In most countries in Europe we are used to using Visa and MasterCard cards, they are popular around the world and it is almost obvious that we can pay everywhere with these cards. Unfortunately, in the Netherlands card system looks a little bit different. Dutch people mostly don’t use these cards, so most places in the Netherlands don’t accept them at all.
If you are only going to Amsterdam for a few days it is possible that you are not going to see any problem, but if you going to leave the tourist city centre and would like to shop in the local supermarket, it is possible you will be able to pay there only with Maestro card or Cash. Unfortunately, because of the covid pandemic, more places stopped accepting cash, so it gets really hard to pay in some of them now.
What is a Maestro card?
Maestro is a payment system that belongs to MasterCard, similar to Visy or Mastercard, but a little bit different. In different countries, it can work a little bit differently and it is not always compatible, so I will focus on Maestro in the Netherlands. The card has printed the account number of the owner, when you pay with this card, money is transferred immediately from your account (like a normal transfer). Additionally, because the card doesn’t have a card number it is not possible to pay on the Internet. Normal cards work in a little bit different way (don’t transfer money immediately) so it is not possible to pay with them in places where only a Maestro card is accepted. But it is mostly possible to pay with Maestro where MasterCard is accepted.
How to pay in the Netherlands?
If you are a tourist just get cash from ATM or bring it from your home country.
If you just moved to the Netherlands and you are planning to stay here for longer, it would be good to open a local bank account. How to open a bank account in the Netherlands: a guide for expats.
How do Dutch people pay online?
I mentioned before that Dutch Maestro cards can’t be used for online payments. So how do local people pay for online shopping? There are a few options, but the most popular is Idea, a local Dutch QR code payment system. What is iDEAL? A guide about Dutch online payments.
Video about banking in the Netherlands
Because many people are interested in information about banking in the Netherlands, I have recorded a video about the topic.