Spain largely cashless

I was travelling in Asia during the first gulf war. First thing I noticed is my Garmin GPS stopped working because they disabled the satellite accuracy as this was way before phones had GPS in them. Second thing that happened during the initial invasion (Desert Storm) my EFT started erroring out, both ATM and multiple credit cards. Calls to the bank resulted in replies that things were slowing down due to the invasion and asked me to be patient. Things did normalize after a week or so but I know there were many foreigners in panicked states trying to get local currency only to find the international EFT network was not working as expected.

I believe we are only one significant black swan event (i.e. terrorist attack on the banking system, etc.) from having international EFT be disabled for an extended amount of time. When travelling overseas I always have a sufficient amount of survival cash with me at all times.
 
Cash may still be "King" in some places. "Know before you go" is the watch-phrase, I guess. Thanks for the info.
Yeah, I'm going to ask a lot of questions of the guide on this before the trip. The guide always e-mails a few weeks beforehand to set up a call. Sweden is our starting point so I can ask him/her about Sweden before I go and ask about the others as we approach them. I'll also ask him/her what currency they prefer for tipping. I'll be overnighting in London on the way so $US, sterling and possibly Euros (I think some ATMs at Heathrow dispense them) are all options.
 
Yeah, I'm going to ask a lot of questions of the guide on this before the trip. The guide always e-mails a few weeks beforehand to set up a call. Sweden is our starting point so I can ask him/her about Sweden before I go and ask about the others as we approach them. I'll also ask him/her what currency they prefer for tipping. I'll be overnighting in London on the way so $US, sterling and possibly Euros (I think some ATMs at Heathrow dispense them) are all options.
Sweden is interesting. The government has been on a push for years to become a 100% cashless society, and they have their own payment system for smartphones called Swish. It's really cool in that you can use it for payments, transfers to friends, splitting a check at a restaurant, etc., so it takes the place of several other apps. Unfortunately, you have to be a Swedish citizen to be able to use it.

But there has recently been a lot of pushback from citizens there who want to keep cash as part of the economy. So in spite of the strong government endorsement it seems that cash will stay with us for some time yet. There are roughly 10 Swedish kronor to the dollar so it's an easy conversion.
 
I’m hoping not to deal with cash at all in Prague. The Czech Koruna is approximately 25 to 1 Euro so the math isn’t too bad. But I’ll be adding the tip to any credit card payment so I’ll have to be careful.
 
I’m hoping not to deal with cash at all in Prague. The Czech Koruna is approximately 25 to 1 Euro so the math isn’t too bad. But I’ll be adding the tip to any credit card payment so I’ll have to be careful.
You should be fine. There’s only one place in Prague that I encountered that required cash: the Zizkov TV Tower. This was my second time there and last time they required cash too. Otherwise Apple Pay worked everywhere I went.
 
When folks are saying Tap - I thought it was Tap with a CC. I don't have apple pay or google pay, so hoping at least sometimes the Tap means with CC.

Here is US, I practically never use cash, and on trips to Canada, same thing, just Tap with CC.
Whether using a cc or your phone with an app, to “tap” is literally the same thing. Physical contact doesn’t have to be made. It just have to be close enough. I know devices are different depending on what system it is, but I’m amazed how many people don’t know how to use the tap feature here in the states.

I also don’t use cash unless a restaurant doesn’t accept CCs. I like to make my CC rewards work for me.

I’m not an alarmist by any means, but just wanted to share something from someone I know that was just to Spain. Apparently bag or purse snatching is a big problem there. People will drive a scooter or bike by you and attempt to snatch your bag off of you. Please, just be aware of your surroundings.
 
My dentist prefers personal checks because he actually gives a discount for checks (or, I suppose cash) rather than CC. I'm okay with it because the discount is way more than the cash-back I get with the card. YMMV
 
We use so little cash in the US that we haven’t used an ATM in years. I used to have the Costco Cash rewards that would replenish any cash spent and was basically my ATM. Now I direct deposit the Costco rewards and we still don’t need cash!

