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Cash

Pirsing

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planned Camino Frances/Ivierno (Sep 2022)
Do i need to bring cash to the camino in 2022? If yes, how much i need to carry on me?
Havent used cash in like 10 years :)
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Many hotels and restaurants now accept cards, however smaller village stores, bars, and albergues will want you to pay in cash. Donativo albergues have no way to accept a card. It is an additional charge for the use of a card to the vendor so they may allow purchases of only so many euros or more with a card. Additionally, we had one of our credit cards hacked this summer and our card vendor wanted us to stay in one place for several days to get a new one delivered. Glad we had a second unrelated credit card and also separate debit cards and were able to get cash.
 
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In last 10 years i was in Israel, Germany, Swiss, Czech, Slovakia and never saw a place that dont accept cards.
Im living in Tel Aviv and ppl here barely use cash.
But Tel Aviv is in Israel, not Spain. Things are different there, especially in rural Spain.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I will say that since Covid, more places do accept cards on the Camino than when we were there in 2019, however for small purchases, cash will be important. A coffee for 1, 20 euros or a beer or glass of wine for a euro for example as you make your way along the Camino or an albergue may want you to total all your purchases for the day (meals, drinks, and bed) and just pay once with the card to avoid the extra charges they incur for separate purchases.

My parents used to run a small antiques business and would give a 10 % discount for cash purchases so I know the card cost is a consideration in charges.
 
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I typically carried around 200 Euro in cash. I walked off and on with someone who didn't bring a debit card, thus I paid in cash for both of us at most places. Then I kept getting charged with the insane ATM fees since I was depleting my cash more quickly than anticipated. Carry cash, unless you can find a sucker like me...
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
In last 10 years i was in Israel, Germany, Swiss, Czech, Slovakia and never saw a place that dont accept cards. Im living in Tel Aviv and ppl here barely use cash.
None of the places you have been are like the Caminos in Spain.

After reading this thread, I do not think anyone has addressed your question completely, and, it is difficult to determine a good answer as we do not have all the information needed to provide that. In 2018, 40 euro would get you through a day, including food / meals and a bed. Today, that may be 60 euros.

The other issue is, not all villages have an ATM. So, a higher amount may have to be withdrawn to ensure getting stuck does not happen.
 
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SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Cash was helpful, so many small expenses (cafe con leche, pinchos, fruit, etc) were easier with it. I presume merchants have to pay a percentage on every card they process, and on a small expense I’m sure they appreciate the cash. The coins are a bit heavy but they spend pretty easily.


The percentage is indeed quite high. And this in combination with extreme high energy bills here in Europe does not make it easier for the small independent stores and restaurants.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
The percentage is indeed quite high.
Are we talking credit cards, or debit cards? Debit cards have much lower costs to both merchant and consumer than credit cards. Furthermore, I understand that there have been changes in EU regulations that limit the surcharges for card payments. Certainly, in recent years (perhaps accelerated by the pandemic), merchants have become more willing to accept cards than before, even for small amounts.

Handling cash is not free of burden to merchants. There are costs (labour, for example) associated with collecting and transferring cash to/from the banks.

Even so, I would always carry enough cash to survive a couple of days on the Camino.
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Are we talking credit cards, or debit cards? Debit cards have much lower costs to both merchant and consumer than credit cards. Furthermore, I understand that there have been changes in EU regulations that limit the surcharges for card payments. Certainly, in recent years (perhaps accelerated by the pandemic), merchants have become more willing to accept cards than before, even for small amounts.

Handling cash is not free of burden to merchants. There are costs (labour, for example) associated with collecting and transferring cash to/from the banks.

Even so, I would always carry enough cash to survive a couple of days on the Camino.


I can only speak for Belgian small businesses. Credit cards are hardly used here for daily small payments. Most payments or with a debit card but yes costs are still considerate for the small independent owners.
Though from this month on small enterprises are legally obliged to have a payment system aside cash.
Most businesses here use an app called Payconiq.

