London - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Many places do not take cash. London is a cashless city. I have been here a year and a half and have yet to touch their currency. - Jan 2024

Yes, very safe. Almost everything in London (and most of the UK) is contactless payment now. We used Apple Pay most places we went (groceries, restaurants, etc.). There are lots of ATMs around, but we almost never needed cash. - Nov 2022

Yes - Aug 2022

Yes, I only get cash when we need to pay our baby-sitter otherwise it's frequently card only. - May 2022

Yes, and yes. Contactless debit cards are also popular, and make bus/tube travel especially easy in London. - Jun 2017

Every place takes cards, though AMEX acceptance can be spotty. It pays to have a credit card with contactless payment or a chip and pin. Cashiers are very confused by having to sign a credit card receipt, which is considered an outdated practice. Getting a UK credit card was one of the best decisions we made as it saved us on currency conversion fees, and time with the chip/pin option. - Feb 2017

Safe. - Feb 2016

I use my US bank account/card (HSBC) here and haven't had any trouble. I only use HSBC ATMs attached to HSBC banks just to be on the safe side, though. - Nov 2015

If you give a vendor a card without chip-and-pin, they'll look at you like you're trying to pay with a check. ATMs all read my card, but paying vendors at, say bars or grocery stores, could be a bit of a pain. - Aug 2015

Generally safe. As recommended by RSO, we would use the ATM in the Embassy as much as possible, but we had no issues with ATMs attached to banks outside of the Embassy. - Jun 2015

Safe but practice common sense. - Jun 2015

Get a card with a chip. Be careful about the ATMs you use. We only use the ATM inside the Embassy or inside a bank. - May 2015

They are everywhere. I suggest using the ATM inside banks as my debit card number was stolen a few days before Christmas. - Aug 2014

They are everywhere and generally the ATMs don't charge any transaction fees. - Sep 2012

They prefer that you use ATMs that are located inside a bank because of possible fraud. Using a credit card is easy here. - Jan 2012

No problem, taking the usual care. - Aug 2011

They are everywhere, and are perfectly safe. The major banks in the UK have a cooperative agreement, so you can use your card in most any ATM without any fees. Credit cards will be accepted most places, but the country has mostly switched to a chip-and-pin card system, so your American swipe-and-sign card may not be accepted sometimes, and it will definitely cause you glares for the delays you create using it. - Nov 2009

I've had my credit cards frauded 3 times since arriving in London. Just be careful. - Mar 2009

Widely available, just check with your bank about charges for using a foreign bank. - Sep 2008

You can use them the same way you would in the USA. Use the same precautions that you would in any big city. - Feb 2008

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