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

ATMs are common, and we use them. Others don't and get their cash from the embassy. We haven't had an issue here. - Aug 2019

I didn't use my credit card much, but most hotels take them, and a number of expat-oriented restaurants and grocery stores accept them. ATMs are all over the place, and are generally safe. Some don't work well with foreign cards, but you'll find ones convenient to you that work with your debit card. I never had an issue with skimming or fraud. - Apr 2019

No credit cards. Cash only. No ATMs except for one on the US embassy compound. - Dec 2017

No. - Dec 2017

Some expats I know use credit cards locally but I haven't ever tried. I use the ATMs at the USG compounds only. I only use cash (USD or CF) for all purchases city wide. USD will result in CF change and generally you lose money on the exchange rate. I get smaller bills from the cashier for getting close to the total price for my purchases but NEVER 1's, as these are not accepted anywhere. - Mar 2017

Credit cards are not a viable option. Certain ATMs (e.g. one at a grocery store near the US Embassy) are guarded and safe to use. - Jan 2017

Not officially advised, but we used them throughout our four years and never had a problem. - Sep 2016

No credit card use - this is a strictly cash society. It is dollarized, so you can use US dollars everywhere (except literally a dollar bill, which they do not accept) or Congolese Francs (CF). A couple of the large international stores (Shoprite - a South African grocery chain; Ocra - a US owned "Target" type store) technically take credit cards, but no one uses them. USG employees can cash checks at the embassy, and there is an ATM inside embassy grounds. I've never used any other ATM's but other people do regularly use them without a problem - just don't do it alone or at night. - Apr 2016

I wouldn't recommend using credit cards anywhere other than the major hotels. There are 2 or 3 ATMs that can be used at large hotels or larger department stores. - Jan 2014

I have never done it, but I know if can be done. - Nov 2012

We used ours regularly over two years and never once had a problem with fraud. - May 2012

There are ATMs but I have heard they are not always secure. We always got our cash/money from the cashier at the embassy. - Feb 2012

Don't. - Nov 2011

Getting increasingly in use here. When we arrived, there were only a couple of ATMs, now they are on every street corner (in Gombe, the district where Embassies and government is based) - Aug 2011

Don't use them outside the embassy or businesses with proven track records. This is a cash society. You can use the Congo franc or American dollars. - Jan 2011

i've never used any of these here. Why risk it? - Oct 2010

Don't. - Jan 2009

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