Hey Netherlands, what’s the hold up with accepting credit cards?

Maestro's reign must end πŸ—‘οΈ

We’re still waiting for the Netherlands to get its act together and start accepting credit cards and Visa- or Mastercard-branded debit cards.

Cast your minds back to January 2023, when Mastercard announced they would stop issuing Dutchies’ beloved Maestro debit cards.

Instead, “the new debit cards,” branded with Visa or Mastercard and can also be utilised as credit cards, would take their place.

Over 14 months later, we’re still wondering when it’s really going to happen.

That leads us to a sticky bit of truth: banks are making the switch β€” but are the stores?

When progress isn’t progress

Approximately 98% of all payment machines are able to accept the new debit cards, reports NU.nl.

The remaining 2% are mostly in unmanned payment machines, like gas stations, parking garages, vending machines, or public toilets.

Yet local Albert Heijn’s still have a big “NO CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED” sticker over all payment terminals, which applies to any bank card with a credit card logo on it β€” even if it’s still a debit card.

Maybe it’s a simple issue: the machines can accept the new cards, but stores are choosing not to?

Small banks leading the way

Those who bank at Van Lanschot, Triodos, and bunq already have new debit cards in their wallets.

Revolut, N26, and Openbank are also up to date.

However, major Dutch banks like ING and ABN AMRO promise to start issuing the new cards only this year.

READ MORE | The best banks in the Netherlands for internationals in 2024

This lag is causing problems, with Dutchies who own the new cards reporting that they simply can’t pay in some places.

The plague of Maestro

Many internationals in the Netherlands have felt the pain, confusion, and embarrassment of attempting to pay with their home bank card upon arrival in the Netherlands, only to receive a resounding and disappointing “BEEP” from the payment terminal.

READ MORE | Transaction declined: why don’t my bank cards work in the Netherlands?

Yes, we’ve all been there. Unfortunately, because Dutch people are downright frightened of debt, they have long been a debit-only society.

Is it a debit card that has a Mastercard or Visa logo on it? Nee dank je wel.

Yet, Mastercard are forcing them to move with the times. That’s a win in our books.

Have you experienced being able to use a credit card in the Netherlands recently? Where was it, and when? Share your experience in the comments below!

Feature Image:Freepik
Samantha Dixon πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί
Samantha Dixon πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ίhttps://gallivantations.com
Sam has over six years experience writing about life in the Netherlands and leads the content team at DutchReview. She originally came to the Netherlands to study in 2016 and now holds a BA (Hons.) in Arts, a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and (almost) a Masters in Teaching. She loves to write about settling into life in the Netherlands, her city of Utrecht, learning Dutch, and jobs in the Netherlands β€” and she still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike (she's learning!).

5 COMMENTS

  1. I find it illogical that I can pay with my pre-loaded card at Jumbo, Beilen, but not at Jumbo, Westerbork.

  2. It makes it often impossible for an by Australian citizen to pay for a holiday in the Metherlands.
    I recently tried to book a house on Vlieland and as creditcards were not accepted I had to ask my sister in law who lives in the Netherlands to pay. Ridiculous.

  3. I used credit cards via Apple Pay everywhere in Amsterdam recently including Albert Heijn, without any problem.

  4. A creditcard company is a company that sits between me and my purchase and is earning quite a lot of money there. It is a lose-lose proposition for both the buyer and the seller. Creditcards, no thank you!

  5. The main issue is the Dutch have always had a functioning system that doesn’t depend on Master/Visa cards, which incur higher processing fees than Dutch debit cards. This system benefits Dutch entrepreneurs and consumers due to Maestro’s low fees. Switching to Master/Visa would introduce unnecessary costs, even for debit-only cards, without providing any tangible benefits. There’s no incentive for anyone, except tourists, to switch to the more expensive Master/Visa cards.

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