We will be in Amsterdam for 5 days in June, staying in an apartment. I seem to see conflicting advice about the use of American credit cards. My company, VISA, tells me they do not have the kind with the chip. Will I have a problem using my regular credit card? Can they be used in manned train stations?
Chip and pin in Dutch train ticket machines and at Dutch train ticket windows. No swiping.
What do we do if the chip kind of card is unavailable? How difficult is it to use cash?
What we did in Amsterdam last year was to use our debit card (debit card, not credit card) to easily get money from ATMs. We then used cash to pay for everything from our B&B, meals, groceries, train tickets, and museum entries. That worked out really well for us.
You will not be able to use your US credit card at any train station in the Netherlands. If you had a chip, you could use it ONLY at the Schiphol Airport station and Amsterdam Centraal. This goes for a live transaction with a ticket clerk as well as a ticket machine. Use cash or buy your tickets in advance and print them out. The main supermarket chain, Albert Heijn, does not take US credit cards (even if they have a chip--I've tried with mine). However, hotels, shops, and most restaurants will take your US credit card even if it doesn't have a chip.
go back and check with your bank to see what network they are associated with. therer is usually some type of network symbol you can look for on the bank/atms.
Thats what i do. If the ATM doesnt have that particular symbol i will try it anyway to see if it will work. If not, i just move onto to a different ATM.
If you plan on taking the train from Schiphol to the main station, you will need to use the manned ticketoffice as Nigel states.
just so you know, in the 2+ years ive been traveling in Europe i havent had any issue with using my non CNP card. If an ATM wont use it, i move/try a different one. When it comes to restaurants/stores and such, i will ask a clerk/employee when i enter. Just so you know, since many of the people do have CNP, the flow thru the checkout lines is fairly fast. Using cash or our cards slow things down. IF/when you do use your card, they will do the same thing they do over here and print out 2 receipts. One for you to sign and one for them.
With the exception of Dutch Rail and the Albert Heijn Supermarkets, you won't have any problems using magnetic strip cards. Any merchant that deals with tourists on a regular basis has the hardware to read our cards. There are a couple of chains that will accept magnetic strip cards but only if you know the credit card's pin number: Etos health & beuty chain, and the Albert Heijn convenience stores.
Is there a merchant in AMS that accepts USA-issued credit cards?
By AMS do you mean Schipol Airport? If so, all merchants at the airport will accept magnetic strip cards, except Dutch Rail.
Will cabs take credit cards?
My experience with credit cards is much the same as the other have mentioned. If you're going to be buy rail tickets (especially at Amsterdam Central), the ticket office there will ONLY accept "Chip & PIN" cards. The same is true at automated ticket Kiosks. I have a "C&P" card but never tried to use it at the supermarket chain that was mentioned.
AFAIK, you should have no problems getting cash from an ATM with a magnetic stripe card. It would probably be a good idea to keep some cash at hand, as you may find that's the only form of payment you'll be able to use in some cases.