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

I've never had trouble with the ATMs. The big supermarkets and some restaurants accept credit cards but there are still a lot of places that take cash only. Any of the safari lodges will take a credit card. - Feb 2018

Credit cards are safe to use. There are ATM's, and they work most of the time. We usually cash checks at the embassy cashier as it is easiest. - Nov 2017

Increasingly so. Some credits American cards, however, only work on certain bank machines (Barclays and StandChart, not Zanaco). Many restaurants and stores have card readers, but power outages can knock out the network frequently, so having cash is never a bad idea. ATMs are accessible, but often run out of money. They can also charge large fees, especially when coupled with your own bank's FTFs. Avoid using ATMs at night, as petty criminals can stake them out. The Embassy has a CitiBank cashier, at which official Americans may withdraw kwacha or dollars. - Jan 2017

I use my credit cards at the supermarket and at restaurants without any trouble. There are quite a few ATMs around town, too, but I don't use them. I withdraw money at the Embassy. - Jun 2016

ATMs often run out of money but are typically safe to use. Some of the larger grocery stores and restaurants accept credit cards, but Lusaka is a mostly cash-based economy. - May 2016

I can't say, I haven't used them. I have heard (and seen) that the ATMs can misbehave by not giving you either your card back or money. - Mar 2015

I have not had an issue using my credit card in the grocery store or restaurants although I prefer to use cash. MasterCard is not easy to use in ATMs - Aug 2014

I've never had any problems but I keep my hand blocking when typing in my pin. - Jan 2014

We haven't used credit cards outside of accomodations, which has been fine, but the use of ATMs seems perfectly safe. Most people do use the ATMs. - Apr 2013

ATM's are sprouting up all over the country to the point where even small towns might have one. REASONABLY safe compared to South Africa - especially during the day. We rarely use credit cards - not accepted outside the grocery and major hotels - but lots of people use them for the weekly shopping. - Jul 2010

It seems ok, but several times the receipt has indicated money came out and it didn't; our bank was able to resolve it, but you need to stay on top of it - Mar 2009

There are ATMs around and generally seem safe to use. - Mar 2009

In Lusaka it is possible. Mastercard is only accepted at Stanbic. - Oct 2008

Do-able. Our cards only work in one or two different machines, but they do work. Check your reciept and the amount before you leave. You wouldn't use them at too many places, but you can use them at the high end safaris and to buy airline travel at Voyagers. It's a pain in the butt to open a local account (requires an application and letter from employer) but it does make life easier to have a local account, so that you can have a local ATM card, which is accepted at all the major grocery stores. - Aug 2008

We've had difficulty getting our US ATM cards to work in most of the ATM machines here. We generally don't use our credit cards (even with tourism operators) because the possibility of credit card theft is very real. - May 2008

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