The Dutch Payment systems are running on older software and are mostly using Maestro and V-pay, instead of your card that is probably a Mastercard, American Express or Visa Payment card.

This means that your card will not work in the Netherlands. It’s not your fault and also your bank can’t change this overnight. When you are in the Netherlands for less than a month, your best option is cash. If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands longer than a month, look at a Bank Account so you can pay everywhere at any time. Since the Netherlands tries to phase out all forms of Cash payments, you will probably need a bank card at some point.

How can I pay in the Netherlands with a Debit Card?

A debit Card is not a debit card in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, we use an older payment method Maestro (owned by Mastercard) & V-pay (owned by Visa). For this reason, mostly in supermarkets, you can’t use your Debit Card that is a Mastercard or a Visa. You need a banking card that uses the older payment technology which you can get at all the ‘traditional banks’ by opening a Bank Account.

Updates are coming in 2023

Recently, Mastercard and Visa together announced that they will replace the payment system slowly by updating all payment terminals in the Netherlands and also replace all banking cards that are currently used by Dutchies. This update will roll-out over the end of 2022 up to summer 2023, so we have to wait a little bit longer for you to use your local card in the Netherlands.

What to do as a tourist in the Netherlands who can’t pay with a Debit Card?

If you are in tourist areas like the centre of Amsterdam, you will be fine by paying with your Mastercard and Visa Debit Card. Most tourist stores and also the international chains are covered by Mastercard and Visa. You will get into problems when you go to supermarkets. Most of the big supermarket chains like Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Coop and Plus usually don’t accept Mastercard or Visa. Also when you go to less touristy areas in the Dutch country-side you will need a card because your local/international card will not be accepted.

Paying with a Credit Card in the Netherlands?

In the Netherlands we don’t have a ‘credit-card culture’ compared to the USA. We simply don’t use our Credit Cards everyday, but most for transactions of bigger amounts. You will also never pay groceries, a coffee to-go or other smaller transactions with a Credit Card in the Netherlands. Often it is smart to make bigger purchases with your credit card since insurance is included and also it’s a dual payment system instead of how Maestro works. Don’t make any cash withdrawals with your Credit Card. In the Netherlands you use your Debit Card for withdrawal of cash.

Do you want to get a better understanding of how Credit Cards work in the Netherlands? Please have a look at our guide.

Open a Bank Account in the Netherlands

If you move to the Netherlands, you should open a bank account in the Netherlands. This will allow you to receive salary, allowances and pay your bills. Quite some companies with recurring monthly payments (like Netflix or Health Insurance) only accept Dutch Bank Accounts. We have written a whole guide on how this works in the Netherlands. You can find it here.