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Cash or Card for Post COVID-19 Travel

Been reading that using cash in Europe is increasingly rare. We usually give our kids cash for spending money, but do post COVID-19 protocols mean we should move to something like a prepaid card?

Posted by
285 posts

What will your kids spend their money on? There are no COVID-19 protocols that ban the use of cash. There are safety protocols that ban the use of cash in for instance public transport, but other than that the vast majority of places will accept cash.

Posted by
1035 posts

Yeah, see if your bank or CU offers either a Visa or a Mastercard Prepaid Card. Easy to top-up on line and easy to control the amount on the card in case one of the kids were to misplace theirs. I would stay away from the prepaid cards hanging on the racks at the grocery check-out lines - horrible to manage and seemingly, always fees.

I also use my Prepaid Visa card as an ATM card, and I leave my bank ATM/Debit card at home.

Posted by
5728 posts

Cards have become more widely used, but it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say cash is rarely used. I paid cash for a small ticket item today. Presumably on a prepaid card you have a time limit to spend the money? Few places are going to refuse cash.

Posted by
1035 posts

"Presumably on a prepaid card you have a time limit to spend the money"

There are no time limits on BANK issued Prepaid cards

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks all. We are planning to provide a fixed amount to our kids for the trip and they are saving their own money to top it off. Knowing my kids most of the spending will be at the nearest vintage clothing store to the hotel. But also snacks and souvenirs. I’m having trouble locating prepaid travel cards that don’t have a lot of fees so maybe I’ll just give them cash.

Posted by
28147 posts

there have been previous reports on the Forums that some cards purchased in the US are only redeemable there, and of no use in Europe.

I'd be careful and read all the fine print, they may wind up more trouble than they are worth.

Posted by
235 posts

I’ve been in Germany, Belgium and Netherlands recently and have encountered ‘card only, no cash’ fairly often for food items (which is all I’ve been purchasing other than hotels which I choose to charge) but Italy and Austria have been either card and/or cash only.

Posted by
6818 posts

You know, there are people who've been saying that about the US too. But its not true. Heck, there are plenty of places in my metro area (including some big name retailers), who don't take tap or Apple Pay. And what post-COVID protocols. We're not even post-COVID. The death of cash has been greatly exaggerated.

Posted by
1035 posts

"some cards purchased in the US are only redeemable there, and of no use in Europe"

Yeah, most likely the Prepaid cards hanging on the racks at the grocery checkout lines. Bank issued Prepaid Visa or Mastercard cards shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by
285 posts

“ Knowing my kids most of the spending will be at the nearest vintage clothing store to the hotel. But also snacks and souvenirs.”

Your kids will have zero problems paying for these items in cash. No problem whatsoever at all.

I don’t know where the idea comes from that cash is now banned or something due to COVID. It isn’t. Some places don’t accept cash, but it’s for safety or practical reasons only, and has nothing to do with COVID. On busses and trams for instance, you can only buy a ticket with a debit or credit card. This is to prevent theft and also for practical reasons so that the driver doesn’t have to fumble around giving change.

Posted by
1035 posts

"something due to COVID"

EDIT

well, it did have something to do with Covid, in that fewer people wanted to physically handle cash, be they sellers or buyers and that's why more sellers moved to preferring CCs or DCs only, with tap technology.

It didn't matter to me because I have been cashless and using tap technology for years, whether at home or abroad.

Posted by
285 posts

Periscope; By only quoting these 4 words you’re taking my entire comment completely out of context. My comment was about cash payments, not about people not wanting to touch a POS.

The OP wants to know if, due to COVID protocols cash is no longer accepted in Europe. That isn’t true, at least not in the Netherlands, which is the country forum the OP posted in. I will repeat, there is no need to get the kids some kind of prepaid card. They will be able to use cash to make their purchases.

Posted by
8872 posts

Why not just give them the money, they can put it in their account and use their own credit or debit cards as they need while they travel. If they need cash they can use an ATM.

See no need for prepaid card.

Posted by
293 posts

While I have occasionally had a credit or debit card rejected or not work or whatever, I have never had cash rejected in any country. It never hurts to have a bit of cash with you. Just the other day, in NYC, I was trying to buy a train ticket from a machine. For some reason, the machine did not like either of my two cards - who knows why! I finally fed a $10 bill into the machine and it spat out the ticket (along with a pile of change LOL).

Posted by
6 posts

To the OP
Cash is vastly overrated. everyone asks if you want to pin. Hotels, shops, and transportation is cc. Restaurants are cc.
Only rarely will you find a store or cafe that takes cash. Get them a credit card without international transaction fees, and set notification options to a small trigger amount to track their expenses sent to your cell phone . You will get notified by the time they leave the door of the store or restaurant.

Posted by
285 posts

“ Cash is vastly overrated. everyone asks if you want to pin. Hotels, shops, and transportation is cc. Restaurants are cc.
Only rarely will you find a store or cafe that takes cash. ”
I’m sorry but this simply isn’t correct. While it’s true that some places may prefer card payments, there are only very few places that are card only.

I have traveled widely in Europe and most recently to The Netherlands (post-Covid). Cash is still king in The Netherlands. We were surprised that several restaurants and grocery stores did not accept credit. The Dutch are glad to use a Dutch-issued debit card, but next time I will withdraw more Euros.

Posted by
285 posts

Statistics show that the vast majority of payments in the Netherlands are done via debit card. Historically, credit cards aren’t used that much in the Netherlands. There are plenty of Dutch people who don’t have a credit card or who only use it on holidays to pay for the deposit on rental cars etc. So instead of saying that “cash is king” in the Netherlands, “Debit card is king” is much more accurate.

Posted by
269 posts

Just left Amsterdam. Signs everywhere saying “Card only. NO cash”. The only place we used cash was at the albert Cuyp street market and tips to our boat tour guide. At one grocery store- albert Hein?, the self service machine wouldn’t take Mastercard or Visa- debit cards only, but other albert Hein’s did accept our credit cards.
Visiting Germany now, they prefer cash. One restaurant asked if we could pay in cash and didn’t want us to use our credit card.

Posted by
9930 posts

I must have been in a different Amsterdam, lol. I used cash many places although I also tapped my VISA card a lot. I was in Haarlem earlier last week and the gelato shop I stopped in was cash only except for some local CCs or maybe they were bankcard logos. No ViSA or Mastercard sign on the doorway. I really only used cash when I needed some coins for tipping/bathrooms/etc though.

I think the kids will be find with cash as well.