Compared to most countries, most Germans still prefer to pay cash and many shops and cafes do not accept cards, especially in smaller German cities. An estimated 80% of all transactions in Germany are in cash.
The importance of cash cannot be overestimated. Before you enter shops or restaurants, check the doors – they often display stickers showing which cards are accepted.
Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted in Germany – but not everywhere. American Express is accepted to an even lesser extent. Credit cards (Kreditkarte) are less common and withdrawing money with your credit card at an ATM (you have to know your PIN number) will probably cost you some fees, even though it also depends on your home bank’s policy.