How do I use ATMs in Germany?

How do I use ATMs in Germany?

In Germany, ATMs are called Geldautomat. They’re normally located inside or just outside bank branches. You’ll also find them at most major airports. They’re less common in places such as shopping malls and petrol stations.

Germany’s four major banks have many ATMs, and they’ve made them easy to find with online locators:

German ATMs accept foreign bank cards, as long as they belong to a compatible card service. You can confirm whether your card will work by asking your bank back home. You should also let your bank know when you’ll be abroad. Otherwise, it might consider your German transactions suspicious and block your card.

Your card doesn’t need to be the chip-and-pin type to work in a German ATM – a standard card with a magnetic stripe works too. However, ATM keypads only have numbers, so you’ll need to know your PIN (personal identification number). German ATMs don’t accept PINs longer than four digits, either.

Most ATMs in Germany accept Cirrus, Maestro (both run by MasterCard) and Visa (Plus) cards. You can confirm if an ATM is compatible by checking whether your card network’s logo is on the machine.

There are three types of fees you need to consider when using a German ATM:

  • Exchange rate fees (always choose transactions in the local currency, not your home one or you will lose money)
  • Local charges (in Germany, if the bank’s name is on the ATM, it won’t charge fees but private machines like Euronet or Cashpoint will, so be careful)
  • Your home bank’s charges (consult with your home back before leaving for Germany).

10 Curious Facts for Travelers

  1. Many German ATMs are located inside bank branches, which often keep banker's hours and are closed on evenings and weekends.
  2. ATMs in Germany do not usually accept foreign ATM cards that lack a chip and PIN. Make sure yours is equipped before traveling.
  3. Standard German ATM withdrawal limits range from €200-€500 per transaction, so make multiple smaller withdrawals as needed.
  4. Many German ATMs dispense €50 and €100 notes. Breaking large bills can be tricky, so withdraw wisely.
  5. Ask your bank for low/no international ATM fees. Otherwise, look for ATMs with the logos of German banks to avoid pricey third-party machines.
  6. If an ATM asks "Soll in Euro ausgezahlt werden?" it's asking to dispense euros rather than local currency. Select yes.
  7. After entering your PIN, some German ATMs ask for your card's 6-digit PIN block number as added security.
  8. Contact your bank immediately if your card is eaten by an ATM. German banks charge hefty fees for cards stuck in their machines.
  9. Many German ATMs have an English option. Look for a British flag or "English" to toggle screens and instructions.
  10. If the ATM screen is only in German, look for terms like "Sprache", "Englisch", and "Enter" to navigate.

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