Best ways to spend travel money in Netherlands: Debit & prepaid cards

Learn more about the best card to use, if you should use a UK debit card and other ways to take spending money to The Netherlands.

The Netherlands is in the Eurozone, so the national currency is the Euro. Find out the best way to take your travel money to the Netherlands: Compare credit cards, debit cards and travel cards to find the right mix for your trip to the Netherlands.

Low cost travel money options for The Netherlands

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Using a travel prepaid card

Take a travel money card to Amsterdam and avoid transaction fees completely.

All travel cards will allow you to load and spend Euros in the Netherlands. You won’t incur the additional currency conversion fee of between 2.5% and 3% which applies to the majority of personal finance products. If you are considering taking a travel card to access your spending money in The Netherlands, compare the fees for loading, reloading and ATM withdrawals.


  • Skip the currency conversion fees. Travel cards will allow to load your own money in Euros, so when you make payments in the Netherlands, you will avoid the fees that your bank normally charges to convert your money into a foreign currency.
  • Some of these travel cards give you rewards or frequent flyer points when you spend.
  • Know how much you’re spending. Travel cards are not attached to your regular bank account and have to be reloaded for use. It can help keep track of what’s going out, and how fast.
  • Travel focused. You usually get 2 cards when you apply for one of these accounts. The second card can be used as a backup if the main card is lost.


  • ATM fees, reload fees and issue fees have the potential to eat into your travel budget.
  • Public holidays and weekends in Britain can extend the time it takes to reload the card.

Can I use my debit card in Amsterdam and the Nertherlands?

Card payments are accepted in most places, but it’s a good idea to travel with some cash too. Credit cards and travel cards have travel benefits; however, these features come at a cost. If you are going to the Netherlands and want to find a cheap and easy way to access cash, compare the debit cards available for travel. Travel friendly debit cards will allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs in Amsterdam without charging exorbitant fees. Decent choices for fee-free withdrawals abroad include Starling Bank and Monzo’s current accounts and the Virgin Money M Plus account.


  • Provided by Visa and Mastercard, you’re protected against fraud under the card scheme’s zero liability guarantees, which give you full reimbursement you fall victim to fraud.
  • Some debit card accounts waive fees for currency conversion, some have extended ATM networks and other issuers waive international ATM fees.


  • You must wait for a replacement card if you lose your debit card or it’s stolen. This can take up to 2 weeks.
  • Run of the mill transaction accounts are expensive to use outside the UK.

Using credit cards

0% purchase cards can allow you to finance your trip to the Netherlands interest free.

Travel friendly credit cards come in many shapes and sizes, and offer a range of benefits to suit travellers spending abroad.

Credit cards that waive the international transaction fee are a popular option, but there’s more to consider than just avoiding the extra 3% charge. Extras like insurance represent a saving before you’ve even left the country. And there are interest free periods to consider as well. If you make the monthly minimum repayment, these cards allow you to make purchases and pay no interest for that time. If you pay back the balance by the time the introductory period ends, you could have given yourself an interest-free holiday.


  • Card payments are the norm in the Netherlands.
  • Credit cards designed for travel often have a number of freebies and add-ons to sweeten the deal. Insurance, free emergency overseas card replacement and airport lounge access are card features which can appeal to travellers.
  • Apply for a travel credit card and avoid paying extra international transaction charges.
  • Some credit cards offer extended interest free terms on purchases and nearly all cards off interest free days when you pay the account in full each month.


  • If you don’t make your monthly repayment, or the interest free period runs out and you still have money owing, you might be charged more than you planned.
  • Cash withdrawals from a credit card can incur cash advance fees and high interest charges.

