Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Using a credit card in Germany

You can use credit cards almost anywhere in Germany – but carry some cash as well.

Despite having one of the strongest economies in Europe, Germany isn’t known for obsessive credit card use. You can pay with plastic in most places, but Germans prefer to use cash – especially for small purchases like a coffee, lunch or public transportation. While Germany is predominantly a cash-based society, most hotels, restaurants and merchants accept credit cards.

Compare credit cards for use in Germany

If you’re considering applying for a new credit card before you head to Germany, look for a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees. Although the fees are relatively low – around 2.5% – they can add up quickly if you use your credit card often.
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Brim World Mastercard
Up to $300 worth of bonuses
1.5 points for every $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $300 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app. 
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
70,000 Points
Up to 6 points per $1 spent
19.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Points ($100 travel rewards). Plus, earn an additional 50,000 Points and get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
N/A
N/A
19.99%
$35 USD
Min. recommended credit score: 725
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Up to $500 worth of bonuses
2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($199 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Collect up to $500 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time using your Brim World Elite Mastercard.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
40,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel) Apply by August 31, 2021.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
40,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$139
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel). Apply by July 1, 2021.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Visa and Mastercard credit cards are widely accepted in most countries around the world. That said, check with your bank before travelling to Germany to confirm whether or not you’ll be able to use your credit card.
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
20,000 Points
2x points per $1 spent
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 630
Get 20,000 Points (up to $100 in value), plus get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
3.99% rate on balance transfers for 9 months
N/A
12.99%
$20
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Brim Mastercard
Up to $200 worth of bonuses
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $200 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Refresh Financial Secured Card
N/A
N/A
17.99%
$12.95
Min. recommended credit score: Any score
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with no credit check and guaranteed approval once you secure your card with some funds.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
10,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
30,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 30,000 points and the $150 annual fee waived in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2021
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Home Trust Secured Visa
N/A
N/A
14.90% - 19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: Any score
Choose from three card options: No Annual Fee ($0 annual fee, 19.99% purchase rate), Low Interest Rate ($59 annual fee, 14.90% purchase rate) or a Low Monthly Fee ($5 monthly fee, 14.90% purchase rate).
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite
40,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 40,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
Brim World Mastercard
Up to $300 worth of bonuses
1.5 points for every $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $300 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app. 
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege
50,000 points
5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$499
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 50,000 welcome points in your first year.
Neo Financial Credit Card
N/A
4% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn an average cash back of 4% at Neo partners across Canada, which includes most major gas stations and grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, coffee shops and more.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
70,000 Points
Up to 6 points per $1 spent
19.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Points ($100 travel rewards). Plus, earn an additional 50,000 Points and get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
Shell AIR MILES World Mastercard from BMO
Up to 1.25x Air Miles
1 Mile for every $15 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get 1.25x Miles on card purchases at Shell locations in Canada.
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
Up to 10% cash back
1% cash back
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
$50 in cash back + 1% cash back
Up to 1.5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get $50 in cash back bonuses once you charge your first eligible purchase to your card. Plus, earn 1% cash back for the first 6 months on all eligible purchases.
BMO Rewards Business Mastercard
35,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
14.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 35,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year (a total value of $295 when you pay with points).
BMO Air Miles Business Mastercard
3,000 Miles
1 Mile for every $10 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get up to 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles ($310 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
N/A
N/A
19.99%
$35 USD
Min. recommended credit score: 725
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
2,000 Miles
1 Mile for every $12 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Earn a bonus of up to 2,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 1.75% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
800 Miles
1 Mile per $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee).
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
1,000 Miles
1 Mile per $20 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 1,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (over $100 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
Shell CashBack World Mastercard from BMO
N/A
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$79
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Earn 3% cash back at Shell stations in Canada, plus 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Up to $500 worth of bonuses
2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($199 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Collect up to $500 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time using your Brim World Elite Mastercard.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
Up to 5% cash back
1% cash back
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases).Plus, get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotia Momentum Mastercard
7.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
Up to 1% cash back
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 20.99% thereafter
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
10% cash back
Up to 4% cash back per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases) and pay no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards (A welcome offer value of $350). Apply by August 31, 2021.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
2,500 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months as a new SCENE Visa cardholder. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotiabank GM Visa Card
N/A
Up to 5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases on the first $5,000 annual spend, and 2% thereafter.
Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite Card
No first year annual fee
Up to 5% cash back
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($79 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get the annual fee waived in the first year on the primary card as well as any supplementary cards. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
40,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$139
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel). Apply by July 1, 2021.
ScotiaGold Passport Visa Card
5,000 points
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$110
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Receive 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you make your first eligible purchase. Eligible purchase must be posted to your account within 2 months of account opening. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
7.5% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.99%
$39
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 7.5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by August 31, 2021.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Germany?

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Germany. You can also use American Express cards, however they’re accepted in fewer locations. While Germany ranks highly in Europe for the acceptance of new technology like contactless and mobile payments, it’s still predominately a cash-based economy.

Merchant acceptance
ATM acceptance
Visa
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
Mastercard
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
American Express
exclamation point iconMedium
check mark iconHigh

Potential credit card fees in Germany

While it’s possible to face all of these fees, it’s easy to avoid each and every one of them by taking the right steps before and during your trip.

