Amsterdam through British eyes

Plastic, Cash or Cards: What to Bring with You to Amsterdam


When I first moved to the Netherlands I had a little bit of a shock when I went to the supermarket for the first time by myself. I was standing at the checkout, and my credit card was refused. I didn’t understand why, but then the sales assistant asked me if it was an international card. When I said yes, she said that they didn’t accept credit cards (unless, of course it’s from a Dutch bank). It was at this point that I wasn’t really sure what to do next. I had no cash, and no way of paying. All I had was a cashcard.

So, what should you take with you to Amsterdam, so that you won’t end up in your very own awkward situation? Plastic, cash or cards?

Cash: This is by far the best option in my opinion. Everywhere in Amsterdam accepts cash, and if you buy your currency before you arrive you’ll get the best deal (and probably more for your money). You can always leave some of it in the safe in your room if you don’t feel comfortable carrying around a large amount of cash. It sensible to have a backup if some money does get stolen, you will still have some in your room.

A credit card or debit card: Surprisingly enough there are a lot of places that just flat-out refuse credit and international debit cards, especially if they aren’t new cards which have the chip in it. However, it is still worth bringing as while some places refuse them, others do accept them. They are a good backup in case anything goes wrong while you’re here. You can also use your debit card to withdraw cash, but please consider a currency card as a better alternative to a debit card.

A currency card: These are a good option, as you are often getting a much better exchange rate than if you were to withdraw money with a debit (or God forbid, a credit card). It works in exactly the same way as a debit card, so you can pay for things on it in places they accept cards and withdraw cash at a reasonable rate. I use a Caxton card when I am travelling abroad.

The great thing is that there are ATM’s everywhere, so you won’t need to worry about withdrawing cash. I hope this has helped. If you have any tips on what to bring money-wise to Amsterdam, please share.



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