Using a credit card in Germany

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

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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 Reward Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Minimum Credit Limit
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit. Earn 1 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
$5,000
Earn up to 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year of card membership. Plus, earn an extra 10,000 points with a min. annual spend of $40,000 on your card.
Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on groceries, dining and entertainment, 3 points on gas, transportation and streaming services, and 1 point on every other purchase.
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$12,000
$5,000
Get up to 30,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year of card membership (up to $300 in rewards). Ends December 30, 2019.

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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 Reward Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Minimum Credit Limit
Earn 1.5 miles for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, gas, drugstore and aircanada.com purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent elsewhere. T&C's apply.
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$60,000
$5,000
Earn up to 30,000 Aeroplan Miles (equivalent to 2 economy short-haul roundtrip flight rewards) and first year no Annual Fee for the Primary Cardholder. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on dining, travel and entertainment purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$150
$80,000
Offers 35,000 BMO Rewards bonus points with a minimum spend of $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. Ends January 15, 2020.
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit. Earn 1 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
$5,000
Earn up to 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year of card membership. Plus, earn an extra 10,000 points with a min. annual spend of $40,000 on your card.
Earn 9 TD Points per $1 in travel booked online through Expedia for TD, and 3 points/$1 spent elsewhere.
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$60,000
$5,000
Earn up to 80,000 TD Rewards Points, including a 20,000 welcome bonus when you make your first purchase with your card. Earn 5X the TD Rewards Points on all purchases up to a maximum of 20,000 TD Rewards Points per month, for each of the first three months. Plus, first year no annual fee for the primary cardholder. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
Earn 4% Money-Back Rewards in up to 3 categories of your choice. Offer ends January 31, 2020.
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$60,000
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. Valid within the first 30 days of account opening.
Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. No cap and no limit.
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$80,000
Get 5% cash back in the first three months of card membership with a first year annual fee waiver. Ends March 31, 2020.
Receive 1% cash back on payments made at gas stations, supermarkets, pharmacies and recurring bill payments.
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
$12,000
$500
Offers a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all spend for the first 6 months. Ends March 1, 2020.
Earn 2x AIR MILES reward miles per $20 spent at eligible partners and 1 mile per $20 spent for all other purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get up to 800 bonus AIR MILES reward miles with minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months. Ends January 15, 2020.
Earn 1.25 AIR MILES reward miles at Shell stations in Canada.
19.99%
22.99%
$99
$60,000
Earn 1.25x Miles on card purchases at participating Shell stations in Canada.
Earn 4% Money-Back Rewards in three categories of your choice such as groceries, dining, petrol and more. Ends January 31, 2020.
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$12,000
Get 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. Valid within the first 30 days of account opening.
Earn 1.5% cash back per $1 spent at Shell stations in Canada and 0.5% on everything else.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get $50 limited bonus cash back upon first spend. Ends January 15, 2020.
Earn 1 SCENE point per $1 spent on all eligible purchases, plus 5 SCENE points for every $1 spent at Cineplex Entertainment theatres or cineplex.com.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
$500
Save with no annual fee and earn 1 SCENE point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases. Get 2,500 bonus SCENE points with min. spend of $500 in the first three months (Ends March 1, 2020).
Earn 1 BMO Rewards point for every $1 spent.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Offers a 1.99% balance transfer intro rate for the first nine months to new cardmembers and up to 20,000 BMO Rewards welcome points upon minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months (Ends January 15, 2020).
Earn 2x AIR MILES reward miles per $20 spent at eligible partners and IGA stores and 1 mile per $20 spent for all other purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get up to 800 bonus AIR MILES reward miles with minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months. Ends January 15, 2020.
Annual fee rebate with minimum spend of US$1,000 per year.
19.99%
22.99%
$35
$15,000
Receive an annual fee rebate when you spend a minimum of US$1,000 in a year.
Save with a low interest rate and no annual fee
16.99%
16.99%
$0
$12,000
$500
Offers a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Ends March 1, 2020.
Get 1% cash back on purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores, and on recurring bill payments, plus an additional 0.5% cash back on all other spend.
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
$12,000
$500
Get 1% cash back on payments made at gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies, including recurring payments. Receive a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all spend for the first six months (Ends March 1, 2020).
Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. No caps, no limit.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Offers a 1.99% balance transfer intro rate for nine months to new cardmembers. Get 5% cash back in the first three months of card membership up to a maximum of $2,000 ($100 cash back) in eligible card purchases (Ends March 31, 2020).
Earn 4% cash back per $1 spent on groceries & recurring bill payments, 2% per $1 spent on gas & public transit and 1% per $1 spent on all other spend.
20.99%
22.99%
$120
$60,000
$5,000
New cardholders save with no annual fee for the first year. Ends December 30, 2019.
