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Using only credit card in Europe?

Using only credit card in Europe?

Old Mar 29, 19, 2:02 pm
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Using only credit card in 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...
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Old Mar 29, 19, 2:16 pm
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Credit cards are widely accepted. ATM's tend to have the best exchange rate. You will need some cash.
But carefuly check the fees your cc-bank charges. It may be worth getting a new cc with low forex fees.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone
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Old Mar 29, 19, 3:50 pm
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All of these destinations are credit card friendly with the exception of Brussels where the locals tend to use a type of local debit card. If you are able get a card with chip.
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Old Mar 29, 19, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
You will need some cash.
Actually, the OP may not need any cash, as long as they don't take local buses in Reykjavik (which in any case require coins or overpayment). And perhaps in London and Brussels there are a few food places or market stalls etc which don't want to take card, but these can be avoided unless the OP has a particular place they want to go. I have seen some market stalls in Stockholm which only take cash or Swish, but their target is not visitors.

Only 2 out of the OP's 5 cities are in the eurozone.
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Old Mar 29, 19, 6:51 pm
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Do you have a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees op?
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Old Mar 29, 19, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by zack14 View Post
Do you have a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees op?
I do
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Old Mar 29, 19, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by mcbg1 View Post
I do
How about debit card in case you do need cash?
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Old Mar 30, 19, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
How about debit card in case you do need cash?
I have that too. I guess I could take out a small amount in each country for things where credit is not possible.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 7:30 am
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Originally Posted by mcbg1 View Post
I have that too. I guess I could take out a small amount in each country for things where credit is not possible.
Your life will be much easier if you carry at least a small amount of cash. Even while cards are widely accepted, there are always exceptions that come up. A small merchant may only accept cash. A card reader or kiosk may be broken. Sometimes it's just much easier. Public transportation, in particular, can be frustrating if you use it frequently and don't have a chip & pin card (most if not all US issues cards are not). The card kiosks at train and bus stations often don't accept other cards and you'll stand in lines to use your card. Sometimes it will only take a minute, and sometimes it will take ten.

If you don't want to get stuck with a hodgepodge of currencies at the end of your trip, you can always wait until you need cash to take it out. You don't say how long you'll be in each city, your reason for going (business or tourism), or what you plan on doing. You can certainly get by for a day or two in London without cash, for example, so maybe don't get any upon arrival. But if you're going to be somewhere longer, it may make sense to get some upon arrival...or see how long you can go and you may not need to get cash at all.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Your life will be much easier if you carry at least a small amount of cash. Even while cards are widely accepted, there are always exceptions that come up. A small merchant may only accept cash. A card reader or kiosk may be broken. Sometimes it's just much easier. Public transportation, in particular, can be frustrating if you use it frequently and don't have a chip & pin card (most if not all US issues cards are not). The card kiosks at train and bus stations often don't accept other cards and you'll stand in lines to use your card. Sometimes it will only take a minute, and sometimes it will take ten.

If you don't want to get stuck with a hodgepodge of currencies at the end of your trip, you can always wait until you need cash to take it out. You don't say how long you'll be in each city, your reason for going (business or tourism), or what you plan on doing. You can certainly get by for a day or two in London without cash, for example, so maybe don't get any upon arrival. But if you're going to be somewhere longer, it may make sense to get some upon arrival...or see how long you can go and you may not need to get cash at all.
I'll be 3-4 days in each city on average on holiday. I'm Canadian so I have a card with a chip and a PIN.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 9:48 am
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It doesn't save you any money but I assume that most airlines are like AA and BA and will take any change you are stuck with as a donation to a charity.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
All of these destinations are credit card friendly with the exception of Brussels where the locals tend to use a type of local debit card. If you are able get a card with chip.
Most shops, cafes, restaurants and bars can take mastercard and visa in addition to maestro. The only two places where I've been told they only can accept maestro are the local government office and my GP's.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 2:55 pm
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I suggest that you will need some cash. An ATM will give you the best exchange rate and cash is very useful for small purchases. At the end of each country you can pay your hotel bill with your remaining cash then settle the balance with your credit card or you can exchange your remaining cash for the next currency you need at the airport and accept that the exchange rate won't be the best. If you keep a photo album or scrapbook of your trip a small note makes a good addition to the photos.

By the way, Sweden continues its move away from cash. An increasing number of places don't accept cash and I believe the main IKEA store will go cashless this year.

Enjoy your trip. (I just wrote some Stockholm visit suggestions in the Nordic forum.)
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Old Mar 31, 19, 3:05 pm
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I'd keep a €20 in my wallet in Brussels just for good measure. You may want to buy something from a food cart or a frituur ("French" fry shop) that doesn't take plastic. Anywhere else will take your Canadian plastic, including metro and rail ticket machines since it has a PIN.

Originally Posted by schrodingerdog View Post
Most shops, cafes, restaurants and bars can take mastercard and visa in addition to maestro. The only two places where I've been told they only can accept maestro are the local government office and my GP's.
+1. Even my GP takes Visa/MC; the only reason I even have a Bancontact/Maestro card is to use it in the Netherlands. I can't think of anywhere in Belgium that a tourist would spend more than €10ish that doesn't take credit.

London can easily be done without cash; other than a food cart here or there, everyone takes cards. And even most food carts take cards. I've had the same 10 note in my wallet for at least 3 trips to the UK.
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Old Mar 31, 19, 9:36 pm
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When I travel in Switzerland I shop at MIGROS (grocery and other household items), most of my purchases are < $10. I've had instances where a VISA (or MC) stopped being accepted. When I returned to the US I contacted the associated bank and they did not freeze the card, it must have been at the purchase end. So carry a few EXTRA CCs as a back-up.
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