Going to Greece? A guide to using a credit card in Greece | March 2019
Greece

Using a credit card in Greece

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A credit card without foreign transaction fees could save you money.

Finding a place to use a credit card in Greece is relatively easy given that it’s a major tourist destination. While larger establishments, such as hotels, bars and museums will mostly accept cards, smaller restaurants and shops may not. Having cash as a backup is a good idea.

Our pick for use overseas

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Compare cards for use in Greece

Consider getting a credit card without foreign transaction fees to save money on all of your purchases. In addition, you can save on flights with an airline cobranded credit card.

Name Product Foreign Transaction Fee Annual Fee APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
None
$95
18.24% to 25.24% variable
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$450
19.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.99% to 26.99% variable
60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
None
$195
17.99% to 26.99% variable
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion? Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Plus $100 after making a Delta purchase in the same time. Rates & Fees
None
$250
See Rates & Fees
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards? Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Save money in Greece with the following credit cards without foreign transaction fees:

United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which means you can earn and redeem miles on Turkish Airlines and Aegean Airlines flights between the US and Greece.

Delta Air Lines is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, which also has a number of flights — including the partner French airline KLM — between the US and Greece.

Potential credit card fees in Greece

There are two major fees to watch out for when you use a card to pay for products and services in Greece:

  • Foreign transaction fees. Depending on your card, you could pay a fee of up to 3% of the amount of every transaction you make. This could quickly add up if you spend too freely.
  • Currency conversion fees. If you pay a vendor in US dollars, you could be subject to a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). This has additional fees as it’s a poorer conversion rate you’d otherwise get at a bank.

Can I incur both fees?

Yes. Avoid this by choosing a credit card without foreign transaction fees and declining DCC if offered.

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Greece?

Owners of American Express credit cards will find it easier to pay at most locations than those who own Discover cards.

For an ATM cash withdrawal, Discover card owners can only use Citibank ATMs. For American Express cards, look for Alpha Bank, Ethniki Trapeza (National Bank) and Euronet ATMs among others.

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
Discover
check mark iconHigh
cross mark iconLow

Should I use my credit card to get cash in Greece

You’ll find ATMs in most Greek cities and resorts, including at train and bus stations, shopping malls and popular tourist destinations. Some ATMs may charge a withdrawal fee of around $2 to $3 per transaction. As of February 2019, some customers claim that Alpha Bank ATMs haven’t imposed these fees.

Using a credit card to make cash withdrawals will incur a cash advance APR and a cash advance fee for cash withdrawal. Avoid paying these fees by using a debit card for ATM withdrawal.

Travel money guide: Greece

Do taxis in Greece accept credit cards?

Some of the taxis have POS terminals. You can also try the Taxibeat app to get rides and pay through the app with your card.

Chip and PIN credit cards

Chip and PIN cards are widely used in Greece. You could use a chip-and-signature card, but to be on the safe side — ask your bank to provide you with a four-digit PIN for your card before traveling.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Greece?

Greece is a safe country when it comes to credit cards. However, it’s always recommended to follow certain safety tips, such as:

  • Select ATMs with care. Opt for ATMs in banks rather than ones on the street. Bank ATMs are less likely to have card-skimming devices.
  • Take two cards. Ensure you’re covered with a backup card in case something happens to your primary card.
  • Keep your card in sight. When you give your card to the counter, make sure you keep an eye on it.

How to prepare before traveling to Greece

  1. Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. This way, you’ll avoid paying up to 3% fee for each transaction. That’s up to $150 for every $5,000 spent in Greece.
  2. Visa and Mastercard are universally accepted. However, American Express owners could also find it easy to pay with their card. If you own a Discover card, look for the Diners Club logo.
  3. Notify your bank. Otherwise, they might interpret purchases made abroad as fraudulent, and block your card.
  4. Get your bank’s phone number. Resolve issues more quickly by simply calling.
  5. Get a backup card. Keep it in your hotel room safe and use it in case something happens to your primary card.
  6. Get some cash. Carry cash for incidentals or small restaurants and shops that may not accept credit cards.

Bottom line

As a major tourist destination in Europe, Greece is a credit card-friendly country. You can easily pay with your card in your hotel, in restaurants, bars and even taxis. However, make sure you have some cash on you as well.

Consider using a debit card for cash withdrawals to avoid cash advance fees and an APR. Also, a credit card without foreign transaction fees would be your best choice to save money on your purchases.

How to use a credit card in …

Frequently asked questions

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Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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