The main difference I see I guess is the attitude of the people here about credit cards. Not everyone has one. Well, when I was in the USA, I didn't have a credit card either, but my debit card that was issued to me by my bank functioned like a credit card. It had the requisite 16-digit number, and a security number at the back, so I was able to use it like a credit card. With that, I made Internet purchases and so forth, and life was good.
Here, I am getting used to a different system. My bank issued me a EC card (electronic cash card), which is a debit card. I can use that to get money from ATMs. However, it doesn't have a credit card functionality. It has the Maestro symbol, so I can pretty much use it on any ATM with a Maestro symbol, and it also has a PIN number, so I can get money out of it, but I cannot use it to make Internet purchases. I cannot use it to renew my Linguistic Society of America membership, for example. Which sort of sucks.
I explored my options, and it seems that my bank offers a pre-paid "credit card" service, for 30 EUR a year. I then get a "credit-card" or rather, a card with credit card features, like the 16 digit number, and I need to load it with money first, before using it. Now I am still deliberating whether the 30 EUR per year charge is worth it, or whether I can survive without having one. In the case of the latter, I just have to ask someone who has a credit card to pay for my LSA membership and I'll reimburse them with cash or something.
The thing is, Germany seems to be a bank transfer society. Everyone knows their bank account number (Girokontonummer) and bank code (Bankleitzahl). I pay my rent by bank transfer, I pay my Internet with bank transfer, I pay my electricity bill with bank transfer. And if you need to book flights, if it is done through a German/EU company, either in case the airline is based in the EU, or the travel agency is based in the EU, then you can pay with a bank transfer. It's a rather different system that I am still getting used to.
I remember when I was in Denmark. That was a different society as well. It seems that the Danes hated cash so much, they pay everything with cards. Here in Germany, it seems that people hate credit cards, they prefer to pay things with cash or bank transfers. In fact, most food establishments (coffee shops, for example) prefer cash, and when it comes to purchases done online, usually the bank transfer option is cheaper by a few euros than the credit card option.
So we'll see. It seems that I only need the "credit card" when I have purchases that are not based in the EU. And so far, those are few and far between. I'll think about whether my bank's fake credit card option is worth it or not.