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Old 12.07.2017, 11:31
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Cash or Credit?

Hello all helpful EF members,

As I am moving from Berlin, Germany to Switzerland I wanted to know if it is possible to pay with plastic?
In Berlin you need to be stacking cash in your pocket cos plastic is not accepted. For example IKEA here does not accept foreign credit cards.

Do I need to keep cash on me in Switzerland?

Thanks in advance
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Old 12.07.2017, 11:34
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Hello all helpful EF members,

As I am moving from Berlin, Germany to Switzerland I wanted to know if it is possible to pay with plastic?
In Berlin you need to be stacking cash in your pocket cos plastic is not accepted. For example IKEA here does not accept foreign credit cards.

Do I need to keep cash on me in Switzerland?

Thanks in advance
Afaik IKEA only accepts local cards, here and in Berlin (a lot of shops in Berlin accept cards, by the way)

And yes, you can pay a lot with debit or credit cards. Just not all are accepted everywhere, as with most countries.
So best to get a card from a Swiss bank when you are here.
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:01
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Re: Cash or Credit?

Isn't the point of a credit card exactly that? Being able to pay anywhere?
I never had any problems anywhere (except some places in Africa that just don't do credit cards full stop, so I didn't even try).

PS: Schengen, free movement of people but not credit cards?
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:07
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Re: Cash or Credit?

I paid extensively here with a foreign card. Used a credit card of a foreign bank which worked fine.
Used Forex currency card which was loaded with CHF and that too worked fine.

Just check if Visa or mastercard are acceptable at the point of sale.
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:11
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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PS: Schengen, free movement of people but not credit cards?
Works for me, just had some issues in Indonesia and China, but then that is not Schengen.

Probably a similar issue for OP as people have with PF cards? Those are not accepted everywhere.
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Old 12.07.2017, 12:22
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Hello all helpful EF members,

As I am moving from Berlin, Germany to Switzerland I wanted to know if it is possible to pay with plastic?
In Berlin you need to be stacking cash in your pocket cos plastic is not accepted. For example IKEA here does not accept foreign credit cards.

Do I need to keep cash on me in Switzerland?

Thanks in advance
Haven't been to IKEA in years so maybe they've improved but I definitely had my share of credit card hassle there. But then they've never exactly been the standard of customer friendliness. The normal supermarkets here seem to have no problem accepting plastic these days. I think in MIGROS the self check out thingies are for the most part plastic only and the COOP ones are dual plastic and cash. Definitely MC works in many/most places. AMEX is a bit more hit and miss, but even that has gotten better than it used to be.

Ethnic shops and street food still seem to largely cash only though in my observation.
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:16
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Afaik IKEA only accepts local cards, here and in Berlin (a lot of shops in Berlin accept cards, by the way)
Huh? Have you tried? My Swiss credit card worked perfectly in a Belgian IKEA lately and I am pretty sure it works the other way around. Exception is Amex, which most shops don't accept as it is the most expensive CC for merchants. Visa, Master CCs are fine and so are Maestor and Visa debit cards. Even in hard discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi these days.
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:24
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Huh? Have you tried? My Swiss credit card worked perfectly in a Belgian IKEA lately and I am pretty sure it works the other way around. Exception is Amex, which most shops don't accept as it is the most expensive CC for merchants. Visa, Master CCs are fine and so are Maestor and Visa debit cards. Even in hard discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi these days.

Maybe it "discriminates" then? Always have had issues with Dutch cards at IKEA (and it didnīt want my Swiss one either in Germany).
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:36
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Re: Cash or Credit?

Was this a recent experience? Aldi and co only started to upgrade their card machines about a year ago... (and I had problems with Swiss cards at some German gas stations who clearly used the cheapest card system available... )
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:42
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Maybe it "discriminates" then? Always have had issues with Dutch cards at IKEA (and it didnīt want my Swiss one either in Germany).
Media Markt in Germany also seems to have trouble with me Swiss MC. Saturn have a similar problem. Bauhaus is good though.
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:43
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Re: Cash or Credit?

Tip of the day:

Just carry CHF 1000 notes, they take up less space than even cards!

