcelona or Madrid are considered safe, at least from "petty" crimes such as pickpocketing etc.
xyz123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 05:39 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,522
As of last week (Apr 26th,2012), the end of a 3 and 1/2 week Spain trip,I was asked every credit card transaction for my passport except at the hotel which already had my ID. ATMs do not require it but everywhere else including grocery stores and Madrid's Royal Palacio did. I have a chip and 4 digit password and had no troubles at all except once when Chase BA card was declined then out came Visa and away we went. BA card worked else where. It seems strange when all the suggestions/cautions that are mentioned are questioned. Why take any chances..get the proper docs,cards, papers etc and have a woory free great time.
amer_can is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 06:38 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,713
Advices are often given in this forum to lock up passports in the safe and carry only copies. At least in Spain, last month, every place that asked for an id asked for a real passport. I was told in no uncertain term that a copy was no good.
greg is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 07:11 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,533
xyz.. it was just meant as clarification.
Your posting read as if you suspected something "fishy" going on in Spain. Or as if the merchants very trying to snoop information illegaly. None of that is the case.

In continental Europe, an official proof of identification is either a passport or a national identity card.
Elsewhere, where no registration and national ID requirements exist, like in the UK or US, some other documents take that role. But that is irrelevant elsewhere.
I know that a passport is somewhat larger in size and may not be as easily carried as a CC sized ID card, but since you have no ID cards you can't do anything to get around this slight inconvenience.

As josele tried to explain, carrying and showing ID is so much a ordinary, everyday routine on the Continent like carrying a debit or credit card that no one even thinks about it. Everyone in Spain carries his or her DNI without thinking about it as any other Continental European carries his or her national ID card without thinking about it.
Probably like any American will carry his drivers license in his wallet without getting a nervous breakdown when taking the subway in New York or strolling through San Francisco.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 09:01 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Passports can always be replaced, but it's such a pain. I carry a small shoulder bag, a "man bag" as it's now tagged in the world of men's fashions. Very convienient and holds everything I need when out and about, including our passports.

You can leave the passport in your room safe, but as already noted, you'll need to show it to make certain purchases, including buying a sim card or mobile phone/data service, but I've never been asked to show a passport, or any other photo ID, when paying the bill using a credit card at a restaurant.

One thing interesting is that I've never had to show my passport, or other photo ID, for any purchase in Paris, only when checking into the hotel.
Robert2533 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 09:33 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,150
A driver's license is a govt-issued ID, and has a photo. It has been accepted when I've used it in Spain and France at stores, etc., but I often have my passport, anyway.
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 10:28 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,309
I believe it is mandatory in Spain to identify holder of credit cards. Some relative of mine had her VISA stolen and used, and every penny was returned.
A driver license may look unfamiliar to many shop owners. A passport indeed looks like the real thing. You can get some belt pouch, or the other with a neck strap. Putting anything in your back pocket is very unwise, as it is leaving your hand bag unattended.
josele is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2012, 12:55 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
(Other than at hotel check in) I've never been asked to show my passport to make a credit card purchase with the exception of purchasing a micro-sim card for my ipad. I'm rarely even asked to show ID when making a credit card purchase - but my purchases are generally relating to restaurants and smaller shopping purchases. When I have been asked for ID on the rare occasion I've used my drivers license with no issue. I normally keep my passport locked up in my hotel room safe and only carry a copy with me.

But back to the OP's original question, I use Capital One for my credit card as they don't charge the foreign transaction fees and have no annual fee. They have also been wonderful as far as customer service whenever I've had billing disputes.
CathyM is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:12 PM.