PayPal still king in certain situations?

Question for you good folk of the Monzo forum.

I’m currently travelling the picturesque countryside of Norway, and so far, card acceptance has been excellent.

After a very long story that I won’t bore you with, we ended up in a small cafe/restaurant last night, that had a card reader which said “Will only accept Norwegian debit cards” - Not deterred, I asked the guy to try my Monzo card (which he did, with a wry smile on his face knowing what the outcome would be), and sure enough, it failed.

Because we are so hip and trendy (and we’d exclusively used card everywhere to this point), we didn’t have any cash on us (our mistake!).

Nearest cash point was half an hour away, and it was already 9pm.

So I had the bright idea to pay the cashier via bank transfer, and then he could pay the business (not sure if he ran the cafe, but he certainly seemed to be making the decisions).

Excellent… all I need is the IBAN number of your bank… Oh… You have no idea what it is, because… well… no one knows (or half the time, has even heard), what an IBAN is.

So that ruled out bank transfer via Monzo/Revolut.

Which finally led us to the devil of all payment systems… PayPal.

It was 10% more expensive, but it worked (the second time, after I had two cancel the initial payment due to a wrong letter in the email address!).

So, wise folk of the internet… Could I have done anything different here?

Or in this (rather specific) example… Does PayPal still reign?

I’ll be travelling through more of Norway today, so likely won’t get on much to check your responses - I’ll certainly be interested to read any advise when I get to the room tonight!

Thanks in advance.

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Did the owner explain why he only accepts local debit cards? Did he have a suggestion for what you might do if PayPal wasn’t an option?

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Looks like the real issue is that the person you’re paying couldn’t easily access their IBAN (thanks to legacy banking apps probably?).

Not much of a PayPal win, more of a legacy banking fail.

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Quick question for the techie folk around here:

When a place only accepts local cards, does it recognise the first few digits of the long card number as being Norwegian? Or does it recognise the currency of the card – in which case would a TransferWise borderless card work as it pays in Norwegian Krone?

The past week I’ve bought some things using PayPal and the experience has been incredibly painful.

I’ve decided once everything has cleared, I’m closing (or not using) my paypal account. If I have no option but to use PayPal somewhere, well then I’ll just go else where :joy:


It’ll likely be from the BIN number (first six digits) this usually identifies the country as well as the card type and issuer


I must be the only person who likes using PayPal on here :joy:. If I had the option to pay via card or PayPal I would always use PayPal, simply because i’ve never had any issues with it and I don’t like storing my card details in multiple sites

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I use PayPal quite a lot as well like using PayPal credit to spreads a big payment over a couple of months


Quick stop off to field some questions :joy:

It was the card reader that didn’t accept it (he mentioned something about licences, but not sure).

The alternative was to go hungry! It was our suggestion to pay him, he wasn’t expecting it.

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I guess the thing is actually a positive. Tech didn’t let you down and you were able to pay without drastically altering plans to return the next day.

You’ll have seen on the forum I’m sceptical of a completely cashless society ever emerging, this is a prime example of why; cash won’t ever fail for some obscure technical reason, it won’t ever break down, it won’t ever get hacked.

So you’ve been to an ATM now, right?

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Places with “local” cards have their own card scheme akin to Visa/Mastercard, with their own application and AID on the card in addition to international schemes like Visa/Mastercard. Terminals can choose which AID they want to use when presented with a card. Local-only terminals ask explicitly for the local AID and the process ends there on a card without the local application - it doesn’t even reach the stage where it reads the card number.


Sorry @nickh don’t wanna hijack the thread, but so many questions!

So does the UK have any schemes which are local only? I know Switch rebranded to Maestro but that wasn’t true European Maestro. But will anywhere simply take Maestro cards? Or are we more geared up to accept international cards? (It is surprising an outwardly focused country like Norway isn’t just plugged straight into Visa and MC)

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Try anywhere in Belgium

Typing “norway bank card” in google images is mostly Visa & MC, so there might be other reasons to only accept local cards…

Sorry, meant in the UK. Wasn’t clear.

Essentially phased out here it looks like.