Basically tips for the hairdressers is it.
My hairdresser was charging 3% to use a CC. I no longer go there. Found a much better one.
 
We are little more than half through our adventures in Spain. Last year I posted that the UK is nearly cashless. I’m reporting that Spain is also. Upon arrival, we withdrew 100 euros for incidental expenses. After 4 weeks, our cash supply is largely untouched. Tap and go is so common. It’s easy to ask the server to punch in the total on their handheld terminal with an added amount if you choose to tip. I personally love the system. It creates a wonderful electronic trail of all the places and restaurants we visited.
We spent a month in the UK and our initial 30 pounds never ran out. Even buskers singing on the street have a wireless POS that automatically takes a dollar when you tap it with your phone or credit card. A pleasure, and you get a better conversion rate on your card than any exchange bureau will give
 
Japan is heavy on cash but it was fun to have a pocketful of coins. Once your pockets got too heavy it was easy to unload them at one of the ubiquitous vending machines.
 
Just got back from 8 weeks in New Zealand. I used zero cash there. In fact, I have no idea what New Zealand currency even looks like.

Here in the US, I carry enough cash to hold me over if (when) the bank’s ATM systems crash.

I think at some point cash will become illegal. The government can’t track cash transactions…
 
I’m hoping not to deal with cash at all in Prague. The Czech Koruna is approximately 25 to 1 Euro so the math isn’t too bad. But I’ll be adding the tip to any credit card payment so I’ll have to be careful.
I did run into a cash only situation in Prague a couple of times for small amounts. In both cases they accepted Euros and one returned change in Euros thankfully because we only had a larger bill. We left the room tips in Euros.
 
Cashless would kill Vegas.

Last time, at Blackjack table, guy kept reaching into his satchel pulling out wads of cash. $20k at a time. Once, it wasn’t $100’s, but a bunch of small bills. They Took it to the back room where they had a counting machine. That wad was only $19,980. Guy lost $70k in about 40 minutes. Buddy and I thought he looked like a cartel guy, probably trying to launder their border crossing dough. lol. Didn’t launder, but burned that batch.
 
I guess I am old school. I try to always use cash. Why? It is not that I am worried about some governmental agency tracking my every move. (That would be a boring job, let me tell you!) It has to do with spending.

I spend less when I do all my transactions in cash. It's just too easy to tap and go and spend and spend. So I do old fashioned things like making grocery lists with care and research the cash price first and only take what I plan to spend, etc.

I also have some concerns about security and like to keep my bank accounts as firewalled as possible, so I don't use ATM cards at all (I take out cash from the bank when I need to) and I have only one credit card that I only use when I must.

It works for me, so I will always fight for the option to use cash.

Funny story: I went to a restaurant once that didn't take cash. I don't have a problem with this at all-it's your business, do what you like. If I know this, I just take my business elsewhere. However, what I did have a problem with was the fact that there was no obvious signage to this effect nor was I told about the credit card only rule prior to ordering.

My bill came, I gave cash and they said "we don't take cash." When I said this was news to me they pointed to a tiny little sign in the corner that did say credit cards only. I said I honestly didn't see that tiny little sign. When I was told I could pay with a credit card or my phone, I told them I had neither with me. (I don't like phones much, either.)

The staff was completely flummoxed. When the manager came, I told them I wasn't trying to cause trouble, I just didn't know and I only had cash. After a couple of times repeating the non-cash methods I told the manager to either call the police to arrest me or take my cash. They took the cash. (The manager charged the meal on his credit card and took my cash.)

Needless to say, I don't go back to that restaurant. But I do see they have a big sign on the door now. My guess is they wanted to go cashless but not advertise the fact as it turns off a subset of customers. But some of us still do not use phones or carry cards, so they need to be clear.
 
