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-   -   Using mostly credit card around Europe? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/using-mostly-credit-card-around-europe-1665317/)

mcbg1 Mar 29th, 2019 12:04 PM

Using mostly credit card around Europe?
 
I'll be traveling in June to London, Helsinki, Stockholm, Brussels and Reykjavik. Given I will be dealing with different currencies, would it be feasible for me to mostly get by using my credit card? I'm not sure how much I will need for spending money so it seems like a hassle to take out money at the ATM in each country and possibly having left over cash to exchange in the next country...

PalenQ Mar 29th, 2019 12:14 PM

c cards accepted everywhere but some machines - many machines demand the new security strip or whatever it is to work - but at other places they can process your card manually. I'd get a card with the newer strip as many now are giving out. You will still need some small change/bills as though nearly every place takes c cards obviously some places won't.

janisj Mar 29th, 2019 12:34 PM

>>many machines demand the new security strip or whatever it is<<

>> I'd get a card with the newer strip as many now are giving out<<

Pal has it wrong ... and since he is really parroting what he's read on these forums, that is a little concerning. It is not a 'security strip' . It is a CHIP. The vast majority of US-issued cards are chip & signature cards that also have a magnetic strip. while European cards are chip & PIN. This is not the same PIN you use with your ATM card. Don't let that difference concern you. You can use US cards just about everywhere. Not at some unmanned petrol pumps and a few unstaffed ticket machines. But other than that you won't have any problems. I would get a minimal amount of the local currency in the various countries. You can get by almost 100% by credit card but I do like to have at least a little cash on me.

PalenQ Mar 29th, 2019 12:46 PM

>>many machines demand the new security strip or whatever it is<<

I think it was clear that European cards had some kind of security thing our cards did not have but more and more do have - ask your card bank. And, tell your c card-issuing bank that you will be using the card in those countries and only those countries - if you don't, they may block charges from abroad as a security risk. Also ask the bank what any charges may be for using your card abroad and never use it to get cash as a stiff interest rate begins right away. Use ATM cards to get local money - best rate possible but again check your bank charges - ATM<s in Europe generally don't charge anything for using ATM cards but you local bank may well do so. And watch out for Dynamic Currency Exchange - for these reasons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynami...ncy_conversion

Yes I get this info from many posts here of people who have experienced it - trying to be helpful not sure why it is concerning to janis but could be helpful to others. I doubt if janis has personal c card experience in Iceland, Sweden or Finland any more recently than me - thus reporting what others have said is the best we can do.

StCirq Mar 29th, 2019 03:39 PM

No, Pal, if you haven't set foot in Europe in years, which is the case, your information is suspect. And really outdated in many cases. I'm quite sure I have far more recent experience than you do. Second-hand information really isn't what 2019 is all about, y'know?

There is no such thing as a "security strip." It's a chip. And you can get a chip and pin card easily now in the USA if you sign up with a credit union such as Andrews or PennState or the United Nations. All those offer other benefits such as zero transaction costs for wire transfers, ATM withdrawals, etc. There is usually a small fee associated with the sign-up costs, but after that, nada.

There is the problem of having leftover currency, so using a credit (or debit) card for most transactions probably works out best. Most Scandinavian countries operate on a pretty much cashless basis these days. You can also sign up for phone-based payments in many countries (like Orange Cash in France). Might be worth it to look into those. But definitely for big purchases, a cc is your best deal.

PalenQ Mar 29th, 2019 03:50 PM

No, Pal, if you haven't set foot in Europe in years, which is the case, your information is suspect. And really outdated in many cases.>

Exactly what cases? I think all the advice I gave is good - with minor bip of CHIP name.

So please point out the 'bad' advice!

Cheers!

janisj Mar 29th, 2019 03:58 PM

Pal -- you seem out of sorts today. Seen several posts where you are passing info you've gleaned from earlier Fodors threads but have jumbled the details. Looks like your memory is a bit muddled.

