Idiot question about Visa Card/Maestro

Old Oct 16th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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Idiot question about Visa Card/Maestro

Going to Germany for three weeks and planning to take my one and only credit card, which is Visa (its a new chip card), with some cash in additiion.

Will my Visa card be okay to use? I've read that some places only take 'Maestro', don't know what this is.

Can someone help an idiot out please?
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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Not a dumb question at all. Maestro is just another brand marketed by Master Card - they are essentially interchangeable in that a place that takes one almost always takes the other. Know that doesn't help you with a Visa, but you can relax knowing that places that take Maestro/MC almost always take Visa, too. They are widely accepted.
BTW do not use your Visa for cash from ATM's or you will pay outlandish fees/rates of interest from the moment you withdraw. Much better to use your ATM / debit card - there may be fees, but they are lower.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for clarifying that one for me Seamus, I'll relax now.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 02:43 PM
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Maestro is a debit card system, not credit cards, that substituted our former Eurocheque cards. It does not equal Mastercard credit cards and the Maestro logo does not indicate that the place or the ATM, ticket machine or whatever accepts credit cards.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:03 PM
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I'm one of those folks who likes to arrive early...just in case...and I'd be nervous if I took only one card with no backup card.

Just saying....
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:03 PM
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Yup. When they don't take credit cards, they usually take Maestro. Havn't found a supermarket lately that didn't take Maestro, either sign or use your PIN.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:08 PM
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Yes, quokka, Maestro is a debit not credit card, but it is a brand of parent company MasterCard and they operate on the same network. I have never seen a merchant that accepted Maestro that did not accept MC, though surely there may be some. Likewise, I cannot recall ever seeing a place that accepted MC/Maestro that did not also accept Visa.

So, nz101, relax again. ;-)
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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> I have never seen a merchant that accepted Maestro that did not accept MC
Be assured, there are plenty! of them in Germany. I always ask for that reason. The simple reason, with Maestro the fees for the merchant are less.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:18 PM
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Thanks everyone, I'm going to chance it and just take my Visa, plus my standard ATM card for withdrawing extra cash if needed. I don't want to have to apply for a debit card or another type of credit card just to see me through this trip. I'll make sure I find out first whether a hotel or restaurant takes Visa.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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Germans pay cash! "Nur Bares ist Wahres", only cash is real. You use plastic to get cash from an ATM and you use that cash to pay for everything.
That's how it works with Germans.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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You should get a money purse for all those coins like every German has. At the checkout, you count your pennies and give them the exact amount.
You gain peoples respect and even might even be mistaken for a German. ;-).
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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Your taking chance is with the merchants: whether they take Visa or not.

Do you have a backup plan if your CC does not work or lose possession of your only card?
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:44 PM
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When merchants in Germany take credit cards, they take Master and Visa (and to some extent also the other major ones - but MC and Visa are a safe bet). I would not know of one place that took MC but not Visa.

Maestro is not a credit card. It's a debit card.
There are many (usually smaller) businesses which only take debit cards/Maestro, but no CC at all.

That Germans pay all in cash is nonsense.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 03:54 PM
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Info for Cowboy why Germans pay cash:

http://www.welt.de/finanzen/article1...sten-sind.html
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 04:17 PM
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According to the Bundesbank in 2008, 82% of all transactions in Germany were in cash. May be a world record!
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 06:09 PM
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I don't have a backup plan Greg. I hope to prepay my accommodation before I go, on line with my Visa, where I need accommodation (for much of the time I will be staying with friends in Berlin), I plan to take about 1,000 euro in cash for all the incidentals, and when I'm having shopping sprees ( ) or booking trains I hope to use Visa. If it doesn't work I will use my ATM card and withdraw cash, but would rather use the cc. So this is my plan. I hope not to lose the cc - plan to carry it around my neck in one of those neck wallets under my clothes. Hopefully this will be good enough.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 07:28 PM
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Make sure your ATM card's PIN is only 4 digits. Many European ATMS don't accept the longer 6 digit codes the US banks allow.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 07:33 PM
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Yep, its a four digit one and has the 'Plus' sign on the back, so hopefully it will be fine.
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 04:23 AM
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Withdraw cash from ATMs when needed during your trip. Travelling with 1000 € in cash on you is asking for trouble. Cash has no owner. Besides, you get the better rate if you buy Euros in Euroland and not at home.

By the way, the acceptance of credit cards is not necessarily a sign of better quality. Most locally-owned places and even some large chains do not take cc at all because of the fees, and no one takes them for small purchases. Get used to paying cash like we do - cash is accepted everywhere.
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 09:22 AM
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nz101
a new chip card
Which bank issues chip cards? Maybe you are a Kiwi?
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