Get 3% cash back per $1 spent at Shells stations, 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
19.99%
22.99%
$79
$60,000
Earn 3% cash back at Shell stations in Canada, plus 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with no credit check and guaranteed approval once you secure your credit card with some funds.
17.99%
N/A
$12.95
N/A
$200
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with guaranteed approval and no credit check.
Get up to 5% in GM Earnings on your initial spend of $5,000 in the first year, and 2% thereafter.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
$500
Get up to 5% in GM Earnings on your initial spend of $5,000 in the first year, and 2% thereafter.
Low interest rates of 12.99% on purchases and cash advances.
12.99%
12.99%
$20
$15,000
Offers a 3.99% balance transfer intro rate for nine months to new cardmembers.
Earn 2 AIR MILES reward miles for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and 1 Mile per $20 spent elsewhere.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Earn up to 800 AIR MILES bonus miles with minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months. Ends January 15, 2020.
Get up to 5% in GM Earnings upon initial spend of $10,000 in the first year and 2% subsequently.
19.99%
22.99%
$79
$60,000
$5,000
Waived annual fee for the first year of card membership. Ends March 1, 2020.
Earn 2 AIR MILES reward miles per $20 spent at Sobeys, Foodland and eligible AIR MILES partners, and 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get up to 800 bonus AIR MILES reward miles with minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months. Ends January 15, 2020.
Get 5% cash back on travel purchases via Scotia Rewards Travel Service and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on daily purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$110
$12,000
$5,000
Receive 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points upon first eligible purchase within the first 2 months. Ends March 1, 2020.
2% cash back on eligible gas stations, grocery and drug store purchases including recurring payments. T&C's apply.
19.99%
22.99%
$39
$12,000
$500
Offers a 2.99% introductory balance transfer rate for the first 6 months. Ends March 1, 2020.
Earn 1 Aeroplan Mile for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, gas and drugstore purchases and 1 mile for every $1.50 spent on other purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$89
N/A
$1,500
Earn up to 25,000 TD Rewards Points, including a 10,000 welcome bonus when you make your first purchase with your card. Earn 5 additional Aeroplan Miles on all purchases, for the first 3 months up to a total spend of $1000 per month, up to a total of 15,000 Aeroplan Miles. Plus, first year no annual fee for the primary cardholder. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
Enjoy a full annual fee rebate for the primary cardholder for the first year. Conditions apply. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
TD Prime¹ + 4.5% up to TD Prime + 12.75%
TD Prime¹ + 4.5% up to TD Prime + 12.75%
$25
N/A
$1,000
Enjoy a full annual fee rebate for the primary cardholder for the first year. Conditions apply. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
Make purchases in U.S. Dollars without credit card foreign currency conversion rates.
19.99%
22.99%
$39
N/A
$1,000
Make purchases in U.S. Dollars without credit card foreign currency conversion rates.
Get 3% cash back on eligible groceries, gas and bill payments and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
20.99%
22.99%
$120
$60,000
$5,000
Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to a total spend of $2,000). Apply online by March 2, 2020. .
Get 1.5 miles for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, gas, drugstore and Air Canada purchases and 1.25 miles for every $1 spent elsewhere.
19.99%
22.99%
$399
N/A
$10,000
Earn up to 40,000 Aeroplan Miles, including a 25,000 Welcome Bonus when you make your first purchase with your card. Earn 5 additional Aeroplan Miles on all purchases for the first 3 months up to a total of $1,000 spent per month, up to a total of 15,000 Aeroplan Miles. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
Earn 3 TD Rewards Points per $1 spent on travel booking via ExpediaForTD.com, 2 points when you book via phone, 2 points on grocery dining and bill payments and 1 point on all other spend.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
$500
Earn up to 10,000 TD Rewards Points. This includes up to 5,000 TD Reward Points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, another 2,500 TD Rewards Points when you add an authorized user, and 2,500 TD Reward Points when you sign up for paperless statements by March 2, 2020. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
Earn 1% in cash back on eligible groceries, gas, and bill payments and 0.5% in cash back on all other purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
$500
Earn 1% in cash back on eligible groceries, gas, and bill payments and 0.5% in cash back on all other purchases.
Earn 5 TD Points per $1 in travel booked online through Expedia for TD, 3/$1 in grocery purchases and regularly recurring bill payments and 2/$1 on all other purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$89
N/A
$1,000
Earn up to 30,000 TD Rewards Points, including a 25,000 welcome bonus when you make your first purchase with your card. Earn 5X the TD Rewards Points on all purchases up to a maximum of 5,000 TD Rewards Points per month, for each of the first three months. Apply online by March 2, 2020.
Earn 2x AIR MILES reward miles per $20 spend at eligible AIR MILES partners and and 1 miles per $20 spend in credit card purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Enjoy AIR MILES on your every dollar spent and build a healthy credit history. Earn up to 800 AIR MILES bonus miles with minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months. Ends January 15, 2020.
Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. No caps, no limit.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Enjoy cash back on your every dollar spent and build a healthy credit history. Get up to 5% cash back with minimum spend of $2,000 in the first three months of card membership (Ends March 31, 2020).
Earn 1 mile per $10 spend in purchases.
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$80,000
Get up to 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles with minimum spend of $3,000 in the first three months, plus a first year annual fee waiver. Ends January 15, 2020.
Save on interest by consolidating your higher-rate balances and get a low 12.99% purchase interest rate.
12.99%
12.99%
$29
$12,000
$500
Offers a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Ends March 1, 2020.

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 …

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