Currency European States Officially Using the Euro Andorra Austria Belgium Cyprus Czech Republic Estonia Finland France (including most French territories) Germany Greece Ireland Italy Kosovo Luxembourg Malta Monaco Montenegro Netherlands Portugal San Marino Slovakia Slovenia Spain (including most Spanish territories) Vatican City Culture Shock Many smaller stores and restaurants will not take any credit cards. Those that do may charge you a certain % more to use the card. It is best to ask in advance if you can use your credit card. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are the most accepted cards. The banks hours vary, but as a rule most banks are open from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. To close for a long lunch is still very common. On Thursdays, many banks stay open later, on Fridays they might close early. German banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Although it is possible to get a German bank account, it is not necessary as the on-post banks can carry out most banking business for you. Exchanging Money Foreign money can be exchanged in banks (your local community bank/credit union or German banks), where exchange rates are better than in hotels, tourist information or currency exchange shops. The Wechselstuben (exchange offices) at the main train stations in large cities are open from very early until very late, and on weekends. You can use your Bankcards at most German Geldautomaten (ATMs) to withdraw €. Directions are usually in German, French and English. If the bank is closed but you need to use the ATM; slide your card into the slot by the door and it will let you into the foyer of the bank, where the ATM machine is usually located. Paying with money Transfers Checks are rarely used in Germany for payments and when they are, it's usually in the form of an Eurocheque, for which you need a German bank account. The preferred way of payment of any kind is an Überweisung (a bank money transfer). You can transfer money to a German company by filling out an Ü berweisungsauftrag (money transfer form) at any bank (this includes the banks on base). Your bank then carries out the transfer for you. You might want to use a Dauerauftrag (standing money order) if you have to pay the same amount to the same person every month (for example rent). Money Transfer Form You will need to fill out this form to pay your phone bill and speeding tickets among other things. Your bank on post will show you how to fill out the form to transfer money from your US $ account to a German DM or Euro account for a small fee. The fees at the banks on post are much less than the Bundespost or a bank downtown.