19

In the next days I'll spend a working period (few weeks) in Denmark (Aalborg).

I would like to know if credit cards are frequently used in Denmark, are them more or less accepted everywhere in Aalborg? Or instead, do I need local currency (cash) to buy in some places?

  • 2
    Hello, do you need cash to live in Italy? It's about your lifestyle as much as anything. – Gayot Fow Oct 11 '16 at 18:30
  • 1
    I have a reservation for a hotel in Denmark and in the information there is the note that the place does not take cards, at all. So it is still possible to run into a place which does not take cards. (But they are rare enough that they do warn their customers.) – Willeke Oct 11 '16 at 20:34
  • 1
    @GayotFow Yes, you still need cash to live in Italy, with 99.999% of lifestyles. – Federico Poloni Oct 13 '16 at 8:46
  • 1
    @GayotFow in Italy credit cards are not well accepted!! The seller must pay a lot in commissions and so they prefer cash. – rebatoma Oct 13 '16 at 8:51
  • 1
    Keep in mind, that your bank/CC may be charging you additional fees for currency exchange. Some will give you a bad rate others will bill you for every exchange. In the end a bottle of water could cost you 2€ instead of 1€. – bennos Oct 13 '16 at 12:45
22

Credit and debit cards are extremely widely accepted in Sweden and Denmark. Almost every vendor of anything accepts them - from big stores and hotels to small restaurants to convenience stores. I once spent an entire week in Sweden and Denmark without once buying or spending any local currency. My last action was to buy a small bottle of water at Copenhagen airport, and the seller waved away my apologies for using a card for such a small amount, as if to say I was apologizing for nothing.

You will probably need a chip and pin card.

  • 1
    @Mattia When you click add a comment and the comment box opens, it's filled with some text, I quote: Avoid comments like "+1" or "thanks". Literally. – pipe Oct 12 '16 at 4:15
  • 2
    If you have a VISA or Mastercard you can ask for money over the amount you've payed if you need cash. So, you could have asked for 100 kroners over the amount of the water bottle (and be charged 100 + bottle of water) and have cash handy for bus and so forth. – Thorst Oct 12 '16 at 8:40
  • @Lasse: is this really accepted with a credit card? FWIW in my country (not Denmark) most (if not all) merchants will refuse to do that because they pay a fee to Visa/MC that is a percentage of the total amount. When paying with a debit card (similar to Dankort I guess) it's usually accepted, I assume because the fee is calculated differently. – hertitu Oct 12 '16 at 11:31
  • 2
    @zelanix In London you can only pay by contactless credit/debit card on the bus, cash is no longer accepted. (You can also use an Oyster Card or present a pre-bought paper ticket/travelcard, but no cash on the bus.) As a London resident, I find it a bit mindblowing when I visit my parents in rural England and I find I am supposed to be carrying cash. ;) – Calchas Oct 13 '16 at 10:20
  • 1
    @SGR There's no cost to swallow. Debit card (not credit card) processing fees are a fixed cost per transaction, not a percentage of the transaction value, and so it costs the retailer nothing if the transaction value is higher. In fact it saves them a little bit (as long as they still take in more cash than they pay out), since their bank will charge them for handling cash that they pay in. – Mike Scott Oct 13 '16 at 15:39
28

I live in Denmark (Copenhagen), and I can go weeks without using cash these days. What I have is a 'Dankort' (national debit card system), so the experience doesn't necessarily transfer directly to foreign cards -- but the vast majority of places that accept it also take at least Visa and MasterCard.

You'd need cash for bus tickets if you buy from the driver, but that's the only thing that comes to mind offhand.

  • +1, thanks for your answer. Are there also machines where I can buy bus ticket with credit card? – rebatoma Oct 11 '16 at 20:35
  • I know it's possible to buy tickets using text messaging (SMS), but I don't know if it's possible with international carriers. – William Mariager Oct 11 '16 at 20:41
  • 2
    Having a Dankort changes a lot of things though. – njzk2 Oct 11 '16 at 20:43
  • 7
    The Dankort is a common card for all danish banks. I doubt that you can get one without an account in a danish bank. But the terminals you use the card in does also take visa or mastercard but they require a chip and a pin code, and there might be a surcharge of about 1-3 pct when using other cards. – Bent Oct 11 '16 at 20:52
  • 1
    @mattia you can buy a "Rejsekort" which will handle travelling costs in many parts of Denmark. To my understanding this is similar to e.g. the London Oister card. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Oct 13 '16 at 13:25
17

One very important thing to note about credit card use in Denmark is that it no longer is common to have your card's magnetic strip read and then sign a receipt.

All (at least almost all) terminals in stores and hotels and hand held terminals in restaurants and even taxis expect that the card has a chip and that you know your pin code.

As for public transportation you can buy tickets at train stations with a credit card, but not in buses. Though the bus driver has some change, don't expect the driver to be able to give change back for 100 kroner notes. If you plan on travelling by bus, get hold of some 20 kroner coins.

Bus tickets in Denmark are area and time limited, so you can't buy a return ticket. Only when travelling longer distances can you buy return tickets for trains (you have to travel across regional boundaries).

  • 5
    This is important. Many US credit card issuers don't give you a PIN - and even if they do, you end up never using it in the US, and forgetting it when you need it. But it's essential for virtually all unattended (machine) purchases, and most transactions with a merchant. – Floris Oct 12 '16 at 22:55
8

I spent a week in Copenhagen this year, and I didn't use any cash at all. I bought transport tickets from vending machines, and paid everything with my Canadian credit card.

7

We spent 3 weeks in Denmark and barely used any cash. It would be easily possible not to use any at all, given that most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards.

Sure, there will be a few that take cash only but nothing you cannot avoid during your stay. We pretty much only used cash for street food and some parking.

6

I live in Aalborg and from my personal experience: I honestly can't remember when I last used cash.
Most stores, shops, and even hot dog stands accepts most kinds of credit cards.
Most commonly accepted cards are Visa, MasterCard, and DanCard, on rare occasions you will find a shop that doesn't accept MasterCard. (note that since I only have experience with MasterCard I can't say if same happens with the other cards)
If however, you find a place that doesn't accept the card you use, there would most likely be a bank nearby or an ATM machine that would accept your card.

5

I'm from Norway where cash is about to become obsolete. Even the strawberry seller in a booth in the field accepts credit card or mobile payments where I live. I travel frequently to Denmark and never use cash, only visa/MC.

One thing that used to be common in Scandinavia is the use of debit-cards, this was due to "social" laws and regulations that said that no one living in these countries should ever need to buy food on credit. This has changed over the past years and credit cards and mobile payments is widely used. However American Express and Diners are not widely accepted same way over here as over there..

4

From the other answers, things have apparently changed, but here is my experience:

10 years ago in Ålborg, most grocery stores would not accept my card (MasterCard), because it was not a "Dankort". I had to withdraw cash regularly.

3

I have lived for a year in Aalborg and the only places in which I had to pay with cash were buses and certain bars (bars usually only accept Danish credit cards).

I could use my Visa in all supermarkets and stores, no matter the amount.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.