>>I think it was clear that European cards had some kind of security thing our cards did not have but more and more do have - <<

Most US cards have had chips for several years. If you have any credit cards -- take a look at them -- there will be a chip on the front and a magnetic stripe on the back . . .

mcbg1 Mar 29th, 2019 05:10 PM

My credit card has no fees abroad and I do have a chip so it seems like I could use it in most places

Andrew Mar 29th, 2019 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by mcbg1 (Post 16895759)
My credit card has no fees abroad and I do have a chip so it seems like I could use it in most places

Mostly fine, should work everywhere that involves a human being in the transaction and at many/most machines. SOME machines will not work unless your card has a PIN too, which most US credit cards still don't have. If you are say trying to buy train tickets from your machine and the card is rejected, either use cash or go to a ticket counter. (Or, try your debit card with PIN.)

isabel Mar 29th, 2019 07:10 PM

Last year I spent four days in London and never used cash once. Even for coffee. So it is doable. On the other hand I went to a town in Switzerland for a day trip from Italy and didn't have any Swiss francs and didn't want to take out any since I was there so short a time and there were a couple of places I wanted to just get something to drink or whatever and couldn't use the credit card. If you are going to be there several days you probably should get a small amount.

Tulips Mar 30th, 2019 12:07 AM

You can mostly get by using only credit cards, except for in Belgium where some small shops and restaurants only take cash.
If you're going to a market, want a coffee or another small expenditure; you need some cash.
If you book a restaurant, check if they take cards. Nearly all do, but some don't.

hetismij2 Mar 30th, 2019 12:34 AM

Most shops in the Netherlands don't accept creditcards. Some only reluctantly accept cash which is expensive for them. A debit card with PIN is the way to go here. I would recommend you have one with you for the countries you are visiting as well as a credit card with chip, just in case.

PalenQ Mar 30th, 2019 11:00 AM

Seen several posts where you are passing info you've gleaned from earlier Fodors threads but have jumbled the details.>

Like what?

and in this c card stuff everything I said is correct right except the flub on the Chip Card thing.

We all flub a bit like when you say:

You can use US cards just about everywhere. Not at some unmanned petrol pumps and a few unstaffed ticket machines. But other than that you won't have any problems> Except going to Netherlands and maybe a few other countries where hetismij says a credit card is worthless in shops - so maybe bringing a debit card also is good. Again what info on c cards I gave is wrong besides that flop over CHIP and PIN which was irrelevant as I explained it. Just getting tired of picayune snarky criticisms that are not warranted.

ahbonvraiment Mar 30th, 2019 01:54 PM

I hardly ever pay cash in france Belgium or Netherlands. Most of the time I use cc or debit card.
When vendors want cash only I usually leave...

Cali Mar 30th, 2019 11:09 PM

I always make sure I have more than one credit card with me as I have found a couple times that one won't work and the other one will. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Scandinavia and in most places in the other European countries also.

Odin Mar 31st, 2019 12:14 AM

In Helsinki & Stockholm, you don't need cash, in fact cash is not accepted in some places now. Sweden is almost cashless. In London, most places do take a credit card even for the smallest purchase but a bit of cash just in case comes in handy for small purchases (eg at a market for instance.) I never use a debit card outside of my own country.

bilboburgler Mar 31st, 2019 01:46 AM

Sweden, UK, Iceland, Finland no problem

Brussels, I might worry but only a little bit.

Heimdall Mar 31st, 2019 03:35 AM

I’ve never had a problem using a credit card anywhere I’ve been in Europe except Greece, and even there they are now accepted more often, partly because of government tax evasion measures. My US credit card has no foreign transaction charges and gives me 1.5% cash back for each purchase. Since I pay off the balance every month, that’s an inexpensive way to change money to the local currency. Where Apple Pay is accepted I don’t even need to take the card out of my wallet.

I also have a British credit card, and the only difference between it and my American one is that it has contactless capability. Contactless is very handy on London TfL tubes and busses, because all you need to do is tap the card on the reader, similar to Oyster cards. I don’t go to London often enough to make an Oyster card worthwhile.

vinonobile987 Apr 3rd, 2019 05:45 AM

We always use our credit card in Europe and rarely had any issues so far. Definitely was OK in Brussels and London. I usually end up having unused which I spend at the Duty Free shops at Heathrow, so I am taking very little cash with me for my upcoming April trip to London. I mostly use cash for tips and paying directly to the tour guide (like London Walks).

You will be perfectly fine. Not foreign transaction fees on our Visa saved us significant money.

PalenQ Apr 3rd, 2019 07:16 AM

Make sure that your magnetic strip is not too worm- I had a car that worked perfectly at home but not always in Europe.


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