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Money and cell phone !

Old May 19th, 2016, 05:58 AM
  #1  
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Money and cell phone !

Hi !

we will be in germany this summer (26 days in july-august) and I've got some questions.

1) Money. I've read that germany is very much a ''cash only country'' and we are trying to figure the best (and less exepensive) way to withdraw money. Our bank is Desjardins and we got a Visa Desjardins credit card too. 10 years ago we put money in our Visa account (we will be well above zero) because we heard at that time tht the exchange rate was better with Visa and there's no fees when we withdraw from them. Does it still a way to go ?

Our PIN got 5 numbers, most German banks use 4, could it be a problem ?

2) Cell phone. I got a moto G cell that i've buy unlocked at best buy. I'm using a prepaid plan with koodo. Will I be able to buy a german sim card to get a local number in germany (and data) with my cell phone ?

Thanks !
chosebinne is offline  
Old May 19th, 2016, 06:15 AM
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1. Cash is king in Germany. HOWEVER, all supermarkets and major retailers take cards.

I cannot advise you on your pin number. I will say DO NOT use a credit card to get cash because the interest rates are horrible. Use a debit card instead.


2. If your phone is unlocked and a GSM, all you need to do is walk into any shop selling new/used cell phones and pick up a SIM there. My experience has been that if you go to an unbranded 3rd party shop operated by "non-native Germans", you will have a good variety of SIMs and plans to choose from. You could also just walk into a Vodafone or O2 or wherever to get a PAYG SIM. Whichever you decide to do, do not leave the shop until you can make phone calls (call their mobile) and successfully check your email and get on Facebook.

Hope that helps.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 06:39 AM
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I know interest rates are horrible on credit card but there's no interest if i'm over. If my credit card is at zero (which it is) and I put 2000$ on it, Visa owe me 2000$. So if I withdraw that 2000$ there's no interest fees. Each I use a debit card my ban charge me fees.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 06:40 AM
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What is GSM on cell phone ? how can I check that ?
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Old May 19th, 2016, 07:14 AM
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>if you go to an unbranded 3rd party shop operated by "non-native Germans", you will have a good variety of SIMs and plans to choose from.<

These shops you will find often around train stations. They are run by turkish or arab people, who in my experience are much more helpful than those "smart" youngsters in Telekom / Vodafone etc. shops. Just tell them what you are in need of and they will find a solution.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 10:41 AM
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>

I must be really dense. If your CC is at zero and you put US$2,000 on it, don't YOU owe Visa US$2000? How would Visa owe you anything?And wouldn't the interest fees start accumulating immediately? If you've found a way around this, please do tell.

If your bank charges you for debit card withdrawals, you're at the wrong bank.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 11:11 AM
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What is GSM on cell phone ? how can I check that ?

Does your phone have a sim card? If yes, then it is GSM.

If you do not know, tell us who your service provider is and we can tell you.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 11:12 AM
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These shops you will find often around train stations. They are run by turkish or arab people, who in my experience are much more helpful than those "smart" youngsters in Telekom / Vodafone etc. shops. Just tell them what you are in need of and they will find a solution.

Damn skippy.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 11:22 AM
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The best way to get cash is via an ATM. I always use one inside the bank, never one at a hotel or store. Also, I don't use the ones on the outside of the bank. I always went into the bank. Less chance of fraud. I take out enough for several days and keep the excess in my money belt only taking out 50 euros or so. Any large purchases, hotels, cars, etc, I use on my VISA card. Visa will charge 1% no matter what, even for cards that say no Foreign Transaction fees. All that means is that the bank who issues the credit card won't tack on an additional 2-5%. VISA and MASTERCARD will charge 1%. I'm not sure about AMEX. AMEX and Discover are not widely accepted.