 
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
Here’s a thing about cash. If you’re running a small cafe/ bar in a poco pueblo chances are you’ll buy your beer, wine & spirits, likely your mixers and canned drinks from a wholesaler. Delivered on time, invoiced, payment at month end, maybe even a little discount for prompt payment by bank transfer or that non-rubber cheque.
If you buy your bread from the local panaderia, your salad and spuds and tomatoes from the local market or that grumpy campesino with the huerto that was worked by his grandfather- you pay cash. The window cleaner; the chica that helps on Sundays; the guy from the hills who does the serious aguadiente - you pay cash. Cash is the lifeblood of small, independent, traders. Take away cash and all that is left is the Brakes Brothers truck, and the Brakes Brothers menu and 1% of every transaction to the bankers ( I checked my typing on that one ). It’s only 1%? It’s on every transaction!
 
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henrythedog

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Here’s a thing about cash. If you’re running a small cafe/ bar in a poco pueblo chances are you’ll buy your beer, wine & spirits, likely your mixers and canned drinks from a wholesaler. Delivered on time, invoiced, payment at month end, maybe even a little discount for prompt payment by bank transfer or that non-rubber cheque.
If you buy your bread from the local panaderia, your salad and spuds and tomatoes from the local market or that grumpy campesino with the huerto that was worked by his grandfather- you pay cash. The window cleaner; the chica that helps on Sundays; the guy from the hills who does the serious aguadiente - you pay cash. Cash is the lifeblood of small, independent, traders. Take away cash and all that is left is the Brakes Brothers truck, and the Brakes Brothers menu and 1% of every transaction to the bankers ( I checked my typing on that one ). It’s only 1%? It’s on every transaction!
Looking at it slightly differently; it’s worse. We shouldn’t consider turnover, but rather profit.

Retail margins - after all costs paid - can easily be down in single figures. Big efficient retailers (in the UK) are around 6% gross profit (before tax)

If that small retailer’s making 4%, that 1% credit card fee knocks 25% off their profit.

(Thanks for signing up for maths 101)
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Time of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Are we talking credit cards, or debit cards? Debit cards have much lower costs to both merchant and consumer than credit cards. Furthermore, I understand that there have been changes in EU regulations that limit the surcharges for card payments. Certainly, in recent years (perhaps accelerated by the pandemic), merchants have become more willing to accept cards than before, even for small amounts.

Handling cash is not free of burden to merchants. There are costs (labour, for example) associated with collecting and transferring cash to/from the banks.

Even so, I would always carry enough cash to survive a couple of days on the Camino.
In the Netherlands it's like this,

The law does not oblige anyone to accept legal tender. Retailers may refuse cash (notes and coins) or payment by debit or credit card. However, retailers usually indicate which payment methods they do not accept. For example, through window stickers or checkout stickers.
 
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Lurch

Active Member
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looking at 2018-2019
In last 10 years i was in Israel, Germany, Swiss, Czech, Slovakia and never saw a place that dont accept cards. Im living in Tel Aviv and ppl here barely use cash.
That may be true, but many of the wide spots in Spain have one tienda, maybe two alburgues and 30 residents. Buying that banana or beer and staying in a hostel which holds 16 people may be a lot more difficult. Now if you plan to only stay in larger towns or cities, and have mapped it out, you will probably be OK. Me I carry at least 200-400 euros on me, gives you a lot more options!
 

Jodean

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I live in Frankfurt, THE banking city and there are any number of stores, restaurants, food stands, markets, etc. that only take cash. My tour business is one of them. The credit card fees for small businesses here, are not something I want to pay.
Cash in small towns and small businesses in Spain is preferable. Give it a try.
 
