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Debit Visa card question

I have two different visa debit cards (which are my ATM cards)
Can I use a debit visa exactly like a visa credit card in Europe or should I also bring a visa credit card too?
Thanks

Posted by
16165 posts

I would not use a debit card for anything other than withdrawing money from ATM's. Debit card's have less recourse in case they get compromised.

Posted by
2628 posts

Another piece of advice is to make sure your debit and credit cards incur no foreign exchange fees from the issuing banks. Check out this info from the Travel Tips on this site.

Posted by
7720 posts

Be sure to tell your banks where you are going so they don't shut down your cards suspecting fraud.

Posted by
5689 posts

I would bring both. Not heavy to carry, and having a backup is always good in case the bancomat eats your card.
EDIT -- I meant bring both debit cards for ATM use. Bring credit card(s) for purchases.

Posted by
19203 posts

Do not keep all the cards in the same place, especially not in a wallet or purse.

For sure you would be safer using credit cards.

Posted by
3469 posts

Just because you can use a Debit card exactly like a Credit card in the US does not mean they are or work the same. You should bring an actual Credit card with you, preferably one that has no foreign transaction fees (many out there, most with no fees of any kind, you just have to look) for credit type transaction - hotels, rental cars, larger purchases.

Personally, I never use a Debit card for anything anywhere other than getting actual cash from an ATM. And in Europe Visa or MasterCard are really your only choice. American Express is accepted at larger chain hotels and rental car places but not so much elsewhere. Discover is unknown no matter what they might tell you. Also, make sure to request your PIN for your credit card. The card issuer will argue with you that the PIN is only for cash advances on your Credit card, which is true within the US. But it will allow you to use the Credit card at unmanned kiosks in Europe in many cases where the machine requires a PIN. And no, you will never be charged as a cash advance for any transactions that don't give you actual cash.

Whatever you take with you, make sure you inform the card issuer of your travel plans so they don't cut you off for unusual activity.

Posted by
6078 posts

Take a real credit card. You will not be asked if you want your debit card used for credit. And you won't be able to transfer funds from savings to checking at ATMs with your debit card.

Posted by
2349 posts

I'll be the contrary voice here.

Some people don't want or can't get a credit card. If that's the case, you can use a debit card. It would be best to use it primarily for cash from an ATM, and then use that cash for most of your purchases. Use the card for large transactions, such as the hotel bill. I've done that for my first two trips to Europe, before we'd bothered to get a credit card. It was a dedicated debit card that we used solely for travel. It was not linked to our other accounts.

If you have a cc, better to follow the advice others have given, and take it. But if you only have a debit, you can make it work.

Debit cards now have most of the same safeguards that credit cards have. If your card has been compromised or stolen, you will get those funds back. However, it may take a bit, and if those funds are gone, you have nothing. Not the situation you want to be in while on vacation.

Posted by
2489 posts

"Debit cards now have most of the same safeguards that credit cards have. If your card has been compromised or stolen, you will get those funds back. However, it may take a bit, and if those funds are gone, you have nothing."

The best argument yet for having a credit card in addition to your debit card. We use our debit card only at ATM's that are located in or at a bank. Credit cards for hotels, some restaurants.

Posted by
2525 posts

We have two debit cards, each with a unique number, tied to a single account. If one card is compromised the other remains functional and safe.

Posted by
5657 posts

We have two debit cards, each with a unique number, tied to a single account.
Our Capital One credit cards have a similar feature - different card numbers but one account. If one card is compromised, Capital One can lock that card while allowing the other card to remain serviceable. That said, we carry a backup credit card (with less favorable FX terms than Cap One) and back up debit/ATM cards (account). We have been fortunate to not need to use our back up accounts.