Nowadays, when traveling, a debit card and a credit card should be enough in most cases. Changing money in advance in the Netherlands is expensive and usually not necessary. But what’s cheaper: paying with your debit card or with your credit card? And is it beter to withdraw money from an ATM, or to pay directly with your card in shops and restaurants?
With your debit card
Paying with your debit card is almost always cheaper than withdrawing money with it. Within the euro countries, paying with a debit card or credit card is free. Withdrawing money with a debit card doesn’t cost anything either. But it does with a credit card – even in the Netherlands. Outside the euro countries, like the United States, and also in European non-euro countries, like Great Britain, your bank will charge a fee. For a debit card payment, most banks will charge a 1% conversion fee on average. Some banks only charge a fixed fee (€0,15) per payment. That’s often cheaper and more transparent.
Or your credit card?
A credit cards is widely accepted around the world and can also serve as a deposit, e.g. when renting a car. Paying with a credit card is usually more expensive than with a debit card. 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, some shops are charging a payment fee too. 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“
Although paying with a debit card is generally cheaper, sometimes you will want to withdraw money. Outside the euro zone, that’s amost always more expensive than a payment, because on top of the conversion fee you most probably also have to pay a withdrawal fee. Banks charge €2,25 on average, on top of the conversion fee. 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. If you need a large amount of cash at once, you’ll have to do multiple withdrawals at ATM’s 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.
When you arrive at your destination after a long journey, it’s convenient to have some cash, so you don’t immediately have to search for an ATM. But it’s much more expensive to buy foreign currency in the Netherlands than to withdraw cash on-site. For example: buying $200 in the Netherlands is about €8 to €20 more expensive than withdrawing cash in the States. Moreover: the ‘stranger’ the currency, the highter the cost. It’s therefore wise, before your trip, to find out if there’s an ATM at your destination. Just google for “ATM locator”.
“Check before your trip
if there is an ATM at your destination“
If at the end of the trip you still have some foreign currency, you can change them back to euros, usual against very unfavorable exchange rates. It’s smarter to spend your cash as much as possible during the trip. In some restaurants and gas stations it’s possible to pay partly in cash and the rest with your debit card.
|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%|