Payment in Germany

Germany is a country, which is still dominated by cash payments. You will be able to pay cash in all shops or ticket machines. You find ATMs in all main train stations and all airports and in all branch banks, which are spread around the city. Major banks in Germany are Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Sparkasse, HypoVereinsbank, Volksbank or Postbank. Cash withdrawals by credit card are possible at all ATMs with a VISA/MASTERCARD/AMEX logo. Your local debit card may not be supported or withdrawal fees can be higher than credit card fees. You will find a list of applicable fees on every ATM. If you are having trouble getting cash with your UnionPay card, try a Sparkasse ATM. Sparkasse accepts UnionPay debit and credit cards. If you want to exchange money, you will find branches of Reisebank at all main train stations and currency exchange offices at all airports but it might be cheaper to withdraw cash at an ATM. You will find the following banknotes in Germany:

5, 10, 20 and 50 notes are available in an old style and a new style. Please pay attention that 100, 200 and 500 notes are not accepted by many shops or restaurants, so please avoid getting them. Coins are divided into 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents. 1 and 2 cents coins are not accepted in the Netherlands. Many ticket vending machines at train stations or metro stations in Germany only accept coins. Public restrooms in Germany are not always complimentary. You will be asked to pay 20 cents up to 1 euro to use public restrooms. Most restrooms in restaurants or shopping malls accept tips but payment is not mandatory.

In addition to cash, you can pay by debit or credit card in most major chain stores and almost all grocery shops. Please pay attention that card payment may be accepted in most shops but that does not mean that you can pay by credit card. Please ask if card payment includes credit cards or look for VISA/MASTERCARD/AMEX logos at the entrance of the shop or at the register. UnionPay or Diners Club cards are not widely accepted. You might be asked to show your ID when paying by credit card. Small restaurants usually only accept cash and some stores can ask for a minimum value of 5, 10 or 20 euros when you pay by card. If you pay by card and the cashier asks what currency you want to use, always use your local currency. The exchange rate of your local bank is always cheaper than the exchange rate of the credit card company.


Written by Tobias Hoffmann

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