What credit cards exist in Germany and what are their differences

What credit cards exist?

In Germany, you can find three types of bank cards: girocard, debit and credit card.

What is a girocard?

Girocard, in the common people, is called the EC-card (EC-Karte), almost everyone has it. This card is issued to you when you open a bank account. If your bank has a branch network, then as a rule, with such a card you can withdraw money from an ATM for free, as well as replenish your bank account in cash through an ATM. The advantages of a girocard are that you can pay with it wherever bank cards are accepted. The disadvantage of this card is that it is not suitable for payment online or outside the European Union.

What is a debit card?

Let's start with a little confusion. In Germany, debit and credit cards are denoted by one word - credit card. This value refers to Visa, Mastercard or American Express cards. But these cards can be both debit and credit. A debit card means that its balance is usually always in the black. Such a card is usually tied to your bank account. Transactions on such a card will be debited from your bank account a few days after payment. It is convenient to pay with a debit card on the Internet, as well as for free cash withdrawal at any ATM, if your bank offers such a service (usually banks without their own network of branches offer it).

What is a credit card?

A credit card unlike a debit card, as a rule, does not have a positive balance. That is, when making purchases with a credit card, you usually go into a negative balance on your account and at the end of the month you either pay off your debt or take out a loan. A credit card is indispensable on vacation if you need to rent a car or withdraw cash in another currency. The fact is that the deposit for the car, which can be around 1,500 €, on a credit card will simply be blocked from the credit limit. If you do not have a credit card with you, at best you will have to pay a deposit, and at worst you will have to buy expensive insurance from the rental company. If you choose a good offer, you can withdraw money abroad in local currency for free at any ATM and at the rate of a European bank without additional fees. A credit card is also handy when shopping online if you know you'll be returning a lot of items back.


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