🇩🇪 Monzo in Germany [Wiki]

This is a wiki crowdsourced by the Monzo Community to help you travel with Monzo.

Just like Wikipedia, anyone can edit it to help out others. If you have any tips or feedback for visiting Germany with Monzo, please feel free to edit this guide. You can also add a comment or question below — someone will then incorporate your comment into the main text below and then delete your comment. To create your own “Monzo in …” guide if one doesn’t already exist, just copy this template into a new post and write away!

Safe travels! :wave: :airplane:


Currency

Euro, €, EUR

Card usage

For historical and cultural reasons, Germany is still a largely cash society. Card usage is on the increase, but is still a bit hit-and-miss. You’ll probably be fine in most supermarkets (e.g. Rewe, Rewe City), but not all Penny (discount supermarket) stores. Most restaurants, particularly in tourist areas, will take card, but most cafes / ice cream shops will not. Most tourist souvenir stores that accept cards will require customers to spend a minimum amount before cards can be used. The post office now requires cash payment for post stamps.

A very small number of stores might only accept “electronic cash” cards (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_cash) but not Mastercard debit cards.

DB (Deutsche Bahn) terminals accept Monzo, but regional train/underground services vary - Hamburg and Frankfurt only accept local EC cards, but Munich’s terminals are fine. NB: there’s a surcharge if you use a manned ticket sales window.

Edit 25/7/19: Frankfurt’s transport system had no issues with a Monzo card

Beware that, much like in the USA, your card might be scanned as contactless (for transactions of all values) and then be prompted for a PIN. Don’t walk off thinking you’ve done a contactless payment, you’ll get chased by the store staff in German! You are unlikely to be asked if you want to pay in GBP or EUR (but if you are, remember to select EUR to get Monzo’s rate), but the card machine often recognises the card is from the UK and switches to using English language.

Anywhere outside of the cities in small shops and restaurants it’s always good to keep cash on hand just in case.

ATMs

German residents are used to charges on ATMs for withdrawals unless with their own or a partner bank, so you may see signs on the ATM about charges. Generally there is no charge by the ATM for withdrawals on your Monzo card on major banks’ ATMs, but this may not be the case in some more independent and out-of-the-way ATMs (as in the UK). If unsure, try to use a big bank (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank), and change the ATM to English mode.

Payment and withdrawal limits

All Monzo cards have some payment and withdrawal limits. To check yours before you leave, tap “Account” under the picture of your card and then “Spending and card limits”.

Crowdsourced merchant data

Merchant data is hit-and-miss in Germany, so please use the in-app features to correct incorrect merchant data.

Miscellaneous

As a travel tip, everywhere in Berlin wants you to pay in cash. It’s just a cultural thing.

Card acceptance is really good in Munich and Stuttgart but some restaurants only accept cash, even in touristy areas like the main street.

For drivers, ‘pay at pump’ is mostly non existent, take at least a little emergency cash for fuel.

Tips of up to 10% at restaurants are normal, but you should tell the server what you want to pay, rather than them get you change and leaving some behind.

Transport tickets purchased often have to be validated before travel and on the first journey you have to “punch in” the time you start at the machines on the tram/platform (more common in Munich than in other cities). Check to see if the ticket machine has selected ‘immediate validation’ (i.e. the machine will stamp it for you), or if there are validation points on the platforms/top of escalators. The DB app supports e-ticket purchase from local public transport operators. Foreign cards can be used for such purchases.


To edit this guide, just tap the pencil icon below. Alternatively, add a reply with your comments and someone from the community will incorporate your suggestions into the guide and then delete your comment.

2 Likes

I have used my monzo debit card on Frankfurt transport system with no problem, however, the default card payment option is Visa Pay, you’ll need to choose the ‘other’ card option

Just used extensively in Munich including s-bahn ticket machines with no issues at all. Had both contactless and PIN number transactions.

