Charge cards in Scandinavia

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Feb 4th, 2010, 08:12 PM
  #1
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Charge cards in Scandinavia

Reading a tour book: "for all restaurants in Denmark, there is a bank fee from 3% to 7% on charge cards if the card is not a Danish card"

By "charge cards" they mean credit cards, right?

Does it mean, in Denmark (and probably in Norway, too?) I'll be better off paying cash?

Or should I stop reading books
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Feb 4th, 2010, 09:41 PM
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I am interpreting the statement as a rephrasing of the current practices not restricted to Scandinavian countries.

3% is the sum of 1% from MC/Visa plus 2% from your own bank.

The 7% is what you probably get if you allow a dynamic currency conversion.
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Feb 5th, 2010, 05:56 AM
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I can't remember what the percentage was, if any, when I was there. I use a Captal One card for credit card purchases. I did use two debit cards while there, to get cash, both in Copenhagen and Stockholm. I used cash for most day to day things. I used my credit card a couple of times for a few larger purchases, like Christmas gifts for my neice.
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Feb 5th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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Sorry....ATM cards, NOT debit cards.
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Feb 5th, 2010, 07:19 AM
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I had a restaurant bill in Copenhagen that listed three separate totals from which to choose--cheapest for cash, slightly higher for a Denmark-based credit card, higher still for a non-Danish card. This was in 2005 and I don't recall the percentage differences, but that "pick your total" approach was memorable.
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Feb 5th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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I didn't run into any extra surcharges in Norway (beyond your card's normal internation fees).
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Feb 5th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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Some places in Denmark do charge a 2-3% surcharge for using a credit card, because of the extra costs involve to them. They pay a lot in commission to the cc companies, and if they don't have many payments with CCs it is even more expensive for them so they charge the commission to the customer. Most tourist places I would expect to not charge extra. If in doubt ask first.

The same is true in the Netherlands btw, but not usually in the sort of shops/restaurants most tourists would uses.

It is illegal under EU law for them to charge more for an EU credit card than for a Danish one, and I can't see them charging extra for a US one, over and above the commission charge.
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Feb 5th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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In the US it's illegal to charge more for using a credit card instead of cash. To get around it, some businesses give a discount when paying cash. Kayd, maybe this is what you saw on your bill?

Thank you, all, now I have to think, do I want more points on my credit card or come home debt-free
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Feb 5th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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No, it was straightforward "choose your price". I know VisaMC contracts with US merchants prohibit this (I don't think it is law, but the contract terms are enforceable), but it must be OK in Europe because I've seen Dutch hotels' websites clearly offering two different prices, cash or credit card. Just different practices home and abroad.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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I was reading some menus on-line, and they confirmed what I read in that tour book: at least some restaurants in Copenhagen charge more if the credit card is out-of-the-country.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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<<< In the US it's illegal to charge more for using a credit card instead of cash. >>>

In the UK it's totally legal.
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Mar 11th, 2010, 01:39 AM
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In Denmark, it is legal for merchants to pass on the commissions on foreign issued credit cards to the customer, but not on Danish issued cards. If doing so, the shop has to display this fact in the shop. Typically done in fine print on the CC terminal. The shop's fee must not exceed the fee they pay to the credit card company, usually around 3%, but it can vary. All supermarkets do this, gas stations do, some restaurants as well. Hotels, department stores and shops catering to tourists do in general not apply the fee.

>>>It is illegal under EU law for them to charge more for an EU credit card than for a Danish one

Denmark is not bound by these rules, these rules were made optional for countries outside the Eurozone. Denmark chose not to adopt them.
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Mar 11th, 2010, 01:46 AM
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I was reading some menus on-line, and they confirmed what I read in that tour book: at least some restaurants in Copenhagen charge more if the credit card is out-of-the-country.

This is absolutely, positively 100% correct. I have never seen a restaurant in Denmark that does not charge them. Even the local Thai place downstairs from me will charge these fees. Indeed, I was under the impression that it is a law that they must be charged. There is nothing you can do about it, other than paying in cash.

Taxis also all charge this surcharge.
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Mar 11th, 2010, 04:10 AM
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Ordinarily it is "advantageous" for a commercial entity to accept a credit card...why?

It supposedly increases traffic flow and revenue opportunities (think about people who would NOT shop or eat in an establishment which did NOT accept credit cards)

It removes risk in terms of collecting any money, i.e., if the credit card charge is approved then the issuer takes on the risk of actually collecting the funds and the entity supposedly is assured of getting its money (unless there is a successful challenge).

For these "services" the issuer charges the entity anywhere from 3 to 5% or more.

So, the business which passes on these charges to the customer technically is getting all these "advantages" without "paying" for them...
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Mar 11th, 2010, 05:14 AM
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Good to know. We are in Copenhagen on the 16th and 17th of August on a tour for our 50th. Our tour company includes dinner the first night, but not the second. While it's not a concern for 'one dinner', I can inform the others with us of the extra charge. Do the same charges apply when using the ATM? Thanks Richard
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Mar 11th, 2010, 06:54 AM
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Visa and Mastercard charge the vendor between 1 and 3%, not 3-5%.
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Mar 11th, 2010, 07:01 AM
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Do the same charges apply when using the ATM?

There is no charge from any of the Danish banks that I am aware of, but your own bank may charge a fee and/or give a less than optimal exchange rate when using the ATM.
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Mar 11th, 2010, 07:03 AM
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Paul1950: I would be interested in a source for that information. Care to supply one and thanks.

BTW, if any charge is passed on to the consumer then it is the same deal.
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Mar 11th, 2010, 08:28 AM
  #19
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Iris 1745, your bank, somewhere in the "locations" area, may have "international locations" - if there are any in the countries you visit, bring this ATM card. There is something about lower fees.

I think BofA is connected to some banks in France and Britain, and if I am not mistaken, Chase has affiliates in Copenhagen.

Anybody knows which banks have "sister banks" in Denmark and Norway?
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Mar 11th, 2010, 10:01 AM
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Thanks 'travelgourmet' and Dayenu; Our two ATM cards are with small local banks with only a minimal charge. I wondered if the banks in Denmark were charging from their end. On our trips, we just inform the banks of our whereabouts and usually do not have a problem drawing money. When we need a CC we will probably use our visa [Chase]. Less charge than our Starwood American Express.
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