Subscribe to SmallPlanet

We Need Your Help

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report


Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards with PIN are becoming more accepted; cash is still very much the preferred currency. Bankomats ("ATMs") are common and do not charge service fees. Paying bills "automatically" with IBAN transfers are also popular. In many ways, Austrian banking is more advanced than in the US. - Nov 13, 2017
Yes. You can even use your old U.S. credit card without the chip at grocery stores. However, you have to look the cashier in the eye, show them the card, announce that it's a credit card WITHOUT a chip and they have to do something to their machine to make it work. Then you have to scan it the CORRECT WAY while you're holding-up the line and everyone (including the cashier) is giving you an evil look. Then press OKAY and sign the slip. (They prefer local Maestro swipe cards.) - Jun 7, 2016
There are a number of stores that will only take chip/pin cards or cash. - Mar 24, 2015
I had no problems using either, although some businesses won't take credit cards, only debit or cash. But largely, that's changing. - Jul 18, 2014
No problem at all, with credit or ATMs. Once in a while you'll find a shop that will only take cash. - Mar 19, 2014
Very safe to use - note though that Austria is still a big "cash only" economy where many restaurants will not accept debit or credit cards so it's a good idea to carry a bit of cash on you. - Aug 23, 2013
My USAA credit card runs into problems sometimes because it doesn't have this special chip that European cards do. It works fine at ATMs though, so I just operate on a cash basis. Not all places here take credit cards, anyway. Most embassy personnel have a local bank account because many service providers insist on payment by bank transfer! - May 12, 2013
I have never had a problem using either, but it's recommended to get an Austrian bank account just to make bill paying easier, and just in case you run into the one store that won't take any of your cards because they don't have a microchip like the Bank of Austria cards. - Jan 16, 2013
They can be used extensively. We had no problems. - Aug 6, 2011
Plan to always have cash. Always! ATMs are available near tram lines and in the city. Very few places take credit cards, even sometimes large restaurants and public places, where in the US you would expect a debit/credit card to be taken. Grocery stores are getting better. - Aug 5, 2011
Safe. - Aug 15, 2009
Getting an Austrian ATM card is the best thing to do (Bankomat card). Many stores do not take visa or mastercard but will take Bankomat. - Aug 5, 2009
Whatever you want, but they arent as plentiful as in the States. Try to get to know a few in places you might frequent. As to reliability and security, there are no problems I know of. - Jul 23, 2009
Safe and numerous. - May 21, 2008
Your ATM card will work here, but you will need an Austrian Bank Account with a debit card for the grocery store. Most places do not take your American MasterCard or VISA. - Apr 4, 2008
ATMs are everywhere and having a Maestro local debit card is the best since it's accepted in all stores. - Jan 11, 2008