One of the most popular ways of paying for thingsÂ in shops in Germany is by ec-card â€“ a standardised debit card that is issued by most banks and accepted by most shops. The card, which has a both a magnetic strip and a chip on it, generally comes with a PIN and you enter the PIN when paying to confirm the transaction, although some older card readers still require you to sign a slip of paper instead.
The money is debited from your bank account in a similar way to a direct debit (â€śLastschriftâ€ť), but the similarity stops here. Because whereas a direct debit can be reversed within 6 weeks, I recently found out that such protection is not offered when paying by PIN. (more…)