Cash, credit, or debit?
Actually, she has never heard anyone ask that here in Germany but that doesn't mean you don't have a choice. Compared to even ten years ago, the card culture in Germany has become much more "Americanized," but that does not mean it is just like America. Germany loves cash at a level most Americans can just not understand.
Paying in cash is the norm in Germany. People usually carry around rather large amounts of cash (compared to Americans who sometimes walk around with no or very little cash). It is no problem to pay for things with a fifty or even one hundred euro bill. One hundred euro bills are also common at ATM machines. To help all those cash carriers, Germany does have cool ATMs that let you pick how many of what type of bill you want. If you like to always have small bills (like her), you can choose to get only fives, tens, and twenties.
In the USA, large bills are looked at suspiciously and often not accepted. For the most part, you would get a less strange look if you paid for something that was only five dollars with a debit or credit card than a fifty or one hundred dollar bill.
If you do not pay with cash in Germany, you almost always pay with a debit card. Germans use their debit cards like Americans use their credit (and she guesses also sometimes debit) cards. It is not strange to a German to give someone your account information so they can deduct payment from your account or to pay online through ebanking. She has even ordered stuff in Germany (from big companies like H&M) and gotten the bill in the package to pay online later. Germany does not have checks so ebanking and debit cards are very important for business .
YES! Americans still use checks. It might not be the most sensible, but who does not love having pretty pictures on their method of payment?
:) :) :) :) :)
Credit cards are rarely used in Germany, although more common than in the past. Large department stores accept credit cards, and you have to have one to rent a car, but some places where you would expect credit cards to be accepted they are not. Last week she was at IKEA and was shocked to find out that they only accept cash and debit (hence the idea for this entry was born). Many German websites, including discount airline sites, do not accept credit cards or charge you an extra fee (a few euros) for using them. Most of the Germans she knows do not have a credit card. This is probably because they all seem to charge a yearly fee.
In America, credit cards are accepted almost everywhere (at least if you are spending over five dollars). It is also no problem to get a no-fee credit card. Some Americans are very anti credit card but she does not get it. If you are going to pay it off on time every month, why not go for that extra cash back cards like Discover offer?!?
Personally, we take cash, debit, credit, checks, or precious metals :)