Tom
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Old 12.07.2017, 13:47
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Tip of the day:

Just carry CHF 1000 notes, they take up less space than even cards!

Tom
And because they can't give you change they happily take your credit card
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Old 12.07.2017, 15:57
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Re: Cash or Credit?

As a safety precaution many banks/credit card companies have a block on debit/credit cards outside of country of origin.

Often a phone call before you leave to your bank/credit card company, you can get the block lifted for other countries you choose with start and end dates. I once forgot to do it before travelling and did it whilst away, but it is much easier for me to do before departure.
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Old 12.07.2017, 16:02
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Tip of the day:

Just carry CHF 1000 notes, they take up less space than even cards!

Tom
and also handy for lighting your cigar.
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Old 12.07.2017, 16:02
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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As a safety precaution many banks/credit card companies have a block on debit/credit cards outside of country of origin.

Often a phone call before you leave to your bank/credit card company, you can get the block lifted for other countries you choose with start and end dates. I once forgot to do it before travelling and did it whilst away, but it is much easier for me to do before departure.

Good point!

That wasnīt my issue as I have set my cards for certain countries. My sister has similar issues with her Dutch Rabobank card.

As certain banks are "combined" into accepting cards from members (as in: you can get money at a Commerzbank ATM for free when you have a Deutsche Bank card), Iīd assume the issue could be more related to that? A bank outside of the direct clearing channels for the card reader.
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Old 12.07.2017, 16:22
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Re: Cash or Credit?

Why wouldn't a foreign credit card not work here? Or really anywhere? Debit cards - yes, that makes sense, but credit cards? Heck I've even used my cards out in the sticks in the Indonesias and Bolivias of the world, both debit and credit.

Maybe you need to check with the bank cause at least with my debit card, I have to "unblock" it for certain countries, can do so temporarily (which I do when I travel to a place for the first time and presumably only once) or permanently (which I do for countries where I travel to regularly). Never had to do that for credit cards, though, they worked literally everywhere so far.

I found MasterCard or Visa by far the best and most widely accepted option though, Amex is an annoyance.

I also pay exclusively by card at Ikea here, granted with Swiss ones, but I never had an issue.
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Old 12.07.2017, 16:48
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Why wouldn't a foreign credit card not work here? Or really anywhere? Debit cards - yes, that makes sense, but credit cards? Heck I've even used my cards out in the sticks in the Indonesias and Bolivias of the world, both debit and credit.

Maybe you need to check with the bank cause at least with my debit card, I have to "unblock" it for certain countries, can do so temporarily (which I do when I travel to a place for the first time and presumably only once) or permanently (which I do for countries where I travel to regularly). Never had to do that for credit cards, though, they worked literally everywhere so far.

I found MasterCard or Visa by far the best and most widely accepted option though, Amex is an annoyance.

I also pay exclusively by card at Ikea here, granted with Swiss ones, but I never had an issue.


It's not your bank, its the card terminal of the merchant. Some cheapskate companies in Germany for some technical reason seem to only work with EU cards. In other words: not with CH ones...
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Old 12.07.2017, 17:04
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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As a safety precaution many banks/credit card companies have a block on debit/credit cards outside of country of origin.

Often a phone call before you leave to your bank/credit card company, you can get the block lifted for other countries you choose with start and end dates. I once forgot to do it before travelling and did it whilst away, but it is much easier for me to do before departure.
Really? I've been using credit cards all over Europe for 20 years, with quite a few different issuers, and never had this. I did have the bank phone me once to verify that I really was in Serbia.
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Old 12.07.2017, 17:10
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Really? I've been using credit cards all over Europe for 20 years, with quite a few different issuers, and never had this. I did have the bank phone me once to verify that I really was in Serbia.
Itīs often also the other way around. UBS informed me that I could now block certain countries, which i did.
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Old 12.07.2017, 17:39
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Re: Cash or Credit?

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Itīs often also the other way around. UBS informed me that I could now block certain countries, which i did.
I wonder what you based your decision on.

As I'm willing to go "God knows where" tomorrow when the opportunity comes up, I would never block my credit card for any country.

And if I'd wake up somewhere I didn't go to voluntarily, all the more reason my credit card should work
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