Paying with cash in Netherlands

  • ATM availability
    Geldautomaats. “Geldautomaats” literally “money machines” are everywhere in the Netherlands and in Amsterdam; at post offices, supermarkets, train stations, hotels and on the street. They have an option for an English language menu and accept any card with chip and PIN technology. Banks and ATMs are widely available and are compatible with nearly all British cards.
    If you have a card issued by another Eurozone country, you won’t pay ATM fees at most ATMs in the Netherlands. Make sure you check with your bank about the charges for withdrawing money overseas, or change to a card that allows you withdraw money at a minimal cost.
  • Where to exchange money in the Netherlands
    Geldwisselkantoor. Money exchange offices or Geldwisselkantoor in Dutch are plentiful in the centre city of Amsterdam. The business is highly competitive, and most places usually offer quite fair rates for exchange. As always, check the daily exchange rates and ask how much money you will get in return before you hand your money over.
  • Be travel-savvy in Amsterdam
    The Netherlands and Amsterdam enjoy a well-deserved reputation for being safe. Exercise basic caution and use your common sense to avoid unpleasant situations.
  • The Red Light District
    Amsterdam’s infamous quarter for creatures of the night is not without some inherent danger. Robberies are not unheard of, and the trade of illegal substances attracts some shady characters. Keep your wits about you, and don’t wander off alone.
  • Split up your travel money
    Keep your emergency card separate from your everyday day card, and keep your passport separate from everything.
  • If your card is lost or stolen
    Call your bank in the UK immediately to have it cancelled and make arrangements for a replacement. If your passport or other identity documents go missing, contact the British Embassy immediately. Theft of identity papers contributes to the global black market of identity theft and human trafficking.

How much spending money to take to Netherlands?

Amsterdam and the Netherlands have a reputation for being expensive. How much spending money you will need for a trip to the Netherlands and Amsterdam will depend on how you travel and what you choose to do.

£20 to £30 per night
Double room
£80-90 per night
Luxurious hotel double room
£150-£300 per night
to-eatLunch time specials
£9 per person
Dinner, casual restaurant
£16 per person
Dinner, top restaurant
£45 per person
trainOutdoor exploration
Museums and trains
£15-£25 per person
First class trains, guided tours
£30-£50 per person

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change

What’s the best way to take money to Amsterdam and the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is, overall, a very modern and highly westernised destination. Card payments are the norm and as a major global leader in banking, financial services are widely available. In Amsterdam, expect to find shops, restaurants and cafes that will not accept cash at all. ATMs exist, and most payments can be made with chip and PIN technology or contactless touch-and-go cards. If you are heading off to Amsterdam and the Netherlands, find a card that allows you to shop without paying extra for the international transaction fee (currency conversion fee) and ATM fees.

A quick summary of your travel money options in Netherlands

Travel money optionProsConsiderations
Debit cards for travel
  • Avoid currency conversion fees on foreign transactions
  • Emergency cash facilities
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Pre-load and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Local ATM fee
  • Reloading time
  • No fee – Assuming cardholder is spending on a currency loaded onto the card
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion/ transaction fees
  • Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Traveller’s cheques
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Photo I.D. needed to cash cheques
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveller’s cheques
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

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Tipping in Amsterdam and the Netherlands

Round up to the nearest Euro. It’s not really expected to leave a substantial tip in most places. Generally, Dutch people just “round up” to the nearest euro or two.

5 travel tips for saving money in Amsterdam

  • Rent an apartment. One of the most popular ways to sleep well and affordably nowadays is by renting an apartment short term. Especially in comparatively more expensive cities like Amsterdam, apartment rentals are usually cheaper per person per night than your average hotel or hostel.
  • Buy an I Amsterdam Card. The ‘IAmsterdam City Card’ (previously Amsterdam Pass) is a city-issued tourist card that allows free entry into Amsterdam’s major museums, free unlimited use of public transport and discounts to a number of popular attractions. You can buy it online, in news agencies or tourist information offices with usage periods of 24, 48 and 72 hour.
  • Forget using a taxi. If you are on a budget, don’t plan on using taxis too often in Amsterdam. They are pricey, and other forms of transport are plentiful. Make like a local and bike it around town (pretty much the whole of the Netherlands is set up for biking) and the public transport network is efficient, well-connected, and affordable.
  • Pack a picnic. Restaurants and sit-down meals tend to be on the pricey side in Amsterdam. If you want your spending money to last, make a beeline for one of the many high-quality city-markets and take your food to the park or along the canal.
  • Buy your train ticket in advance. If you are venturing out, and visiting one of the many other charming Dutch cities like Rotterdam or Utrecht, you’ll find the tickets available for a much cheaper price online, or by booking well in advance. The prices rise substantially at the station at the last minute.

Currency in the Netherlands

To avoid overpaying when using cash, familiarise yourself with the Euro banknotes. The Euro comes in the denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.


Bottom line

Take a combination of the travel money products to get the most from your travel budget. A credit card is a great way to finance big ticket purchases, while using a travel card or a debit card is better for smaller everyday expenses and cash withdrawals. Give yourself a couple of different ways to access your travel budget in case something happens to one of your cards, as it can take you a couple of days to organise an emergency replacement card from Britain.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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