Bogota - 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?

Credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are common but should only be used in safe/secure areas (such as inside a bank branch) in daytime for security reasons. - Aug 2023

Credit cards are safe to use. Never let a person walk away with your card. Almost every shop or restaurant has portable credit card machines that they will bring to you for transactions. - Feb 2021

ATMs are hit or miss for foreign cards. Many charge obnoxiously large transaction fees and use unfavorable exchange rates. - Jul 2020

Many ATMs, just watch the environment for those who wish to separate you and your money. US credit cards are not always accepted, but they are in many places. - Feb 2020

Credit cards are widely accepted and safe to use locally; most places will bring the card reader to your table in restaurants. ATMs are common and safe, although you have to be careful about where you use them to avoid being robbed. I have heard of a few problems with credit cards, usually after using a credit card in a taxi. International credit cards are not always accepted online, so things like buying movie tickets or show tickets online can be difficult. - Nov 2018

Credit cards are widely accepted, but some doctors offices require cash. Check before you go. ATMs in malls and grocery stores are safe. Note that if you have SDFCU, they charge you 1% every time you take out cash, and many of the local banks will charge you around US $4-$5. I've learned which banks don't charge me that fee, so that I'm just paying the SDFCU 1%.

USAA will refund the bank fees, so use them if you can. Also, many banks have a limit of COP $300k to $400K per transaction. You can pull out cash a bunch of times, but you don't want to do that, if you're paying a fee. Also, when asked if you want to make a charge in Pesos or Dollars, always choose Pesos, as many local banks hit you with a 3.5% fee when you charge in dollars. There is a bank at the embassy, and it's easy and convenient to cash checks there, but I generally get a little bit of a better rate from ATMs, even after my 1% fee from SDFCU. - Sep 2018

Yes, yes, and yes. - Aug 2018

Credit cards are safe and widely accepted. Use the machine that they bring to your table at a restaurant. ATMs are common, but skimming and personal security are concerns. - May 2018

I use my credit card everywhere I go. They bring the swiper to the table, if they don't, then don't give them your card. - Apr 2016

Restaurants and supermarkets almost always accept credit cards. Most basic services, like dry cleaning and haircuts do not, and this can be frustrating - Aug 2015

Credit cards are used rarely and many have large fees if you use them. This is a cash based society but there is a bank at the embassy. - Aug 2014

Credit cards are widely accepted. There are ATMs througout the city. There is some fraud. - Jun 2014

ATM machines are available all over, but they charge high fees. Credit cards are swiped at your table on portable machines - so the card never goes out of your site. We have never had a problem. Use a Capitol One card - they don't charge you a conversion fee (many others do and they can be high). - May 2013

ATMs are everywhere and I have had no problems. All Colombian credit card terminals are equipped with chip and PIN technology which reduces chances of fraud. - Oct 2012

We use our credit card frequently and have had one issue early on with cloning. We also use our ATM card but only in one of two ATM machines in the city. There are certainly issues with using either of these, but we've been very lucky. - Jul 2012

Credit cards are routinely cloned. Stick to using cash whenever possible. - Apr 2012

In the upscale northern part of Bogota, it's pretty common to use credit cards and ATMs--although some people do get their pin numbers copied and used illegally on occasion. - Dec 2011

They are easy to use. Some folks have had trouble, so be cautious. But they are the easiest way to pay for things. - Jul 2011

It is very expensive use an ATM here. The best option is using checks and cash them at the embassy. - Nov 2010

I have not had any troubles with my credit cards here. Remember to never turn them over to the person, usually they bring the machine to you so that you can watch them. - Sep 2010

Just like USA. However, because of fraud, VISA stopped doing Colombian transactions for a time. I had to get my card reactivated. - Aug 2010

Dips get tax back if they use credit cards (you can also ask for a stamp, but that's a hassle). Haven't had any problems using normal common sense about where to use the credit card. ATMs are safe in grocery stores and malls, but they charge a $3-$5 fee for withdrawals. - Aug 2010

We have found that our ATM card only works in a few select machines around the city. Our card does not work at the US Embassy. It is often easier to use a credit card than paying cash. If you pay cash and want your tax back, you have to fight to get a special stamp placed on your receipt, and many places won't give this stamp. If you pay with a credit card you don't need this special stamp, and the process is much simpler. - Aug 2010

They charge you about 5 USD every time you take money, and in some of them you can take only 250 USD. It is better to cash checks at the embassy. - Jun 2010

Careful - lots of identity theft. It happened to me. Do NOT let the waiter or store clerk take your card from you to process. Restaurants have machines that they carry to your table. - Jan 2010

I've used both, with no problems. It is best to use ATMS in grocery stores or enclosed booths. - Sep 2009

Use the ATMs at the Embassy or, if you must, in trusted locations out in town. Crime is rampant. Careful when handing over your credit card at stores and elsewhere, card cloning is not uncommon. It's best to use one card and regularly check your activity online to monitor for fraud. - Dec 2008

Lots of scams, but we have our own place to get the money. But you can use credit cards in the stores. - Nov 2008

Definitely can be used, but just be careful. - Nov 2008

Most of us write checks to the Embassy or take money out at the U.S. Embassy ATM. . .if we absolutely must take out money, we do it at one of the malls. - May 2008

ATM's are readily available. I don't recommend using them at night. Most people prefer to use the ones at the Embassy. Credit Cards should only be used at reputable locations. - Apr 2008


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