Currency in Spain / Barcelona is the euro €. There are not that many exchange offices anymore since the launching of the euro. You can exchange currencies at the airport for sure, for example swiss franks into euros. You can get cash all day and night with the Maestro (EC) card and credit cards at countless cash mashines in the city.
Many banks have their cash machines in a small anteroom.
Pay attention - like everywhere else too - that nobody looks over your shoulder or any manipulation of the machine has taken place, when typing in your pin number.
Here you'll find phone numbers for emergency cases and to lock your credit cards.
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, particularly in hotels, department stores and restaurants. Note that most institutions charge a fee for the use of the card in foreign countries. Please check on your contract.
If your credit card is lost, you can contact the service and emergency centre. For MasterCard and VISA cards the contact number is:
MasterCard: 001 - 63 67 22 71 11
Visa Card: 001 - 410 581 3836
Cash payments are only permitted up to an amount of €2,500 if one of the two parties trades commercially. For example, if you want to buy an antique for €2,900, you have to pay for it by credit card, direct debit or bank transfer.
In restaurants, the waitress doesn't get paid straight away. You are usually brought a small pencil case with the bill to the table. Here you either put your credit card or the corresponding amount including the tip. If it doesn't fit, just wait, the waiter or waitress will bring you the remaining money. Then leave the tip in the portfolio. If you pay by credit card, you can include the tip on the receipt or you have some small change left. Then cross out the line with the tip in the document and write the invoice amount in the total field.
The tip is not too big. About 5% or round up to a rounded amount is usual. In restaurants, only one person pays at the table, and the rest are settled among themselves.
Note on VAT: do not be surprised if the invoice amount in the restaurant is suddenly higher than you calculated. Often the 10% VAT is not included in the price. But this is on the menu.
The exchange rates are subject to daily, sometimes considerable fluctuations. In addition, you can be charged surcharges and fees by the banks when exchanging and purchasing with a credit card. Merchants themselves are no longer allowed to request surcharges for certain payment methods in the EU.
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