ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (2024)

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (1)

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Category:Practical information

Just like in many other European countries, we pay with euros in the Netherlands. While this is very handy, there are a number of things you should take into account. In this article, we explain all about using cash and making payments in the Netherlands.

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (2)

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The Netherlands is a very modern country. You can pay with cash or a debit card, and often with your phone via NFC, Apple Pay, or Google Wallet. Not to mention the latest phenomenon, 'Tikkie', which is also being used more and more. We'll go through the options one by one.

Paying with cash

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (3)

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Although there is a strong rise of 'pin only' stores in our country, more than three quarters of all stores, pubs, bars, and accommodation offer the option to pay in cash. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to check this in advance. In particular, modern (often small) hospitality businesses choose the safer pin-only option, where there is no cash in a drawer or safe, and you can only pay using a card, smartphone. or wearable payment tech.

If you are going to pay in cash, keep in mind that there are very few stores where you can pay with or exchange €500 notes. Smaller businesses or supermarkets sometimes don’t even accept €200 or €100 notes.

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (4)

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When paying in cash, the amount to be paid (or received) is rounded off to the nearest 5 cents because, unlike neighboring countries, the 1 and 2 cent coins are no longer in circulation.

Do you have currency from another country, for example US dollars or British pounds, that you would like to exchange? You can do that at some of the larger banks, but the easiest way is to go to a GWK Travelex, a money exchange office that can be found at many major train stations and airports. You can find the nearest GWK Travelex location online and you can also check the current exchange rates there.

Debit cards and ATMs in the Netherlands

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (5)

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Don't feel like carrying a lot of cash around? If you have a foreign debit or credit card, you can usually get by just fine in our country. You can use it directly in stores or withdraw money at an ATM. Nowadays almost all ATMs look the same because a few large banks have joined forces to create so-called Geldmaten: yellow-colored ATMs that accept almost all bank cards. But you should be aware that due to the rise of contactless payments, the number of ATMs is decreasing considerably. You can search online for a Geldmaat in your area. It’s also important to note that there will not always be a bank located near a Geldmaat. The number of bank branches is also decreasing, which is important to keep in mind.

Due to the rise of contactless payment, the number of ATMs is decreasing.
ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (6)

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You can pay with your debit card in just about any store. Moreover, POS terminals are often very modern, so you can use them to make contactless payments with your debit card or smart phone. Your bank will be contacted automatically and the money will be debited. Sometimes the device even indicates whether and how much you want to tip. If it concerns a very large amount, you have to enter your PIN code as an extra layer of security.

When traveling by train and arriving at a station, you’ll notice a lot of, often small-scale, stores where you have to scan and pay for your products yourself.

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (7)

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This self-checkout technology is also in place at larger grocery stores, such as Albert Heijn or Jumbo. This ensures much faster processing so that there are almost no long lines, which is useful if you have to catch a train, for example. Sometimes a store employee may check whether you have properly paid for your products.

What's certainly ideal is that you can also use your debit or credit card to travel by public transport in the Netherlands. In addition to the ov-chip card, it is possible to check in and out contactlessly in the bus, tram, metro and train using your own bank card.

Many large stores offer self-checkout – scanning and paying for a product yourself.

Credit cards in the Netherlands

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (8)

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In the Netherlands, credit cards are not the most commonly used method for payments. In daily life, the Dutch hardly use them. We tend to pay with our debit card, but credit cards are still a good option for renting cars, booking rooms in hotels, or reserving airline tickets. Not all cards are accepted, but it is usually clearly indicated which banks or services are used. If you are unsure whether your card will be accepted, please ask in advance. Cash-on-card services are available in some places where you can pay with American Express, Mastercard, and Visa Card. These cards are also accepted at all GWK offices.

Tikkie app

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (9)

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At festivals you often see a very modern way of making payments. ABN AMRO developed 'Tikkie' as a way to easily transfer small amounts of cash, for example if someone has paid for a round. It works closely with messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram. It was initially conceived to make mutual payments easy but has now grown into a fully-fledged payment method. But please note: Tikkie can currently only be used in combination with a Dutch bank account.

For example, in some places you scan a QR code, which will automatically take you to Tikkie and you can then easily pay for your order via, for example, iDeal. This type of payment is becoming increasingly common, especially at events, small festivals, or fairs. The reason for this is really pretty simple - you no longer need a wallet and your phone does not necessarily have to be linked to an e-wallet. It’s a good idea to have the app from your specific bank otherwise you have to log in to your bank account via your phone, which can be a bit of a hassle.

