Exploring Iceland: Do You Really Need Cash or Credit Card?

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Are you planning to travel to Iceland and wondering whether you should bring cash or not? Well, you are in the right place. Iceland is a popular travel destination with its rugged landscapes, icy glaciers, geothermal hot springs, and Northern lights. As a first-time visitor, you might have several questions about the country. One of the common questions is whether you need cash or not. In this article, we will explore this question and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Using Credit Cards in Iceland

First things first, let’s talk about the use of credit cards in Iceland.

Iceland is a highly cashless society where credit and debit cards are widely accepted. In fact, many businesses, including small shops and restaurants, only accept cards, and it’s even possible to pay with cards in some of the remotest parts of the country. This means that you don’t have to carry a lot of cash when traveling to Iceland. Therefore, you can rely on your credit cards and use them wherever possible, which is the most convenient way of paying for things.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when using your cards in Iceland.

1. Notify your bank before leaving

Before you travel, ensure that you notify your bank about your trip so that they can approve transactions made overseas. Otherwise, your bank might see your overseas transactions as fraudulent and limit your account access. Therefore, it’s important to notify your bank in advance to avoid any inconvenience.

2. Check for foreign transaction fees

When using credit cards, be sure to check if your card issuer charges foreign transaction fees. If so, you might want to consider applying for a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees to avoid additional costs. Some cards offer rewards and bonuses for travel-related expenses, so it’s worth checking if your card provides such benefits.

3. Carry cash for emergencies

While it’s true that you can rely on your credit cards for most transactions in Iceland, it’s wise to have some cash on hand for emergencies. For example, if you are traveling to remote areas or planning to visit places where credit cards are not accepted, you might need cash. In such cases, it’s advisable to carry some Icelandic krona (ISK) with you.

ATMs in Iceland

If you need cash, you can withdraw Icelandic krona from ATMs in Iceland.

ATMs are widely available in Iceland, even in remote areas, and most of them accept major cards from international providers such as Visa and MasterCard. You can withdraw Icelandic krona from ATMs using your debit or credit card.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using ATMs in Iceland:

1. ATM fees

Be aware that your bank might charge you international ATM fees, so check with your bank before withdrawing cash. Additionally, some Icelandic banks might charge a withdrawal fee. Therefore, it’s important to check the fees with your bank or the ATM provider before using an ATM.

2. Use official ATMs

When using ATMs, make sure you use official ATMs located in banks, shopping centers, or other public places, and avoid using standalone machines on the street. The official ATMs have security cameras and are less likely to have card skimmers, which can steal your card information.

3. Be prepared for cash-only situations

While Iceland is mostly cashless, some places still only accept cash. For example, some small shops, cafes, and farmers’ markets might only accept cash payments. Therefore, it’s important to have some cash on hand for such situations.

Final Verdict

So, should you bring cash to Iceland?

While you can rely on your credit and debit cards for most transactions in Iceland, it’s wise to carry some cash with you for emergencies or cash-only situations. Therefore, we recommend bringing some Icelandic krona with you when you travel to Iceland, in addition to your cards. Withdraw cash from official ATMs, and be prepared for potential fees associated with using them.

Now you know everything you need to know about bringing cash to Iceland. Have a great trip!

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