FriendlySkies
Topic Author
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Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:10 pm

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]
 
mhodgson
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:33 pm

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.
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Himmelstormer
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:25 pm

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).
 
sky0000547
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:06 am

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.
 
ozglobal
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:49 am

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.
 
ANother
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:17 pm

I gave up on AMEX years ago - too many places don't take it.
 
Doona
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:07 pm

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
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BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:27 pm

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.
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runway23
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:42 pm

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).
 
ORFflyer
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:57 pm

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
 
pelican
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:45 am

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
 
ozglobal
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:17 am

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.
 
ORFflyer
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:50 pm

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
 
j_hallgren
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:29 am

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.
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ozglobal
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:53 am

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.
 
andz
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sat Mar 31, 2007 5:55 am

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 4):
Visa is universally excepted

So no one accepts Visa?  Wink
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:26 am

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
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pelican
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:17 am

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
 
Joni
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:05 am

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.
 
BCAL
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:21 am

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.
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scbriml
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:42 am

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.
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jwenting
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:03 am

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.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:57 am

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
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
ORFflyer
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RE: Amex - Widely Accepted In Europe?

Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:30 am

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

And rightfully so......  Wink

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