Kigali - 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?

It is possible to go around in Kigali without any cash, just credit card or best mobile money. If you have mobile money you can use it everywhere including local street vendors. Government is trying to discourage use of cash so mobile money is everywhere and you can use cards safely in almost anyplace expats go. - Oct 2023

At stores and most restaurants, yes, but at the local markets cash or mobile money (Momo) is most widely accepted. - Aug 2023

Credit cards are accepted at most big places. Be prepared to use cash at smaller establishments. I could always find an ATM (local mall and the embassy have one). - Jan 2022

Credit cards are widely accepted in Kigali and safe to use, but you'll need cash for activities outside the city. ATMs are common but not always working, so it's best to just write checks at the cashier at the embassy and get Rwandan francs that way. - Jul 2020

Credit cards are only accepted at high end tourism locations like hotels and restaurants in Kigali, and even fewer in the rest of the country. ATMs are more likely to be safe here than other African countries, but still think carefully about which ones you use as you will be walking away with a stack of money so big it doesn't fit in your wallet, as the largest bill is $5-$6 depending on exchange rate. - Sep 2019

Credit cards are widely accepted in Kigali, and are generally safe to use. I have used them a few times, but often use accommodation exchange and pay in cash. - Jun 2018

We never use them - people have issues with being double charged. Only expat friendly places have card readers. - Dec 2017

Although some places do take credit cards, and there isn't a large amount of fraud, I prefer to use cash. I get it from the Embassy or from the ATM on the embassy compound. I think others do use the ATMs locally, but I choose not to. - Jan 2017

We only use them at larger hotels when traveling around the country but never in Kigali. Others do without an issue from what I've seen but we choose not to. - Apr 2016

ATMS only take Visa cards. Visa is the only card you'll be able to use in country. And it's unreliable and not the most secure. Bring your check book and use local cash. - Oct 2014

Visa can be used at most restaurants and grocery stores. - Jul 2014

We use ours at the largest chain grocery store in the region, but that is it. - Sep 2013

If you have a Visa bank card (sorry, no MasterCard), then you can use the ATMs that cropped up this year. Credit cards can only be used at major hotels. Rwanda is a cash-based country. - May 2012

Use credit cards only at the major hotels, and even then, I would still use cash. ATMs are available only if you have an account with a local bank. - Apr 2012

There is an ATM machine at the airport and one at the Nakumatt center. However, both do not take all cards. Don't bother bringing in traveler's checks. No one takes these, not even the banks. - Jul 2011

No ATMs in country. Don't do it. Use the embassy cashier. - Oct 2010

There aren't any, unless you use a Rwandan bank. - Jan 2010

No ATMs, though it looks like it, they are actually prepaid card for access to money. I think they are working on it though. I used my credit card for cash advances though the exchange was poor. Better to bring 2003 and newer US$100 bills for exchange. - Sep 2008

I would not recommend the use of Credit Cards regardless of hotel and/or restaurant. ATM machines are sparse. If you are utilizing US$ make sure the date is over 2003, and/or is free of imperfections. - Aug 2008

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