Using Starling in Germany 🇩🇪


I spent a few days recently in Berlin, and used my Starling Debit Card, and Apple Pay whilst there.

Hilton- No problems using card, and funds recredited after 4 days to my Starling Card…
DM Drogerie - Used Apple Pay,again accepted without an issue
KaDeWe - Steiff Teddy bear purchased with no issue (although i did gasp at my missus choice of either medium cost or expensive, im sure you can guess which she went for ! :slight_smile: )
Hop on Off bus - remote terminal, again worked fine.
Most restaurants are cash only
We had one issue in a small shop, where I used contactless and it asked for a PIN to confirm,. which slightly through me off
Saturn, now accept cards apart from German Issued EC Cards…

The only major issue was finding an ATM, as the euronet ATM’s dont like Starling, but after seeing a few people walk away, i dont think its a starling issue.

All in all… Sehr Gut Starling Bank alles ist gut :slight_smile:


Good report @mozzauk. This “Starling in Xxxxx” looks like being a cracking reference for travellers.


This is such a great list of tips - thanks for starting this thread @mozzauk ! I was in Berlin recently too, so here’s some of mine to add.

In the city centre card payments are pretty common and super easy (and I love the spending notifications) but I did find that off the tourist track a lot more places are cash only so might be worth carrying some Euros just to be safe!

Also I did notice that contactless isn’t necessarily as standard as in the UK, although it was available most of the time. I did spot signs in a few chain stores (DM, Reichelt/Edeka and Aldi in particular) about the new contactless payment options!


In Köln at the moment. Have to agree with the previous comments.

For the most part use of Bankarte (bank card) is possible on the important things - ticket machines, hotels and restaurants. It’s rarely advertised whether they do or don’t take card. A lot of places still won’t take card, sometimes that fact is advertised (on menus or windows). Places with low price items or non brick structures (like street stalls) are the common culprits.

ATMs are quite plentiful, at least in Köln. So it’s worth carrying a bit of your budget in euro cash.


Aldi Sud or Aldi Nord?..there are two separate Aldi companies in Germany with different logos


Nord - and it came up with the Aldi Nord logo!


I’ll be in Dresden in a couple of weeks - so will report back!


This seems to be common behaviour in Germany for contactless transactions that exceed the limit (which I think is €25). Whereas here in the UK a transaction exceeding £30 would mean you’d have to insert your card in the slot and enter your PIN, in Germany you can just tap your card and enter your PIN. That’s worked for me at three different retailers.


In the UK I go to a BP garage in Chelmsford where I spend over £30 and use the card contactless for over £30 and it prints out a slip for signature rather than demands I insert my card and enter a pin. Weird it asks for a signature rather than a pin though. Also it took a while to work out the contactless receiver is on the right of the machine rather than the top.


Curious, I can’t remember the last time I had to sign, other than for refunds? I certainly haven’t had to since opening my Starling account. (I’ve also not been abroad recently.)


If you insert your card for a transaction over £30 it asks for a pin, it only asks for a signature if you try contactless for over £30.

I am not sure if the authorization priorities are dictated by the terminal settings or the mastercard.aim file on the Starling card chip


That is mighty odd behaviour! For no other reason, if there was a dispute with the transaction where would the liability sit: issuer or merchant? In a Chip ‘n’ PIN scenario the liability would be with the merchant, but no idea if the same would occur authorising the transaction by signature…?

And just for information, using either my Starling or my Curve card for transactions exceeding €25 would cause the PED to ask for my PIN. So I suspect the priorities are set by the PED rather than the card application.


Used a EuroNet ATM in Düsseldorf Airport today - no probs at all.


As promised, I said I would report back my experience on my recent Christmas market trip (which was cut short by 24 hours due to the snow!).

For the third year running I went to Dresden, which isnt the easiest city to get to. This year I was going to stay the night in Prague and get the train, however 24 hours I just flew into Prague and left.

On arrival I got the ‘Airport Express’ bus, where you can pay onboard with a card. At the train station, I paid for my train ticket, again, you can pay by card. In Dresden I noticed many more stalls offering card payments (I have been going to Christmas markets in Germany for over 10 years and there are definitely more), as well as cafes, restaurants and shops.

So, although it was a short trip - I didn’t spend any cash, I did the whole thing on my Starling debit card!


Nice one @AshleyQuint


Spent 3 days at Munich and 3 days at Berlin before Christmas. It was a great experience using a contactless card. However, as I have been to the Christmas Markets, they do not accept cards. Withdrawing from the ATMs can be misleading, once I withdrawed cash using the ATM’s rates, but after that I realised I have to choose the option to withdraw EURs (reject the exchange rate offered by the ATM and proceed with withdrawing EUR like a normal EU withdrawal).


I was in Dresden just before Christmas, and I would say 25% of the stalls accepted cards.


Is this down to the nature of the people in Germany ie they don’t like credit cards or is it down to Starling not working


It’s down to how they do things in Germany (and I promise I am not biased here :joy: )

At least in Berlin, which I know very well, they’re very cash based. When I asked my German best friend why she said a lot is to do with perceptions around privacy.


Technically, £30 (25 EUR) is the no CVM limit for contactless, not an absolute limit. CDCVM (mobile devices) and online PIN don’t have this limit. Neither does signature, but most banks will decline signature CVM contactless occurring in the UK, from my experience.

Cards have the CVM order set differently, some will prefer online PIN and some will prefer signature if the terminal supports both, but online PIN (being far more secure) seems to be the current preference. It’s worth noting that very, very few terminals in the UK support online PIN, so fallback to signature (and a likely, but not certain, decline) will happen.