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Purchases in The Netherlands

I caught the end of a news report today and it sounded like a special type of debit card is becoming more and more prevalent in The Netherlands. It mentioned that some stores take nothing else, including cash. We are going to Amsterdam in May next year. Does anyone know if we need to have something besides a vanilla debit card? Thanks!

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
15020 posts

Our book researcher was there this fall and I'm sure did not encounter any shop that wouldn't take cash. ATMs that work with just their own, local cards have always been around for some types of financial institutions, but it's hard to imagine that anything will happen to the ATMs with the Visa, MasterCard, and Plus logo which work with most debit cards.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
8552 posts

I have never run into any merchant that in Amsterdam that didn't accept cash. The Albert Heijn supermarket chain only accepts a local debit card for card payments (no credit cards: chip or magnetic strip), but will accept cash otherwise. Dutch rail only accepts chip & pin cards at their machines and at the counter; but you can still use cash. My magnetic strip credit and debit card will work for purchases everywhere else.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
3193 posts

As long ago as the Floriade in Venlo, we encountered admission booths that DID NOT accept American "swipe" credit cards. At Het Loo royal palace, the swipe slot was taped over with duct tape, and only Chip and PIN and cash were accepted. No problems at hotels, however. Note that Target will soon return to dual mode POS terminals that failed to win acceptance five years ago.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
9729 posts

I was there in May 2012, and I lost count of stores that had taped over the swipe slot on their card machine, meaning that they only accepted chip and pin cards (whether credit, debit, or both, I'm not sure). But cash always worked. And hotels accepted swipe credit cards (although I paid in cash, I made a specific point of asking).

As noted above, Albert Heijn, a major grocery store chain with stores everywhere, only accepts local debit cards or cash; no credit cards, even if C&P, no matter where they're from.

The upshot is, be prepared to use more cash in the Netherlands than you might elsewhere. I did not have any trouble using my swipe ATM card to get cash.

Posted by mschonekas OP
105 posts

thanks, all for the help! If nothing else, I guess I can go begging for a chip card!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
8552 posts

Gonna be in Amsterdam in April, and in checking out some websites about the city I did come across some reference to a couple of attractions that have indeed gone cashless: the new food market (Foodhallen) in western part of the city and the new EYE film center across the river from Centraal Station. These places will only accept chip & cash:(

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

Michael - I know better than to doubt you, I am shocked to hear that cash is not legal tender! I could not find your info on Foodhallen, but in looking at the "Eye" they phrase it as "only pay using credit cards and PIN cards". I would think that may mean your PIN'd ATM debit card. We too will be there in late April, hopefully one of us can get by there and report on what we US residents locked in the mid-20th Century are supposed to do if they want our $$s.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
8552 posts

A follow up to reports of some merchants in Amsterdam only accepting plastic....
I was in Amsterdam last week and can report that I did come across a few merchants that won't accept cash. Two merchants (both small independent clothing boutiques) in the nine-streets shopping district and one restaurant at the airport. Other than that no problems at 99% of all the other merchants around the city.
I also had no issues with my magnetic strip credit and debit card. I used these cards over twenty times to make purchases across the city and outside of Dutch Rail, no merchant refused my cards. At the Royal Palace they had tape across the slot of of their CC machine, but the clerk told me that was just to prevent people with Am Ex cards from using it as they will crash the machine....MC and Visa no problem.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
4329 posts

mschonekas, I suggest you ask the Webmaster to move this thread to either 'Netherlands' or even 'General Europe'. You've posted under the 'Rick Steves' TV Episodes' heading, so some people will definitely miss your thread. If someone wanted to access your thread a week...or two months...from now, they'd never be able to find it again.