Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all – It’s no joke, Berlin is a cash city. This is the first city I have travelled to that it’s almost impossible to use your credit card. This is a huge issue for people traveling on a budget, or traveling for business. I was really surprised by this when we got here and tried to get a monthly metro card. I thought there must be something wrong with the machine, but no, there was nothing wrong, they want the cash money. After the metro, I went to Vodafone, a huge worldwide company (you may have heard of it) CASH ONLY. At this point I was half way through my first day in Berlin and cursing it left and right.
I made peace with the fact that I was getting nothing accomplished, after 2 hours out on the town I had nothing to show for myself. I set out to find the ATM. Now one would think that if almost every business wanted cash, including bars and restaurants, that there would be ATM’s on every corner. Oh touché! I had to search out an ATM to get cold hard cash. As you may or may not know, when you are traveling for an extended period of time, it’s best to use your no foreign transaction fee credit cards as much as possible. Taking cash out incurs first, an ATM fee, and second a percentage fee taken by your bank. If you had to take cash out every day you’d go broke in no time. This practice alone, set me out on the wrong foot with Berlin.
As I have spent more time here in Berlin, I have found certain places, like the Lidl grocery store and the Rossmann pharmacy that do take cards, so I do most of my shopping there.
If you are planning a long stay in Berlin, try to come cash heavy.