Subscribe to SmallPlanet

We Need Your Help

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report


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

It is a plastic economy owing to the shortage of currency in the local economy. Bring a card that does not incur foreign transaction fees. - Sep 30, 2017
At the moment plastic is the only option. Almost no cash left in the country. ATMs are still guarded but no cash available. - Jul 6, 2017
The economy is largely plastic with actual cash in short supply.You can use your credit card, no problem. Don't however, expect to use an ATM without standing in a three hour line and getting only $20 when you get your turn.If you need cash, bring it with you or set up a way to access it ahead of time. - Jul 5, 2017
ATMs work fine, cards increasingly accepted. - Apr 16, 2016
I use my U.S. Visa cards in ATMs here on occasion. Barclays, CBZ, and Stanbic take them. However, the machines are old, and sometimes eat the cards I've been told, although it's never happened to me. I also have a local Barclays Bank account and use a debit card from them. US$5 a month fee if you set it up through the U.S. embassy FMO. Quite first world: you get a courtesy text message on your cell phone within a few minutes of using it. Most restaurants and stores take such cards. - Dec 8, 2013
Some shops take credit cards, but for the most part this is a cash economy. ATM cards work in some banks, depending if your card is a VISA or MasterCard. A distinct lack of change makes for a lighter wallet. Vendors will sometimes give change in SA Rand, and most of the time will print you a credit note or ask if you want your change in sweets. - Jul 29, 2013
Forget about it. No ATMs or credit cards. - Jun 21, 2009
Wouldn't try to use them. The exchange rate is fixed by the government so a pizza would cost you hundreds of U.S. dollars if you tried to get funds from an ATM. - Dec 5, 2008
YOU CAN'T USE THEM AT ALL. - Sep 26, 2008