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

Yes, credit cards are widely accepted but in many cases international cards cannot be used to pay for trips, beach houses, grocery delivery (even from Woolworth's), etc. Many people have local accounts and EFT money to vendors. ATMs can be dangerous: lots of dudes lurking around, and I've heard that many people have been robbed either violently or by sleight of hand. - Jan 2020

Cards are more common and secure than cash. A local bank account is necessary. Many payments (phone, etolls, school activity fees, etc) are only practically done through EFT through a local bank. Many online local merchants only accept a local card. ATMs are common, scams are robberies are common enough to be wary when using. - Dec 2019

I use them all the time and have never had a problem. Some people have been scammed / held up at ATMs. The South African banking system is in many ways much more advanced than the US’s — for instance, it’s very common to send person-to-person instant payments electronically through your cell phone, and they have done this much longer than Venmo or PayPal. - Mar 2019

They are, but not for anything online in South Africa. You need a local bank account which you can only open with a letter of residence and two hours at the bank. - Jun 2018

Credit cards are widely accepted and this is safe, although your U.S. bank will continue to block transactions for several months, as SA is on an international watch list for transaction fraud. (Most Foreign Service people are familiar with this irritation.) ATMs are everywhere, though I use the one inside the embassy as it is safer. There is a great deal of ATM crime that I am mindful of every day. - Jan 2018

Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees and use it everywhere. I do not use ATM's since we get all cash from the Embassy - it's safer. - Oct 2014

ATM machines are everywhere. If they are in malls or in lighted areas they are safe. Be careful about using them at night in dark areas. Credit cards are accepted everywhere and I use a card for all purchases here. - Jun 2012

Available throughout, security is always a concern. - Dec 2009

I've never had a problem with fraud when using a credit card or an ATM, however, there are loads of ATM scams so use the one at the Embassy or inside a bank. - Feb 2009

Everyone uses credit cards and ATMs constantly. - Oct 2008

I use credit cards frequently and never have had a problem. However, cc scams are common. I rarely use ATMs. Again, scams are common. - Sep 2008

They are both commonly used here but credit card and ATM scams are on the increase. - Jun 2008

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