Germany is one of the most progressive and richest countries in Europe. So why is it almost impossible to pay on card in Berlin?
I’ve heard a couple of answers, like all the credit cards are owned by American companies, and this means the shop owners/ bar owners would need to pay a tax to America, which they don’t want to. Whatever the reason, in the 21st Century in a first world country, it’s crazy. And certainly makes life more difficult.
Make sure you carry cash and always use a cash point when you see one, because you don’t know when there’ll be another one (Cash machines are quite sparse around Berlin, and you need to use your own bank or you’ll be charged outrageously – about 6€!). And you really never know if you will be able to pay on card, so it’s safer to assume you can’t.
In London I paid for almost everything on card. Cash is messy. Cash takes time. One swipe and you’re done. It was a bit like stepping back in time when I first moved here and realised how little you could pay on card. Even in many developing countries around the world, I’ve still been able to pay on credit card.
It does have its plus points I guess. You’re more aware of the money you’re spending. If you want to know that is!
But it does mean you can be caught out when doing your shopping. When you get to the till, can’t pay on card, and then have to leave the shop, cycle to the nearest bank and come back with cash. Very time inefficient.
Some places you can pay by card, but just with an EC card. Like with BVG for an u-bahn ticket. But this only helps people who live in Germany and have this type of card. Tourists must have coins or can just struggle trying to get the machines to accept notes!