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December 7th, 2012, 11:48
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Not sure, my family had always had one, and I got my own quite early (when I was an exchange student). I assume one reason is that debit cards are so widespread, and you can pay pretty much anything with them within Germany. But I am not even sure what the actual statistics are on this…
I know no-one in my area having one.

Paying with Giro-Cards has become common only in the recent years. Credit Cards are just uncommon, I don't really know why, too. It's just a fact that i know no-one who has one. They all use Giro-payments as bank transfers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giro

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparkasse

I have the suspicion that this might also be an age thing. I tend to believe that the older pople become, the less they are used to the concept of Credit Cards. And since with Giro you have the possibility to pay anywhere as well, so why bother at all ?

People just use their bank account cards - often Sparkassen accounts - with everything. The Sparkasse - a kind of public bank - has seemingly just filled this "ecological niche", I guess. The Sparkasse is the overwhelming main bank service here in Germany. Other banks are there and popular, but the Sparkasse is something almost everyone uses.

More info here :

This is the most important information about German payment habits, I think : Giro cards, this is what I called a "Sparkassen-Karte", because the local Sparkassen give these cards out :
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girocard
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girocard

Interestingly, although meant to be "for international use", both Maestro and Cirrus are never an option for U.S. - based payment methods :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maestro_(debit_card)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirrus_(interbank_network)
These two services are what I think all Sparkassen-Cards have additionally.

Euroscheck cards : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheque_guarantee_card
Debit cards -> Germany : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debit_card#Germany
Additional information : Landesbanken : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landesbank

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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