Great 'Countries you can't use your plastic in' Hunt



  • janiebquick
    janiebquick Posts: 432 Forumite
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    It may come as a surprise, but very few places accept credit cards in Germany.
    'Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.' George Carlin
  • LucyTheDwarf
    LucyTheDwarf Posts: 880 Forumite
    edited 18 March 2011 at 2:13PM
    I spend most weekends in the Netherlands - very few of their shops will accept credit cards, or VISA debit cards. You need Maestro! It's a pain, because all of my debit cards are VISA, and my Mastercards or VISA credit cards aren't accepted.

    Most ATMs will allow me to withdraw on either a credit or debit card; but otherwise my Dutch boyfriend simply has to pay. :)

    My Dutch friends tend not to use credit cards; they are very wary of them. My boyfriend uses his only to book Eurotunnel or P&O ferries, as they won't allow him to use his Dutch debit card! It's all hassle.

    It does make me wonder how Mastercard and VISA often have slogans in their advertising to the effect of "can be used in xxx countries" (in my memory they quote about 200 countries - I'd certainly expect mainland Europe to be included here!).
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  • sugerfreek wrote: »
    I have to agree with the Germany comment. I'm living here at the moment and it is basically a cash economy meaning that ATM's are rare and everyone pays in cash. A lot of ATM's wont take your credit cards and shops CERTAINLY won't. Basically you are meant to carry large sums of money around with you. I use my Caxtonfx card around with me as it is accepted at pretty much any ATM and doesn't charge even at ATM's which have charged my German card up to 7€. My advice would simply be take the money you need out when you can.

    I'm so pleased to have read this - we're off to Germany in June and normally (when in France) rely on credit cards and take v little cash. We do have a Travelex card is this much the same (& accepted) as the Caxtonfx? If so, we'll use that.
  • jago25_98
    jago25_98 Posts: 623 Forumite
    general observations are the poorer the place the less likely to accept a card.

    Next observation is generally the more protectionist the more likely you might have atm problems

    norway - all fine in my experience
    Uk - mostly fine, cards sometimes too expensive for smaller shops
    Madagascar 2004 - nationwide debit atm ok
    Argentina 2010 - no problems with atm and prepay... Credit cards only accepted in the very expensive tourist places... Mastercard least accepted because more expensive for them than visa... Many died due to bank failure in 2002
    Brazil - ditto but less so, only problems in quiet areas, atms ok in bahia
    France - all fine
    Peru - similar to argentina
    Italt - all fine in the north
    Turkey - atm all fine but cash much easier, credit cards only tourists mostly... Less accepted in the far east

    From all this i tend to try to forget the credit card and go with cash all the time. Credit card charges are massive globally (say 400 pounds... 6 pound charge), and it's too much for most merhants. Plus there's a bad reputation of the cards, and plus there's the audit trail, which could mean thugs knocking on thier door.

    What is really needed are more alternatives to the atm network. For example, egold to cash services.

    After all, what would you do if there was a banking crisis and none of your cards worked?
    Order of events: Banks lose our money -> get bailed out -> were inflating GBP to cover it -> now taxing us -> next will grab your funds direct -> things get really desperate to balance the books. What should have happened?: banks go bust and we lost our money much quicker
  • Ricky43
    Ricky43 Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    When I was in China I was shocked to find that they accepted Visa everywhere but not Mastercard and my cards were Mastercards!! These days I find the cheapest way to get foreign currency is to take cash with me and exchange at Money changer booths.
    Israel and Singapore are fine for any credit cards.
    I'm going back 10 years but when I was in Jordan there were no ATM's!!!
  • Mary_Hartnell
    Mary_Hartnell Posts: 874 Forumite
    edited 17 March 2011 at 1:54AM
    Ecuador runs on the US dollar, having gone bust in the run up to the recession.

    Visa debit cards were a bit hit and miss, so in the capital Quito, not really a problem as there was plenty of choice BUT could be a problem in the provinces if not a tourist area.
    (Galapagos ATM worked OK)

    No real pattern, some days the card would be acceptable some not, in the same ATM.

    Some ATM's charge a dollar or two per cash withdrawal.

    Tourist restaurants would take credit cards but don't expect a little cafe doing "businessman" three course lunches for $1.50 to accept a card.
  • Have recently visited Denmark with my HSBC VISA Debit Card and found that it wasn't accepted at ticket machines for the Metro in Copenhagen. OH also couldn't use a NatWest VISA Debit either, so had to use a credit card. All other places seem to accept it though, as did the ATMs.
  • Maiden98
    Maiden98 Posts: 21 Forumite
    Whilst I agree with the comments about credit cards in Germany, I cant understand why people are having problems with debit card ATM withdrawls.

    I've been all over Germany and never had a problem finding or using ATM's..even in Colditz town which is about as big as my garden I never had problems.

    I can also confirm that the prepaid, travellex type cards work fine in ATM's in Germany.
  • Same as Ricky43 - we found a few countries - Kazakhstan and Mongolia mainly, which had a number of specifically Visa ATMs, which didn't accept Mastercard.

    They did generally work for Visa cards, although could be a bit hit and miss - and of course no card is any good when the machines run out of money and you are told to come back the day after 'probably'!
  • cottel7
    cottel7 Posts: 18 Forumite
    I live in Austria and when my family visit they often have problems paying with plastic as the card readers don't like the raised numbers on the cards...our cards in Austria are flat with numbers indented and not raised. Using plastic is becoming more and more 'normal'...hope this helps explain some of the problems people have had, maybe the same problem with cards in Germany.
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