I tried to use my Monzo card for a contactless payment at a “PENNY” (appears to be a supermarket chain similar to Aldi) in Berlin. It got declined, but didn’t show up on my Monzo feed and when I showed a NatWest Visa debit card the cashier communicated that I needed to use cash. It was interesting to see everyone in front paying by cash as it’s rare to see people paying by cash at supermarkets in London.

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They probably only take German cards, this used to be very common in Germany, though it’s been a few years since I was there.

3 Likes

I had a similar experience at a PENNY in Berlin (Alexanderplatz?)

Like most of the public transport ticket machines I encountered they only accept EC cards (which as I understand it is an internal German debit card system that doesn’t involve Visa/MasterCard).

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This is, sadly, still very common. Mastercard and visa cards exist mostly as credit cards, in Germany, and are not widespread. Thus there is little incentive for shops to accept them. Although it is undoubtedly getting better!

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It’s sad to see this huge problem for visitors to Germany is still unresolved :frowning:

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Hi. I have been in Berlin for two days and have not found anywhere that did not accept my Monzo yet. Though I am on a current account. Bvg (the U trains) the wall museum and a couple of restaurants have all taken it without any difficulties.

Similarly the only place in Leipzig where my Monzo (and all other UK credit and debit cards) was refused was a PENNY store. Monzo card was happily accepted at Petrol stations, restaurants, fast-food outlets, Leipzig S-Bahn and tram ticket machines, tourist attractions and the supermarkets: REWE, Lidl and Kaufland

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Hi All,

I have just got back from a weekend in Munich, and have to say the Monzo card was pretty much accepted everywhere I went!

Bars, pubs, clubs (I was on a stag do… hence the lack of culture haha).

Only issue I had was using some of the cash machines. When attempting to draw out some money from the odd ATM, I would get an error (in German) before it asked me any questions (or even my pin). Following advice from the Monzo team on twitter, enabling the Mag strip from within the app solved the problem.

I am off to Hamburg in a couple of weeks… so will see how that goes.

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Did most of those places support contactless/Apple Pay/Android Pay?

Everywhere I tried used contactless, without any issues.

I haven’t been able to get Android Pay and Monzo working in the UK yet… so didnt give it a go while over there.

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If you haven’t (and I am sure you have) make sure you turn on the NFC on your phone. If you phone does not have NEC the Google Pay app won’t work. I have used Google Pay with Monzo so I know it works. Perhaps try uninstalling and reinstalling? Enjoy Hamburg, it is a great place.

My experience of using Visa and MasterCard in East Germany wasn’t great. Some places would only accept Maestro and nothing else. Not great. I don’t even remember when was the last time I saw Maestro card in the wild :thinking:

Wow how Germany has changed. Almost everywhere takes MasterCard now, I only had one shop - a small bakery - outright refuse and say local debit cards only. Even major electronics chains now take it (always seemed the odd ones to refuse major cards, but they did, cuz Germany).

The only bad experience I had was at Ritter Sport in Berlin where they refused to allow me to use Google Pay saying management told them to only accept ‘actual cards’.

My experience with the train ticket machines is that sometimes the ones that ask you to insert your card for chip and pin don’t accept, but the ones that allow contactless always do. This might be the card readers being dodgy rather than a specific Monzo problem, though.

In Berlin, cards are accepted on public transport but not at independent traders such as food courts in the shopping malls

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Just came back from a weekend in Berlin.

Overall point, absolutely shocking how few places took card. Bars, restaurants, shops - just seems farcical compared to London or anywhere else I’ve travelled to abroad recently (America excluded).

But echoing some of the stuff said above, I had a couple of places which just refused to take English cards. I wasn’t sure in the first one if the guy was refusing, or the card machine genuinely wasn’t set up to do so, but even encountered this in a DHL/Deutschepost shop.

Was very confusing as I thought if you signed up to visa or mastercard, you had to take all their cards. I take it this isn’t actually the case?

1 Like

Hi

Just to say I used my Monzo card in Netto in Berlin and it was fine. Didn’t know about the preference towards cash at that point!

Thanks

Stuart