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Oh, Poland… as much as I love my country (something that I’m starting to question more and more), there are so many things that I miss when I’m here that are simple and I’ve gotten used to in America (like paying with an American Express). Thankfully, I don’t live in Poland the whole year (but rather use it as a base when I’m not travelling) and therefore I still travel to America quite a bit.
I’m currently in Kraków doing some major shopping for our new house and I’ve visited over 20 shops today and generally, I divide Poland into three categories – shops that don’t accept credit cards, shops that accept everything except American Express, and shops that accept all cards. Around 15 out of the 20 shops I visited today stated they accept American Express cards (with an AMEX logo on the door). How many of them actually did? 7 – only 7. That’s insane – half claim to accept AMEX cards and when you try to pay, the cashier gives you a blank stare because they have no idea what an AMEX is.
Look, I understand if I were in some small Polish village (where literally I can’t ever pay with a card), but I visited some of the main shops in Kraków and not only did I find it insane that some shops still don’t accept cards in the centre of Kraków, but also that most claim that AMEX is accepted when it really isn’t. Naturally, I paid for my items with a different credit card when I couldn’t use my AMEX, but still…
As far as actually applying for an American Express in Poland, the only way to get one is through the International Currency Card from American Express which isn’t directly issued in Poland. Don’t even get me started on the Miles & More credit card which offers only 2k miles as a sign-up bonus… oh, my. All in all, credit card issuers and shops accepting credit cards in Poland suck. You’d think that in a major city like Kraków there wouldn’t be a problem…
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