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Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
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All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
btw. Can i pay in Spain with google pay?
You can ,

There's no limit on the value of Google Pay transactions, and there are no fees to download the app or use it to make payments. However, many shops and businesses will limit the amount you can pay without entering a PIN or using fingerprint recognition to the contactless payment limit.🙏
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014.
Tap-to-pay with a card has relatively low limits but payments with Apple/Google Pay are usually much higher or unlimited. I’ve used Apple Pay for transactions upwards of 500 euros without a problem.
Thank you for that info, I have Google Pay but never use it so I wasn't sure if it had the same limit as tap to pay on a debit card.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
In last 10 years i was in Israel, Germany, Swiss, Czech, Slovakia and never saw a place that dont accept cards. Im living in Tel Aviv and ppl here barely use cash.

Same here in Sydney Australia. I haven't used cash in years.

But......in rural Spain many still use cash.........as you will find out ;) ;)
 
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witsendwv

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
(2015)
Cash was helpful, so many small expenses (cafe con leche, pinchos, fruit, etc) were easier with it. I presume merchants have to pay a percentage on every card they process, and on a small expense I’m sure they appreciate the cash. The coins are a bit heavy but they spend pretty easily.
I agree, we just picked up some Euros from our bank. Good exchange rate and no fees. We always carry cash and while we use a debit card at home here most of the time we have found that small businesses here are adding a percentage fee that they would typically be charged for accepting the card. Many have gone back to accepting checks in order not to be charged 2-4% per transaction. In Spain they must also have that extra charge for cards, so in small businesses we try to use cash.
 

JZA

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018, 2019, 2022
Do i need to bring cash to the camino in 2022? If yes, how much i need to carry on me?
Havent used cash in like 10 years :)
Some cash is essential. Even places that take card sometimes specify a particular card eg MB cards in Portugal. That said the pandemic has certainly shifted the balance away from cash a great deal.
 

trecile

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Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Some cash is essential. Even places that take card sometimes specify a particular card eg MB cards in Portugal.
That happened to me several times in Portugal where my US card was not accepted, but Portuguese cards were.
 
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Or.... get a card from a financial institution that REFUNDS atm fees. I use a Fidelity personally. When I see that 7 euro charge for atm fees, no worries.
Yep, and in the USA Charles Schwab seems to be well known. I've never had a problem nor paid any conversion fees overseas with my debit card associated with C.S.
 
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It also depends where you stay. If you are staying in albergues, most are for cash. If you are staying incommercial accommodation and buying supplies in towns or cities, cards are a feasible option. When I was last on the Camino, I found that most bars and restaurants (perhaps all of them) took cards, a great change from 15 years before. But for the reasons outlined by others, cash is preferred by many restaurants.
 

USMC-Pilgrim

I learned, the hard way!
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Camino Frances (SJPDP to Santiago) May-Jun 2022
Do i need to bring cash to the camino in 2022? If yes, how much i need to carry on me?
Havent used cash in like 10 years :)
I started the CF on May 18, 2022 and walked to SDC. My experience was that I could almost always pay for lodging with a credit card (hostels, albuergues @ booking.com). A few Casa Rurals identified upfront that Euros were required for payment. Grocery and pharmacies all take cards and I paid with my phone (Samsung Pay.) Bars and restaurants were mostly cash in smaller towns. Even then, if you ask they might take a card. I carried 300 Euros and replenished the wallet at the 100 mark to ensure I did not get caught in a cash situation. 100% you need to carry cash and coin, you chose the comfortable amount. Buen Camino!
 
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Not sure this is true. I mean the nice lady or man taking my money for their services rendered, they seem to like cards/digital too.
I would be fairly certain that it is. I have had restauranteurs complain to me about the credit card charges (usually about 3%). Mind you, I could have completely misunderstood them, such is the quality of my Castilian.
 
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I would be fairly certain that it is. I have had restauranteurs complain to me about the credit card charges (usually about 3%). Mind you, I could have completely misunderstood them, such is the quality of my Castilian.
Ok, that sucks. But seriously... the restaurants or hotels are coming around I think.
 
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I’m sure they weren’t complaining. After all, the banks profits were no doubt feeding into their pension fund 😉

The only additional comment I’ll add to this thread: I have never, ever, had an offer of cash declined. Nor have I ever seen a notice stating “no acceptamos dinero”
 
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