We are little more than half through our adventures in Spain. Last year I posted that the UK is nearly cashless. I’m reporting that Spain is also. Upon arrival, we withdrew 100 euros for incidental expenses. After 4 weeks, our cash supply is largely untouched. Tap and go is so common. It’s easy to ask the server to punch in the total on their handheld terminal with an added amount if you choose to tip. I personally love the system. It creates a wonderful electronic trail of all the places and restaurants we visited.
Having traveled to Europe 4x in the last year as well as Australia & NZ, that is typical.
I think I had one cabby that required cash in Hamburg; and I always have some cash for street vendors (food trucks, flea markets)--tho even they typically expect most will pay by card & have a system.
Honestly, we are 95% card transactions in the US.
 
I just went to a BBQ place that I had not been to in years. They had a large sign right where you order at the counter, "3.99% discount for cash".
 
In Brazil, even the street vendors selling stuff from folding tables had a wireless POS machine you could use to pay by card. I hardly saw anyone use cash for anything, and like some other travelers have reported here, I returned home with pretty much all the cash I had withdrawn from an airport ATM the first day there.

Cashless payment has been a boon for developing countries. It is we "developed" countries that are slow to adopt.
 
I did run into a cash only situation in Prague a couple of times for small amounts. In both cases they accepted Euros and one returned change in Euros thankfully because we only had a larger bill. We left the room tips in Euros.
I’m happy that they accepted Euros. Maybe that’s more common in Prague or tourist places?

I know of places I pay cash in Czech, but usually their smaller outfits and not in Prague. I don’t think they’d take Euros (but I’ve never tried).
 
I’ve had good luck avoiding places that don’t take cash. They’re definitely out there, but it’s been easy to find alternatives. But recently in Berlin, I wasn’t paying attention and sat down for lunch. Half way through lunch, I realized that this might be a cash-only place and I had no cash. I always carry a debit card with me, just in case. There was an ATM close by and I was with DD, so it was easy enough to get cash for the bill. It would been harder if I was solo.
 
They took the cash. (The manager charged the meal on his credit card and took my cash.)

Needless to say, I don't go back to that restaurant. But I do see they have a big sign on the door now. .
Good for you! Polcies as important as cash only or credit only need to be in big, bold letters more than one place in every store.
 
We are also moving to become 'more' cashless here. We were late on paying the Citibank Costco Visa card, so we took cash to pay on last day! Well, had to deposit the money into the Checking Account first, and then pay out of the Citibank Checking account. Cash payment to pay off Credit Card was NOT allowed, no matter what. Of course, Costco does not take the Visa Card payment either (as per Citibank).

I also have an issue with Chase, where they do not like my 1 or 2 Rental Tenants going into the Bank and depositing Cash as their Monthly Rent into the account! What the heck? The same Tenant could offer cash, buy a Money Order / Cashier Check and go to the next Teller and deposit into the account!!!!!! More than weird, it is just illogical rules (besides charging the Tenant $8 for CC).

So, we are moving closer to the cashless society but it will take some time even though we have Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, and also Debit/Credit/Prepaid cards.

Ken
 
I’m happy that they accepted Euros. Maybe that’s more common in Prague or tourist places?

I know of places I pay cash in Czech, but usually their smaller outfits and not in Prague. I don’t think they’d take Euros (but I’ve never tried).
This was definitely a tourist area. It was some gardens below the Prague Castle. They clearly posted entry prices in Euros as well as CZK. In the small cafe at the top I was surprised that they would give change in Euros but it became obvious that it was routine with all the customers coming in - all tourists.
 
I'm one of those who thinks that going completely cashless is a huge mistake.
Why? Or does it depend on whether we are talking developed countries or developing countries? In the US, I would agree that completely cashless would be a mistake, because it can be a burden on people of lesser means or older people who are satisified and comfortable with the way things have long worked for them. But from what I have seen of the developing world (admittedly relatively little), seemingly every consumer has a smartphone, every merchant has a portable POS terminal, and they are grateful this technology has come along. People who never had access to banks now have accounts, for example.
 
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