ATM in Germany -> declined

I doubt this is correct, due to EU regulation Credit and Debit Card transaction fees are limited for Credit 0,3% and 0,2% for debit. (Except Amex)- the issue lots of dealers dont know that and are still reserved here as they never noticed that Credit Card payment is not any more an expensive thing for the dealer

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That’s the fee that the card networks charge the merchant processors (acquirers). There is no cap on how much the acquirer can charge the merchant to process the transaction.


Julien, I have had the exact same issue at Santander, Commerzbank, Postbank, and 1 other. Marie is aware of my issue through the Beta forum for Amex.
I tried them across the last 3 days and no joy whatsoever. Postbank and Santander worked for me only a month or so ago and the card itself is otherwise working for my other transactions in Germany, contactless at Starbucks for example. Something is broken for sure…My normal Santander Debit card worked fine however, so this is something either with Curve or its intermediaries I suspect, but I will leave that to the Curve experts of course.


Thank for your help on this!

Still, with all card schemes having the same interchange fee, there’s no reason why the acquirer would charge significantly different fees in processing MasterCard vs maestro as an example and I don’t know of any acquirer that does have significantly different fees depending on the scheme. What I see at most is a 0.1% difference

AMEX will also be covered by the interchange fee cap starting in 2019. It’s the reason they cancelled in Europe all agreements with banks where the bank would act as the issuer instead of AMEX issuing the card directly.

With the bank taking a cut, there just wasn’t enough margin for AMEX now that there are the caps

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For example, SumUp charges 0.95% for Girocards (Maestro) and 2.75% for credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, etc.)

You’re confusing one thing, Girocards are not Maestro. Girocard is a card scheme on its own and the cards are dual scheme cards with both Girocard and Maestro, just like in Portugal virtually all cards are Multibanco + something else, usually MC or Visa or Maestro.

Nonetheless, probably Maestro falls in the same fee category as MC/Visa and Girocard is cheaper, which would make sense in this case as the banks own Girocard so they’re paying the fee to themselves


Indeed, this is pretty common throughout the world but often causes confusion. Australia has EFTPOS, US has various debit networks, Canada has Interac etc. These networks rarely benefit consumers though (in most countries that use these types of programs, banks have much higher fees).


That I didn’t know. Why would countries create some internal network if they’re going to charge higher fees? Wont merchants start to accept only MC/Visa since it’s both an international brand as well as cheaper?

Here in Portugal Multibanco was created exactly to save on fees, both for the banks as well as the merchants. Before the EU interchange fee cap, the acquirer charged (we only had one) about 0.2% to merchants for Multibanco payments, while charging 2.5/3% for MC/Visa

Interac is actually free for merchants in Canada (or near free) but obviously this means that banks make no money from debit transactions. Therefore most bank accounts have a monthly fee and charge for debit transactions (most people use credit cards and just pay in full instead). The same happened in the US once they started mandating debit based merchant processing. The same is also the case in Australia.

Here in Portugal the mindset and what the people are willing to accept is quite different. Banks aren’t expected to make money from transaction or maintaining accounts. Merchant fees are at near cost, ATM withdrawals are free and with no limits and accounts are usually free to maintain. The idea that you may be charged to keep your money at the bank or to use/withdraw it would probably stop the country in protest

Banks are only expected to make money from corporate costumers, loans and investments, anything provided its unrelated from current accounts and debit transactions/withdrawals

Oh really? Thats news for me, thx for sharing :slight_smile:
That explains a lot then since AmEx won’t make much less money on interchange fees.

That’s what’s explained in the letter every amex cardholder here in Portugal received. They’ll only continue issuing in Europe cards they issue themselves. Here in Portugal all amex cards were issued in partnership with banks and the situation is similar in most countries. They specifically mention in the letter their reason is “regulatory requirements that will start to apply to amex in 2019 with regard to fees paid by merchants”

News reports clearly mention the reason being the interchange fee cap

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again, thx for sharing :slight_smile:
So the interchange fee cap does not apply to AmEx cards issued directly by AmEx?

It does apply to all cards. It’s simply that with cards directly issued by them there is not bank to take a cut of the money. At least for now they must think there’s still room to make money when they’re not sharing with a bank

PS: a spokeman from Millennium BCP, one of the 2 banks that issued amex and the one that brought amex to Portugal, had a 10 minutes interview explaining the whole situation

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Amex cards issued directly by Amex themselves aren’t affected by the interchange cap. If they are issued in partnership with another bank, directly by another bank or are cobranded with another company then the fee cap does apply.

Interesting :thinking:

After reading up on it further, the letters sent by the bank to Portuguese cardholders state amex will end all bank card issuing agreements due to the interchange cap and the fact both parties (amex and bank) have to take a share of said fee, situation which amex decided was no longer a worthwhile business for them, so only cards directly issued by amex will continue to exist and they’ll have to terminate your card on x date, etc.

I perhaps wrongly assumed by the wording that the fee applies to both situations. It seems the bank, who wrote the letter, made it purposefully misleading. The original Portuguese clearly points to both situations being affected by the interchange cap

Hi everyone,

After a quiet couple of months, I am coming back for a bit of feedback from ATM in Germany :slight_smile: please find the message from the KreissparkKasse yesterday when I was trying to get some cash… 5 euros fees ? mental !

:scream: I’m not a huge fan of ATMs in Germany. I think N26 has a good solution where they show you which stores you can get cash from. The cashier just scans the QR code from the app and you’re good to go.

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