Methods of Payment

In Germany, payment is made in euros. Cash is still commonly used in Germany and it can therefore happen that smaller stores, kiosks, snack bars, or restaurants do not accept card payments.

When you arrive, you should bring cash with you or be able to withdraw cash from an ATM using a major credit card. Please note that with credit cards or other internationally valid bank cards you can only withdraw a certain, limited amount of cash from an ATM in Mainz each day and that you will have to pay a sometimes quite high fee for each cash withdrawal.

As a rule, you can also pay with major credit cards - but please note that stores such as grocery stores and supermarkets often do not accept credit cards and that it is often only possible to pay by credit card for amounts of €20 or more. More common than the credit card in Germany is the EC card, which you receive when you open a checking account.

More common than the credit card for payment purposes in Germany is the EC card, which you receive when you open a checking account.

Recurring payments such as rent, insurance, etc. are also handled with the help of the checking account in Germany. There are two options for this:

  • Direct debit: You allow a company/entity/person to have money debited from your checking account. Many institutions now require direct debit.
  • Standing order: You arrange for your bank/Sparkasse to transfer money to a company/entity/individual's checking account on a regular basis.

Therefore, it makes sense for you to open a checking account at a financial institution - bank or Sparkasse - as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany. When doing so, please pay attention to the following:

  • Find out whether your bank in your home country has a correspondent bank in Germany. This will make transfers from your account in your home country to your account in Germany easier and usually cheaper.
  • Clarify what the costs of the account are, e.g. for account management and for transfers.
  • Ask whether online banking is available.

You cannot pay with foreign checks in Germany!

In addition to the simple bank transfer, which you can often initiate from your checking account via online banking, there are also a number of other payment services that are common for paying for online shopping, paying in stores, or for private money transfers (e.g. with friends). The most common payment services include:

  • Paypal (online shopping, money transfers between friends)
  • Kwitt (service of the Sparkassen and Volksbanken, TAN-free money transfers between friends up to a limit of €30 per transfer, online banking must be set up)
  • Apple Pay (payment via smartphone, Apple users, requires EC/credit card)
  • Google Pay (payment via smartphone with NFC function, all Android users, requires EC/credit card or Paypal account)
  • Samsung Pay (payment via smartphone with NFC function, Samsung users only, requires EC/credit card)