Because I always took out cash and never used my credit card for daily purchases, I did not run into issues the number of times I have been to Germany about anyone taking credit cards. I always had cash. I really don't think in today's world that credit cards are not widely accepted.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 11:23 AM
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Stcirq- I think op means put money on it not spend money on it. I do that with my card sometimes- it shows your card in the "negative" meaning that the negative number is the extra cash on your credit- your money, not money you are borrowing from visa. No interest because it's not money lent to you by the credit line.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 11:24 AM
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chosebinne, I don't know what country you are from, but for US credit cards, it isn't that simple when you use them to take out cash. It is a credit card, NOT a debit card, remember, so you are not withdrawing cash from your bank account. You are essentially borrowing or buying it as a purchase. And all US cards I've seen have special rates and fees just for cash withdrawals on credit cards -- the interest rates may differ from those for purchases, but more importantly, the interest starts immediately plus there is a flat fee on top of the interest just for taking out cash. It is usually the lesser of $5-$10 or 5% of the amount or something like that.

So before you do that, check the terms for cash withdrawal with your credit card to make sure you know the terms. I presume you are Canadian but when I looked at the website for Desjardins "credit cards" it was very confusing as it appeared they were really debit cards with charge capability, not strictly a credit cards, because they had some option for overdraft allowances that apply based on your checking account. But that's the issue with taking cash with a credit card, it is a loan.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 11:52 AM
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What Chosebinne is saying is that she'll have a zero balance on her credit card and then she'll make a $2000 payment, so that she'll owe -$2000. Then if she makes a withdrawal, she won't be borrowing money.

To me, going to that trouble, and tying up $2000 is not worth it to save the relatively small amounts of bank fees for cash withdrawals using a debit card.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 11:57 AM
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What the OP proposes used to work very well before ATM's were common, say before 1990.

If we planned to spend $3000 on a trip, we would prepay an EXTRA $3000 on our credit card before leaving. Visa then owed us $3000.

When we needed cash, we would go into a bank and ask for a cash advance on our Visa. It took about 5 minutes (well, maybe 10 in rural Wales), and there were no fees and no interest (well, except for the fact that we were in effect lending $3000 to Visa interest free).

Once cash machines became ubiquitous, it wasn't worth doing, and it may not be possible any more. The problem would be finding a bank employee in your country of origin who would even understand what you are talking about. You wouldn't want to be wrong.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 12:02 PM
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I'm often in Germany and I pay everything by credit card.
Imo, cash only means that Germans prefer cash. However I pay plastic at hotels, restaurants, gas stations, trains, museums, taxis.
I pay cash when I get a wurst for 2€, or a Doner Kebab for about the same. I don't shop.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 06:48 PM
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Thanks for all those answer. I guess i wasnt clear but somes have well understood what I've meant. My credit card got a PIN like my debit card ( what you call ec card in Germany).

The best is to call my bank I guess !
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Old May 20th, 2016, 03:16 AM
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>I'm often in Germany and I pay everything by credit card. <

Hm ... doing so you will narrow down your choice quite a bit. There are numerous shops and restaurants all over Germany that don't accept even debit cards. I made that experience yesterday in a very touristy zone, at Lake Tegernsee, when the waiter refused to accept my credit or debit card for a bill of almost 100 E.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 03:54 AM
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>Our bank is Desjardins and we got a Visa Desjardins credit card too.<

The Webseite of your bank

http://www.mycard.desjardins.com/en/...assic/cash.jsp

tells that you can withdraw cash on ATM's displaying a VISA logo. There are numerous of them in Germany, just look up the ATM locator at visa.com.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 11:20 AM
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She means she overpaid her charge card by $2000 so she has that much credit coming to her on the card already.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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I'll take a good look at your answers but for now I can tell you that i'm not a girl !
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Old May 20th, 2016, 05:19 PM
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" Visa will charge 1% no matter what, even for cards that say no Foreign Transaction fees."

That is INCORRECT.

I have several VISA credit cards issued in US and there is absolutely NO foreign transaction fees for purchases made using the card.
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