What currency does Germany use? The Euro. Here is some general information on Germany and the national official currency (Euro) that I hope will be useful for anyone planning a trip.
Show Table of Contents
- What Is the Euro?
- Paying in Germany
- Converting Your Currency to the Euro in Germany
- Tips for Exchanging Currency in Germany
- Understanding the Mid-Market Rate
- Choose German Currency for ATM Charges
- Avoid Currency Exchanges at Airports or Lodging Facilities
- German Currency FAQ
- Should You Use Credit Cards or Cash When Traveling in Germany?
- What Is Currency Manipulation?
- Can You Use Traveler’s Checks in Germany?
- Can you use the Swiss Franc in Germany?
- What is currency reform?
What Is the Euro?
The Euro was introduced as a cash currency in Germany on the first of January 2002. It was most often used for cashless purchases by the banks and stock markets.
Not many people were happy about the introduction of the Euro. Many people wanted to keep the Deutsche mark.
There are currently nineteen states in Europe that use the Euro. These include Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, and Latvia.
Paying in Germany
When you travel to Germany, you will undoubtedly need money. If you are a visitor, you may find that an online currency converter tool can come in handy to see how many Euros you would get for your local currency.
The exchange rate for the Euro is about 1.11 to 1.21 United States dollars for one Euro. The best way to get a good exchange rate in Germany is through an ATM, a Geldautomat.
You will find them everywhere around Germany, including banks, shopping centers, train stations, post offices, hotel lobbies, and the airport. You can also select English as your language on each of them, so you won’t have to worry about not understanding the machine.
In addition to the Euro as currency, you will also find that you can pay with credit cards; however, this payment method is not as common as it is in the US.
Converting Your Currency to the Euro in Germany
One of the first things you will need to do when planning your trip to Germany is convert your national currency to the Euro.
To do this, you can either get it at your local bank before your departure or at the arrival airport in Germany at a currency conversion table. When converting currency at the airport table, remember that most are not open 24/7.
Do not be surprised if the denomination of your converted currency is much less than that of your local currency. In recent years, the Euro has been doing extremely well.
Another way to get Euro in Germany is to use your ATM card. You can find an ATM at any bank. Most accept foreign ATM cards, but not all.
If your ATM card is rejected, you will probably get a “card not in-network” prompt on the screen. Depending on your card provider, you can expect a foreign ATM charge of anywhere from 2 to 4 dollars per transaction.
Do not be dependent on your foreign credit card. A lot of businesses in Germany do accept American/British/etc. Credit cards, but not near as many as in your local country.
For example, Visa is accepted in most gas stations but only a few restaurants. It is a good idea to take Euro cash along any time you go on the economy in Germany.
Tips for Exchanging Currency in Germany
Here are a few tips to help you when it comes to exchanging currency in Germany.
Understanding the Mid-Market Rate
Familiarize yourself with the mid-market rate before you leave on your trip. This is known as the true exchange rate and has no hidden fees.
You can use an online currency converter to see what money is worth ahead of your trip. This helps ensure you get a fair rate when purchasing your travel money.
Choose German Currency for ATM Charges
If you are offered to pay in your currency at an ATM, you may actually pay more than if you chose to pay your fees with German currency instead. When you pay in Euros, the local currency in Germany, you can reduce your overall costs and find the best possible rates.
Avoid Currency Exchanges at Airports or Lodging Facilities
Many airports and hotel lobbies raise the exchange rates and are also known for charging hidden fees. Don’t stop at the airport or your hotel to avoid this overly expensive option when exchanging your money for German currency.
If you plan and spend your money wisely, Germany will be a GREAT vacation experience. If you are planning a trip to Germany, research and plan well in advance.
See Related: Things to Do in Berlin
German Currency FAQ
If you still have questions about German currency or how to use it, review our brief FAQ below for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.
Should You Use Credit Cards or Cash When Traveling in Germany?
Germany is a relatively safe country, so you should feel secure enough to carry cash on your travels. Using a traditional magnetic stripe credit or debit card may actually prove to be quite problematic in some areas because not a lot of places accept them, like smaller shops, cafes, and grocery stores.
Local cash will be the easiest and most convenient way to pay for things in Germany unless you can find a credit or debit card designed specifically for travelers. When traveling abroad, you also want to avoid withdrawing money from a credit card because it can incur much higher fees and interest.
What Is Currency Manipulation?
Currency manipulation is a policy that governments and central banks use with some of the largest trading partners to artificially lower the value of their currency to gain an unfair competitive advantage. The Germans did not set the strength of the currency in Germany.
Instead, it is set by the European Central Bank. Some say that Germany is a currency manipulator, but many Germans feel they are not to blame for the Euro’s weakness.
Can You Use Traveler’s Checks in Germany?
The only place that will accept traveler’s checks in Germany will be a money exchange place like you would find at the airport or a train station. You will also find that you will pay a good fee, and the exchange rate is less than desirable.
Can you use the Swiss Franc in Germany?
The Swiss Franc is the official currency of Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is the sixth most traded currency in the world. Germany, however, uses Euros, so the Swiss Franc is not an accepted currency in the country.
What is currency reform?
Currency reform involves withdrawing all or some devalued paper currency from circulation. It is then replaced with new money that is either paper or metal.
It also has to do with a change in the content of money, the exchange rate, and the reorganization of a monetary system, as you saw when Germany moved from the Deutsche Mark or German Mark to the Euro.
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