There are a surprisingly big difference between countries when it comes to how you should pay for stuff. Some countries prefer cash while others only accept credit cards, so what’s the preferred payment methods in Norway?
Most payments in Norway is done by a debit or credit card, and this is the standard payment method used for basically all stores and shops. Visa and Mastercard are your best options when it comes to the card type. All stores are also required by law to accept cash, so you can always choose to pay in cash, but this is very uncommon for Norwegian people.
This also means that pretty much any place that sells anything has excellent options for paying with credit cards or debit cards. Grocery stores, stores that sell clothing, pet shops, supermarkets and any other store will accept debit and credit cards.
It is common for Norwegians to use contactless payment or the microchip to pay, and magnetic strips are very rarely used.
Most places accept VISA and MasterCard, and some even accept American Express. VISA is the most accepted type of bank card in Norway, so this is the one you will want to choose if you have the option to choose between bringing a card with VISA, MasterCard or American Express.
Stay away from Discovery card as this is very rare in Norway, and most places to not accept it.
If you want a card that is guaranteed to work, choose a Visa card with a chip (RFID chip) and a 4 digit PIN code. You will often run into issues when trying to pay with credit cards that do not have a PIN code.
Norwegian bank cards use a system called BankAxept, but this is usually not available to tourists, so you won’t have to worry too much about this when you visit as a tourist.
Should you withdraw cash when you visit Norway?
I would advise you to withdraw at least some money when you visit Norway, and use these as a backup in case you have problems getting your card to work. Some remote places might not accept the card you use, so having some cash ready can help you out of a pickle.
Norwegian bank cards are very reliable, so most Norwegians don’t bring cash with them, but foreign credit and debit cards tend to have a higher chance of not working properly when you are paying, so why not have some cash ready?
Cash can also be pretty useful if you need to pay for parking (and don’t want to bother with downloading the app), or just want to buy something quickly.
Using ATMs to withdraw cash in Norway
ATMs are pretty common in Norway, and will be found all over in bigger cities. Smaller towns and villages will also usually have at least one ATM that allows you to withdraw cash. There will also be ATMs waiting for you when you arrive at the airport.
If you have trouble finding ATMs, look for banking buildings. These will all have ATMs that you can use to withdraw cash.
All ATMs in Norway have the option to change the language to English when you are withdrawing money, so you should not have any difficulties with using them. There are usually also a few other languages available to choose from if English is not your native language.
Paying with mobile payments
Mobile payments are getting more and more popular in Norway, and the market leader is called Vipps. This is a mobile app that Norwegians use to pay in certain stores, but also when paying and selling things with other people.
More and more stores are gradually beginning to accept Vipps as a payment method, so you will see a lot of “We accept Vipps”-stickers around the payment area these days. It is a very easy payment method that uses your existing bank account to pay with, so it’s almost like a digital bank card.
You can’t really use Vipps without a Norwegian bank account, so this mobile payment method is not really useful for tourists.
Norwegian debit and credit cards use BankAxept
BankAxept is a Norwegian banking system that allows any credit or debit card to pay at any place in Norway, independently of whether it uses VISA or MasterCard. This is kind of a system that allows different banks and banking systems to communicate, so it will allow you to withdraw cash from any ATM independently of which bank you use, or pay with it from any payment terminal.
As mentioned earlier, only Norwegian banks issue cards with BankAxept, so these are also not really that useful for tourists.
Most people use debit cards in Norway
Many countries use credit cards as a standard method of payment, but debit cards are far more common in Norway, and most Norwegians use debit cards when they pay for stuff. This charges the money directly from your bank account instead of giving you a bill at the end of the month, which is very useful when you don’t want to spend more money than you got.
Both options (debit and credit cards) are equally fine, but for Norwegians the debit cards tend to be the standard option.
Can you pay with euro or USD in Norway?
Some tourists are under the impression that you can pay with euro while in Norway, but that is not the case. The only accepted currency in Norway is the Norwegian krone (NOK), and only that. You will not be able to pay with euros anywhere in Norway.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.