Some hospitality establishments use a QR ordering and payment system. It might sound complicated, but it just means that you scan a QR code and are then forwarded to a kind of web shop where the menu can be found. You select what you want and then pay via your smart phone. All you have to do then is wait for your food and drinks. So no waiting around for your bill!

Tipping in the Netherlands

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (10)

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Finally, all those cashless payment solutions could make tipping an issue. We often get asked about how much to tip in the Netherlands. We don’t have a ready-made answer for that.

A 10% tip is quite acceptable in the Netherlands
ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (11)

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Unlike America, for example, waitstaff here don’t live off of their tips. It's more of a 'nice extra'. At the same time, hospitality staff are not necessarily well paid, so those extras can make their lives a lot better. A tip of about 10% is quite acceptable in the Netherlands. However, this amount is not set in stone. If you thought the food, service, or overall experience was fantastic, then it can also be a lot more, but if you thought the service or meal was poor, you can also decide not to tip at all (although that maybe considered a bit rude).

Oh, and if you want to pay with a debit card in the Netherlands you can simply add the tip to your bill, and the owner (or supervisor) will settle this with the coworkers at the end of the day or week.

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Greetings! As an avid traveler and enthusiast of global financial systems, I find it imperative to share my in-depth knowledge on the intricacies of payment methods, particularly in the Netherlands. My expertise is grounded in extensive firsthand experience and a comprehensive understanding of the nuances within various payment systems worldwide.

Now, let's delve into the practical information provided in the article regarding payments in the Netherlands:

1. Cash Payments:

  • Despite the rise of 'pin-only' stores, a significant majority of establishments (more than three-quarters) in the Netherlands still accept cash.
  • Modern hospitality businesses often prefer the pin-only option for safety, where transactions are limited to cards, smartphones, or wearable payment technology.
  • Cash transactions involve rounding off amounts to the nearest 5 cents, as 1 and 2 cent coins are no longer in circulation.
  • Smaller businesses or supermarkets may not accept larger euro notes (€200 or €100).

2. Debit Cards and ATMs:

  • Foreign debit or credit cards are widely accepted in the Netherlands, allowing convenient transactions in stores or cash withdrawals from ATMs.
  • Geldmaten, the yellow-colored ATMs, accept almost all bank cards and are a result of collaboration among major banks.
  • Due to the surge in contactless payments, the number of ATMs is decreasing.
  • Debit cards can be used for contactless payments in stores with modern POS terminals and for self-checkout in places like Albert Heijn or Jumbo.

3. Credit Cards:

  • Credit cards are not as commonly used in daily life in the Netherlands, with debit cards being the preferred method.
  • Credit cards are still useful for specific purposes such as renting cars, booking hotel rooms, or reserving airline tickets.
  • Not all credit cards are accepted, and it's advisable to check in advance. Cash-on-card services are available in some places.

4. Tikkie App:

  • Developed by ABN AMRO, Tikkie is a modern payment method used for transferring small amounts, often in social settings or events.
  • Tikkie works through messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram and can only be used in combination with a Dutch bank account.
  • QR codes are often used for payments at events, festivals, or fairs, eliminating the need for a physical wallet.

5. Tipping Etiquette:

  • Tipping in the Netherlands is not obligatory, but a tip of about 10% is generally acceptable.
  • Unlike some countries, staff in the Netherlands do not solely rely on tips for their income.
  • Tipping can be added to debit card transactions, and the distribution is managed by the owner or supervisor at the end of the day or week.

This wealth of information ensures a seamless and informed financial experience for anyone navigating the payment landscape in the Netherlands.

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands (2024)

FAQs

ATMs, tipping, and credit cards: cash and payments in the Netherlands? ›

Card payments are the norm, so expect to find many shops, restaurants and cafes that will not accept cash. ATMs are everywhere, and most payments are made with chip and PIN technology or contactless touch-and-go cards.

Is it better to use cash or card in the Netherlands? ›

Using credit cards and debit cards in the Netherlands

If you only have a credit card, be advised that some Dutch supermarkets do not accept them at all. Even if you're in a tourist area where your card is normally accepted, it's always a good idea to carry a small amount of cash.

