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Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?  
User currently offlineFriendlySkies From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 4120 posts, RR: 5
Posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 10488 times:

As I mentioned in my last thread regarding clothing, I'm going to be studying abroad in Europe this summer. I'm trying to finalize what I'll need, and I am thinking about spending.

I have a VISA, Discover, and AMEX, however my Visa limit is too low for my total needs and I know Discover isn't really accepted outside of the US. I have heard mixed things on AMEX, can any of our European members (including the UK!) give me an idea of where American Express cards are typically accepted?

Thanks!

EDIT: I meant to post this in non-av, can someone please move it

[Edited 2007-03-28 15:12:04]

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMhodgson From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2002, 5047 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 10452 times:

It is reasonably widely accepted in the UK, though most smaller businesses and shops won't take it as Amex demand higher commission on transactions than other card retailers.


No trees were harmed by this message. However, several million electrons were terribly inconvenienced
User currently offlineHimmelstormer From Denmark, joined Mar 2005, 143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 10428 times:

Amex is also accepted at hotels and restaurants(and many shops) in Denmark and I think it's pretty much the same throughout the EU. However, as mentioned in earlier reply, it's probably a bit more tricky in smaller businesses or in cities that don't see a lot of tourists. Better have a VISA back-up, that card is accepted everywhere(and also Mastercard).

User currently offlineSky0000547 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2004, 270 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 10411 times:

I have an Amex as my primary card in the UK but always carry a MC as a backup. Most big stores in the UK now accept Amex including petrol stations, supermarkets.

User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2728 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10379 times:

Don't count on it. It is often refused. Visa is universally excepted. MC a little less.


When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10341 times:

I gave up on AMEX years ago - too many places don't take it.

User currently onlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3771 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 10328 times:

Quoting FriendlySkies (Thread starter):

I have a VISA, Discover, and AMEX, however my Visa limit is too low for my total needs and I know Discover isn't really accepted outside of the US

I didn't think Discover was really accepted IN the US either...  silly 

Quoting Himmelstormer (Reply 2):
Amex is also accepted at hotels and restaurants(and many shops) in Denmark and I think it's pretty much the same throughout the EU.

I don't know about the rest of the EU, but here in Sweden AMEX has launched itself a few years ago, and is accepted at many shops, gas stations, and most hotels.

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineBHXFAOTIPYYC From Portugal, joined Jun 2005, 1644 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 10297 times:

It's widely accepted her in Portugal. If any establishment takes credit cards then they will, about 95% of the time time, take Amex too.


Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
User currently offlineRunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2214 posts, RR: 35
Reply 8, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10285 times:

In France it's about 50/50. Most big stores don't even accept it.

Switzerland is a bit better, despite Amex claiming that everyone accepts it that is still a lie.

UK isn't too bad. Virtually all commerces accept it in the city where I live (maybe the fact that Amex have their Euro HQs there might have something to do with it).


User currently offlineORFflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10279 times:

I never had any problems with my AMEX card when I was traveling in Europe. It is widely accepted around the world for all travel related industry, (transportation, restaurants and lodging), and more and more these days at non travel related businesses.

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 8):
In France it's about 50/50

Well, it is France.  duck   Wink


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 10267 times:

Quoting ORFflyer (Reply 9):
Well, it is France.

Unfortunately I fear it won't be much better here in Germany. Although it's more because the use of credit cards is not as widespread in Germany as in many other countries and not so because of Amex.
I use my Mastercard and Visa mainly for internet shopping and very, very seldom for traditional shopping - that's probably typical German card holder behavior. Maestro debit cards on the other hand are very common over here.

pelican


User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2728 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (7 years 7 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 10239 times:

Quoting ORFflyer (Reply 9):
I never had any problems with my AMEX card when I was traveling in Europe. It is widely accepted around the world for all travel related industry, (transportation, restaurants and lodging), and more and more these days at non travel related businesses.

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 8):
In France it's about 50/50

Well, it is France.

If you only use it for transport, restaurants and lodging you will have a better hit rate, but far from 100%. In Germany credit cards of any kind are rarely accepted by restaurants and smaller businesses. As your comment on France, check your facts. Credit cards are accepted for just about anything. It's just Amex's higher fee that causes merchant's to reject it in many cases. Thought you guys saw this as 'market forces' and 'freedom of choice' at work. But then I guess, "Well, it is France.", so there must be more sinister explanation.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineORFflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 10209 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 11):
so there must be more sinister explanation.

Of course there is a more sinister explaination - it was a joke. Didn't you notice the  duck  &  Wink


User currently offlineJ_Hallgren From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1507 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 10188 times:

The only country I've visited is Sweden, and in my four trips there from 1982 to 2004, I've noticed that MC is now more commonly accepted than it was in 82 but that Visa is still the most common...In the bigger places, I saw Amex stickers but in the little shops, no.


