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Terri Mapes

Credit Cards Not Accepted in Finland

By August 23, 2008

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A bit of bad news for anyone thinking about renting a car in Finland: You can't pay for gas with your credit card.

Yes, you may be the proud owner of a nice rental car (which, of course, you paid for with your credit card) but when it comes to getting gas, don't go to Finnish gas stations like Shell, Teboil or ABC. ďForeign Visas and Mastercards donít work in Finnish service stations. In some stations you canít even pay with your card at the cashier," states Financial Newspaper Taloussanomat.

In the Helsinki city area (map here), you do have the option of using your card - but only at Neste service stations. It has been said that Finnish gas stations are working on the situation and hope to support foreign credit cards soon. Until then, make sure to carry cash for gas or stop at an ATM.

On a lighter note about driving in Finland: Did you know that if you drive along Highway 1 and want to use Finnish roadside toilets, you have to text-message "OPEN" to the Finnish Road Administration? Seriously!

August 23, 2008 at 5:23 pm
(1) Penelope says:

Hmmm… interesting. I use my Bank of America debit/Visa at the Prisma ABC in Kokkola all the time with no problem. Of course, I can’t use the pay-at-the-pump kiosk because the card isn’t a “chip” card. But the card has never been rejected. Perhaps this is because it’s a debit card, but I hardly think so.

August 23, 2008 at 6:01 pm
(2) Terri says:

That’s good to know, Penelope. Thanks for sharing your experience regarding this. I do hope more service stations will be able to accept credit cards soon.

August 23, 2008 at 9:52 pm
(3) Tuija says:

I’ve used my Canadian credit cards to buy gas at Finnish gas stations for years (last December was the last time) so I don’t know what this is about. Can you give us the link to the Finnish Taloussanomat article…I did not find it on their site…so that we can understand what this is about.

August 24, 2008 at 12:44 pm
(4) Scandinavia Travel says:

With the positive comments from travelers, is it possible the press release was a hoax?

The Helsinki Times has picked up the story here

August 25, 2008 at 2:40 am
(5) Tuija says:

I finally found the actual article in Taloussanomat. http://www.taloussanomat.fi/ratkaisut/2008/07/27/ulkomaalaisen-visa-ei-toimi-huoltamoilla/200819463/133
It’s in Finnish, of course, but the gist is that the pumps in most self-serve stations (they call them “cold” stations)have old technology that, apparently, does not read foreign cards.it ends with: “When the cards with chips become more common, this problem will disappear.”

August 25, 2008 at 10:36 am
(6) Terri says:

Interesting, Tuija. So we can’t use credit cards there unless they have the chip on them.

June 2, 2009 at 9:50 pm
(7) Kate says:

I just returned from a two week trip through Denmark, Norway and Sweden. I have a CHIP credit card and it worked fine with the exception of all gas stations. It wouldn’t work at the pump, nor would it work inside – I had to sign every time, and believe me, this was sometimes a difficult routine as I would have to show another piece of ID, or wait for the cashier to call a manager. It was very frustrating…

June 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm
(8) Lars says:

I’m in Denmark right now, and I’ve been through the rest of the Nordic countries in the last month, and it’s true, most places here will not take an American Credit Card, unless it has a pincode. It appears that there is an exception with American Express, but not everyone takes it. More tourist friendly places (shops in big cities) will take your card and override the machine to do it with a signature instead of the pincode, but don’t dare try to use your visa at a local grocer or the like. I spoke with a store manager about it, and they claim that it’s something that the credit companies have requested them to require. When told that we don’t use pin codes on credit cards in the U.S., except for cash advances, they don’t really seem to care. And if you try and tell them they can override it and get a signature, they’ll tell you they can’t, which is a lie. They can do it, they just don’t know how to do it. I know this, because I was able to do it at one ABC in Finland and not another identical ABC, only because they had a manager on who said, ‘oh, yeah, you just do this and get a signature instead.’

September 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm
(9) sandrar says:

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

November 8, 2009 at 10:15 am
(10) Jussi Paronen says:

Just confirming that my Canadian Credit Cards, with or without the Chip did not work for me in Finland. Very frustrating. I tried Visa, AmEx and Mastercard on many Gasstations. Finland is strange, with all it’s electronics, one would think that this would work and that one would not have to pay for to use a washroom in some public places (what do you do if you don’t have a Euro coin in your pocket when in need????

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