- Centurion Member
- Posts: 249
- Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:05 pm
- Location: TX
I spend a lot of time in Germany (and have family there). You're going to have a BLAST.
I almost never use my cards (credit or debit) over there. Daily transactions (shopping, dining out) are still very much cash-based over there. Some restaurants will accept cards, but mom-and-pop places prefer cash and will reject your card, especially if they know you're not German. I speak German, so, if I'm short on cash and really want to use plastic, I'll usually say "I just saw you accept a card from that customer over there. I'm short on cash, so I'd appreciate it if you could accept mine," and that usually does the trick, but some will just not accept US-issued cards, period. When I travel around, I use hostels. The small ones won't even look at your credit cards, but the larger ones (which cater to foreigners) usually do -- but for a 5% fee. If hotels and hostels DO take your card, you will likely NOT need an EMV card. At least I never do. They all have swipe machines that read my magnetic stripe just fine.
With unmanned transit terminals, if you want to use a card, you'll need EMV, but, last summer, the terminal would NOT accept my Citi AAdvantage with a chip (I suspect it's because those cards are chip-and-signature). Many of those machines accept cash, but coins only. If you don't have coins, I'd walk over to the nearest hostel. In major cities, many of them will sell you whichever visitor pass the city offers, which includes a certain number of days for the local transit.
tl;dr: Cash is the way to go. I usually make a stop at the Geldautomat (ATM) that partners with my bank (so no ATM fees) and withdraw however much money I figure I'll need for the day. If you're using your card at a major hotel or hostel that takes American cards, you probably won't need EMV anyway -- they'll likely have a swipe machine.
-Capital One Quicksilver
-Barclaycard Arrival (no AF)
- US Bank (no rewards)