I prefer while traveling to carry as little cash as possible. I rely on my bank card. What do I need cash for while traveling around Scotland. Do B&B's take cards?
Some do, some do not. Are you booking ahead or just winging it?
I usually carry a couple hundred of local currency in cash, a debit card to get more cash and a credit card. Covered all bases.
Depends what type of places you'll be staying at. I can only speak of our experiences in Bavaria and Austria. During 9 trips, over 80 nights, we've stayed in family owned pensions, B&B style places, and have only stayed in a couple that took anything except cash. I don't know about Scotland.
Any smaller B&B or restaurant will want cash. Distilleries prefer cash for tours and tastings. They really don't use credit cards in Europe the way we do in the states so plan to pay in cash. Larger grocery stores will accept cards. Many tour companies and ticket sellers will accept cards. Since we made our reservations ahead of time, we knew what cash we would need. That way, we could anticipate our needs make fewer costly cash withdrawals - perhaps once a week or so.
Really is true. When all the world is equipped ATM, there is no reason to carry paper money. This is also the security and comfort!
As a one time B&B proprietor I have to say that smaller establishments like mine (1 - 3 letting rooms) would ask for payment in cash. It isn't because they want to be unhelpful, merely that the credit card companies involved levy high charges. I believe it's possible to make payments through mobile phones these days, but only where 3G is available. It wasn't available in my part of the Highlands.
Larger establishments would be able to absorb the credit card company costs and perhaps be able to offer card payments to guests wishing to pay that way.
As a rule of thumb a Bed and Breakfast is 1 - 3 letting rooms and Guest House is 4 -7 letting rooms.
If you book accommodation in advance then it's easy to ascertain which places require cash payments or not. Then you'll know how much to carry around with you.
In my experience, B&Bs don't take credit cards, as it's not cost effective for them.
You can use your card for hotels, train tickets, petrol, most restaurants, all supermarkets including small local ones and art galleries/ souvenir shops.
You will need cash for buses, cups of coffee and buying small items with a value of say less than £5. Some cafes have a minimum spend of £10 on a card.
You will find in the major cities that people pay for almost everything on a credit card, including a Starbucks coffee (better coffee shops are available), but cash is king rurally.
Very few B&B's don't take cards today. Some folks here may not have been in Scotland recently, things have changed in all but the very remotest spots. I have toured all over Scotland in 5 trips since 2008. I am booking a 3 week trip this year and only ran into one B&B that requested cash only... and that was in the Shetlands and just opened up this spring. I get all my cash on a US debit card. That way I get the best exchange rate and fees are insignificant (not all banks are so kind). Getting cash with a credit card however can be very expensive. I find the ATMs at the airport have higher exchange rates. So I either arrive with a small amount of cash from previous trips or obtain just a 100 GBP the airport to get me through with taxis etc. until I can use an ATM in town.
I have never had a problem with ATMs and my debit card (from a very small town bank) and is an "old fashion swiper" but I will have a new chip card before I go this time.
I've been in Scotland for the past week and can say I have used very little cash.
I can't speak for B & B's, but the only place I've had to use cash is on the buses/trams.
I have used cash for smaller purchases and taxis but I could have used cards. In some cases, the shops were surprised to see cash.
ATM's/Cashpoint machines are everywhere. You shouldn't have a problem.
I don't live in a remote part of Scotland and neither of the two B&B's which are next door to me accept credit card payments. Cash, bank transfers or PayPal are the way they do business. I know of two more B&B's nearby who do not accept plastic payment and they cannot be the only establishments in the area without credit card facilities.
Everywhere is different so take cards and cash to cover all eventualities.
Thank you everyone for your responses. They all were helpful.