COBOL - Not a dead language yet!
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2728 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 10172 times:

Quoting ORFflyer (Reply 9):

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 8):
In France it's about 50/50

Well, it is France. duck Wink



Quoting ORFflyer (Reply 12):
Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 11):
so there must be more sinister explanation.

Of course there is a more sinister explaination - it was a joke. Didn't you notice the duck & Wink

It's not a joke, but a parochial invitation to like minded Americans to smirk. Jokes have universal appeal because they're genuinely clever.

Anyway, FriendlySkies, put your Amex away and get out your Visa and you'll breeze through. That and fist full of Euros for whole lot of countries. Enjoy the stay.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8458 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 10157 times:
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Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 4):
Visa is universally excepted

So no one accepts Visa?  Wink



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14127 posts, RR: 62
Reply 16, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 10149 times:

In Germany we still do lots of cash transactions. Eurocheques used to be quite common, but got phased out a few years ago in favour of debit cards like Maestro.
I have two credit cards, one MC and one VISA, which I use mostly while traveling (e.g. because more and more car rental places abroad refure cash deposits and require credit cards) and for paying on the internet, e.g. for booking flights.

Jan


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 10140 times:

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 16):
I have two credit cards, one MC and one VISA, which I use mostly while traveling (e.g. because more and more car rental places abroad refure cash deposits and require credit cards) and for paying on the internet, e.g. for booking flights.

Now, I remember were I use my credit cards quite regularly in Germany - for renting cars. But that's about it. I don't use cash for larger sums >10€ either.

pelican


User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 10135 times:

In Europe in general, you can get by using Amex since there are a lot of Amex-compatible ATMs around. Overall you can't generalize "Europe" since the practices vary a lot. I was just in Munich, which is the wealthiest area in Germany (so they say), but for example not nearly all the taxis accepted any credit cards - you had to pay cash. In Finland I rarely use cash for anything, I pay almost everything with a credit card. Nowadays I use a (Finnair) Visa, but previously I had a MC and some of my friends use Amex as their main card.

User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 10097 times:

Amex - Widely accepted in Europe? Jeremy Clarkson wrote an excellent article once about the much-coveted black card and here are some paragraphs that sum up how widely accepted it is in Europe:

Quote:
As the months went by, I kept producing the jet-set, jet-black Amex and the result was pretty much always the same. 'Non.'....'Nein.' And in provincial Britain: 'What the f***'s that?'
Actually, I am being unfair. It wasn't only provincial Britain that was mystified.
Pretty well everywhere east of New York and west of Los Angeles doesn't take Amex, no matter what colour the card is. Some say this is because Amex charges too much.
Others because the Americans are infidel dogs.



MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12773 posts, RR: 46
Reply 20, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 10091 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 16):
In Germany we still do lots of cash transactions.

This really surprises me given legendary German efficiency in most matters. smile 

In the UK I pay for just about everything on my MC (I really have no experience of places accepting Visa but not MC). I always settle my bill in full each month. While I've been working in Dubai for the last 9 months, I've been on a per diem allowance. It's really odd for me to have a wallet full of cash and to not use my credit card.

In my experience, Amex is accepted at significantly fewer places in the UK than Visa/MC.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 21, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 10054 times:

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 20):
This really surprises me given legendary German efficiency in most matters.

Cash is more efficient for most purposes. It's cheaper too for the store (and often the user as well, especially if you don't pay off your card every month as the interest rates are astronomical, even compared to overdraft charges on your bank account).

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 20):
In my experience, Amex is accepted at significantly fewer places in the UK than Visa/MC.

And it's similar in the Netherlands and everywhere else I've been.
The high charges Amex has are the main reason many stores stopped taking them altogether and some of those that do still take them pass those on to the customer by adding processing costs if you want to use Amex.



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14127 posts, RR: 62
Reply 22, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10032 times:

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 20):
Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 16):
In Germany we still do lots of cash transactions.

This really surprises me given legendary German efficiency in most matters. smile

I think there is just a general distrust of plastic money. Many older Germans have lost all their savings three times during the 20th century: Just after WW1, due to the hyperinflation caused by the reparation payments; during the Great Depression during the late 20s, early 30s and then again during the currency reform in 1948. Money is what you can hold in your hands.
Also, it is considered bad behaviour to buy too much on loans, ideally you should only spend what you have and credit cards actually encourage overspending (and there are banks which encourage this behaviour, like the loan shark Citibank, by giving overgenerous credit lines to bind deptors to them forever, at extremely high interest rates just short of ursury).
Generally Germans are financially extremely conservative if it concerns their own money.

Jan


User currently offlineORFflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 9989 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 14):
but a parochial invitation to like minded Americans to smirk

And rightfully so......  Wink


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