Nowadays, when traveling, a debit card and a credit card should be enough in most cases. Changing money in advance is expensive and usually not necessary. But what’s cheaper: paying with your debit card or with your credit card? And is it better to withdraw money from an ATM, or to pay directly with your card in shops and restaurants?
Paying with your debit card
Paying with your debit card is almost always cheaper than withdrawing money from it. Within the euro countries, paying with a debit card or credit card is free. Withdrawing money with your debit card in another European Union country does not cost more than it does in your home country. Banks based in EU countries outside the euro area must also apply this rule. You should be aware that if you are paying in EU currencies other than euros, you may still be charged a currency conversion fee by your card provider when you use your card in another country.
Paying with your credit card
Credit cards are widely accepted around the world and can also serve as a deposit, e.g., when renting a car. Credit card transaction fees are typically higher than debit cards. Most banks charge an average conversion fee of 2% for a credit card payment, that’s 1% more than for a debit card payment. Outside the euro countries, shops may also charge a payment fee. In that case, they’re obliged to notify the customer in advance.
“Paying with a credit card is usually more expensive
than with a debit card.“
Withdrawing money from a foreign ATM is sometimes unavoidable. Outside the euro zone, that’s almost always more expensive than a payment. On top of the conversion fee, you may incur a withdrawal fee – usually around €2,25. The maximum amount you can withdraw per day outside the euro zone is €500 for all banks. However, a foreign bank may lower that limit. To withdraw large cash amounts from ATMs, you’ll have to do multiple withdrawals at ATMs of different banks, or spread the withdrawals over several days. Foreign banks may also charge additional fees for using an ATM. This must be specified beforehand on the display or the machine itself.
Source: consumentenbond.nl and europa.eu
|Average payment costs||Average withdrawal costs|
|With debit card||With credit card||With debit card||With credit card|
|€0,15 or 1%||2%||€2,25 + 1%||€4,50 + 1,5%|
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