  • Foreign transaction fees. Most Canadian credit cards come with a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%. Every time you use your card in Germany, you will have to pay this fee. Fortunately, there are a few credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees.
  • Currency conversion fees. If someone gives you the choice of paying in Canadian dollars or euros with your credit card, always choose the local currency of euros. Paying in Canadian dollars with your card will subject you to a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) that can lead to poor exchange rates and currency conversion fees.
  • Cash advance fees. If you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, you’ll face a cash advance fee and the cash advance interest rate. Unlike the purchase APR, the cash advance rate is usually charged from the day you withdraw the funds – there is no grace period. To avoid these high fees, use your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM.
  • ATM fees. Even if you use your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM, you will likely have to pay an ATM fee of $2.50 to $5. To avoid this fee, you can use a debit card issued by a bank that is a member of an international ATM alliance, such as Scotiabank.

ATMs in Germany

ATMs are easy to find in Germany and are typically referred to as Bankomat or Geldautomat. Most ATMs accept international credit, debit and prepaid cards, although you might want to look for the Cirrus or PLUS logo.

Should I use my credit card to get cash?

As mentioned above, using your credit card to get cash from an ATM is not recommended. You’ll end up paying a cash advance fee as well as interest, which will start adding up from the day of the transaction. If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, it’s best to use your debit card. While you might still have to pay an ATM fee, you’ll avoid the pricey cash advance rate.

Given that more than 80% of payments in Germany are made using cash, you should carry cash with you at all times. Smaller shops, such as bakeries, bars and family-owned restaurants may only accept cash or the German EC card.

Do taxis in Germany accept credit cards?

It depends on the city and district. In some cities, taxis will usually accept credit cards but add a surcharge. If you don’t have cash, order a taxi that accepts credit cards from your hotel or use the mytaxi app to pay with your card.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Germany?

It’s safe to use your credit card in Germany, but you should exercise the same level of caution as you would anywhere else.

  • Keep your PIN secure. When using a keypad to enter your PIN, use your other hand to shield the screen from onlookers and hidden cameras.
  • Choose ATMs carefully. Try and stick to ATMs in public places and banks and avoid ATMs in isolated areas. If you notice that a keypad is sticky or your card is difficult to insert into the slot, there could be skimmer installed on it. For safety, choose a different ATM.
  • Keep your card physically safe. The crime rate in Germany is quite low and using common sense can help ensure your card’s safety. Don’t leave your bag on the floor at a bar or a nightclub and keep your card in sight at all times.

How to prepare before travelling to Germany

  1. Carry at least two cards. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit card brands, with American Express occasionally accepted in Germany. To be safe, travel with at least two credit cards. If one gets lost or stolen, you’ll have a second one as a backup.
  2. Avoid foreign transaction fees. If you don’t have a card with no foreign transaction fees, think about applying for one before you go overseas. Foreign transaction fees usually cost 2.5% – and they can add up quickly if you use your card often.
  3. Notify your bank. In an effort to minimize fraud, banks temporarily block cards if they detect suspicious activity. If you don’t let your bank know of your travels to Germany, you might end up with a blocked credit card.
  4. Keep emergency numbers handy. Should your card become lost or stolen, you’ll need to call your provider to get a replacement card. Keep important phone numbers accessible at all times.
  5. Know how you’ll get cash. Avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM – instead use your debit card. Exchanging Canadian dollars for euro is also possible at banks and currency exchange kiosks.

Next steps

Before travelling to Germany, ask yourself these questions in order to avoid common credit card problems:

  • Which cards will I use? Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted brand of credit cards, but you may find some businesses that accept American Express. Take at least two credit cards with you on your travels incase one becomes lost or stolen.
  • Does my bank know? If your bank is not aware of your upcoming trip, you may have to deal with a temporarily suspended card. Always notify your bank or credit card provider of your travels before you embark on your trip.
  • What fees will I face? If you have a card that charges foreign transaction fees, consider applying for a card that waives this fee. Remember, you can easily avoid currency conversion fees (DCC) by paying in the local currency of euros.
  • How will I get cash? Your options include using your Canadian debit card at a local ATM, exchanging Canadian dollars for euro or carrying travellers’ cheques. Avoid using a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM unless its an emergency.

Using a credit card in …

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

  • Bullion Mart review

    Bullion Mart sells a variety of precious metals, plus it offers storage options for your investments. Find out more in our Bullion Mart review.

  • How to earn Bitcoin on everyday purchases

    SPONSORED: Earning cashback and points on credit cards has been popular with Canadians for years, but there’s a new card reward emerging: Bitcoin cashback.

  • How to send money to Canada

    How to save money while sending money to Canada from other countries. Compare international money transfer services, and save on exchange rates and fees.

  • How to send money to the United States

    How to send money to the USA, safely and affordably. Compare international money transfer services and save on exchange rates and fees.

  • RBC Bank U.S. Mortgages Review

    Get the support you need to navigate purchasing a home south of the border with this reputable US mortgage provider.

  • Spring Financial Personal Loan review

    Secure a Spring Financial personal loan of up to $15,000 with a quick online application or phone call.

  • Hedge funds

    These high-profile funds offer sizable returns, but are riskier than most other types of investments. Here’s what you should know before investing in a hedge fund.

  • Blackbull Markets Review

    Trade forex and contracts for difference for less when you sign up with this reputable online broker.

  • Easy Financial creditplus loan review 

    If you have bad credit or no credit history at all, Easy Financial’s creditplus loan helps you improve your credit score so you can secure a loan within months.

Ask an Expert

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go to site