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Cape Town

Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are fairly widely accepted -- most restaurants and stores take them. Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted; many places explicitly will not accept AmEx. In stores and restaurants, you put your card into a card reader and enter a PIN -- it doesn't leave your sight. In fact, South Africans are weirded out by US credit cards that don't require a PIN to use, as they see them as unsafe.

ATMs -- generally okay to use if inside a store or bank, but recommend against using outdoor ATMs -- credit card skimmers are occasionally used here, and some gangs in the past have actually blown up outdoor ATMs with explosives. When using any ATM, be aware of your surroundings. - Oct 1, 2017

You can use both. Chances are you'll have your credit card number stolen while you are here at least once but restaurants are adapting by bringing the card machine to the table and swiping the card in front of you. - May 13, 2014
ATMs (and the scams that accompany them) are common here and I avoid using them, unless I am at the mall or other well-trafficked public area. When I have run out of cash, I have had no issues with ATMs in this situation. I normally use credit or debit cards only at the major retailers. Like other types of crimes, use common sense--don't go to a dark ATM in a low-trafficked area late at night. - Aug 26, 2013
Local banks can be tedious and inefficient, but safe to use. ATMS are everywhere, credit cards accepted in all large venues. - Oct 28, 2007