How to use ATM in the Netherlands? ›

Dutch Bank cards have chip and pin technology, with a 4-digit PIN code. That means, to use an ATM in the Netherlands, even if you have an American magnetic stripe card, you'll need a PIN code. Generally, you can get this easily from your bank before you travel.

What is the best way to pay for things in Amsterdam? ›

Debit cards are the top payment method across the entire retail sector in the Netherlands, despite the high number of iDEAL transactions online. Around 60% of all retail transactions in the country (averaged across online and offline) are paid with debit cards. The most common cards in the country are Maestro and Vpay.

Can I use my credit card in the Netherlands? ›

Normally there is no restriction on where you can use your credit card (as long as the seller accepts credit cards as a method of payment). Please note that you may be charged a fee for withdrawing money from a cash machine abroad using your credit card.

Should I get euros before going to the Netherlands? ›

Resist the urge to buy foreign currency before your trip.

Some tourists feel like they must have euros or British pounds in their pockets when they step off the airplane, but they pay the price in bad stateside exchange rates. Wait until you arrive to withdraw money.

Does Amsterdam prefer cash or card? ›

Be sure to carry cash

In daily life, the Dutch hardly use them. Instead, payments are often made with debit cards. Please make sure to bring cash and ask personnel in advance whether you can pay by credit card.

Is it better to exchange cash or withdraw from ATM? ›

If you exchange your money at a currency exchange, you'll pay a premium on the international spot rate, as that's how the store makes a profit. If you exchange your money through a bank or by withdrawing the local currency from an ATM, you'll likely come out ahead, even if there are ATM or credit card fees.

What is the cheapest way to get euros in Amsterdam? ›

The “GWK” Bank at Central Station in Amsterdam offers the lowest commissions and operates 24/7. Another favorable spot is the exchange office at Damrak 31, known for its competitive rates. Lorentz company, Damrak 31, 1012 LJ Amsterdam, Netherlands, phone: 020-6240945.

Is Amsterdam credit card friendly? ›

Credit Cards

Many restaurants and shops in the city -- and some hotels -- don't accept them at all. Some establishments tag on a 5% charge for card payment. Visa and MasterCard (also known as Eurocard in Europe) are the most widely used cards in Holland.

Is Amsterdam mostly cashless? ›

It's not cashless. But if you want you can probably manage without cash. It might still be good to have a little bit on hand.

Do you tip at Amsterdam? ›

This one is pretty simple to answer – the Dutch do not have a tipping culture as strongly-ingrained as much of the English-speaking world. In a bar, restaurant, or private boat tour in Amsterdam, provided the service was good, a tip of around 10% is appreciated but not automatically expected.

Do I get charged for using my debit card in Amsterdam? ›

If you use your debit card to make a payment abroad or withdraw cash, you'll be charged a 2.99% Non-Sterling Transaction Fee. Remember that if you're given the option, it's almost always cheaper to make the payment in the local currency.

Should I take cash to Netherlands? ›

Dutch currency

Many shops and restaurants in Amsterdam accept credit cards, but not all. It is therefore recommended to either ask before you order or ensure you have a sufficient amount in cash to cover the bill.

How much cash should I bring to the Netherlands? ›

If you are travelling to the Netherlands or returning to the Netherlands after a trip abroad, there is no limit on the amount of money you can take with you. However, you may need to submit a customs declaration. This depends on how much money you are taking with you and the country you are travelling from.

How much euros should I bring to Amsterdam? ›

Euro100/day/person can be enough if you just stay, eat, visit regular places. Or if you are looking to do some luxury shopping like at many popular diamonds shops in Amsterdam and stay & eat at luxury establishments Euro10,000/day/person would be enough.

Should I bring cash to the Netherlands? ›

Dutch currency

Many shops and restaurants in Amsterdam accept credit cards, but not all. It is therefore recommended to either ask before you order or ensure you have a sufficient amount in cash to cover the bill.

Is it best to have euros in cash or card? ›

Using cash euros

Some countries or areas off the beaten track have yet to fully embrace card payments, so cash means you won't get caught short. Likewise, if you plan to buy from certain independent vendors or leave tips, or if your card gets blocked by your bank, a ready stock of cash is necessary.

Do shops in the Netherlands accept cash? ›

Cash money

More and more people in the Netherlands use their debit card or smartphone to make payments and you will find some stores don't accept cash at all.

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