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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.

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