Kampala - 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 at most places, but local markets and delivery is cash or mobile money app. There's an ATM and cashier at the embassy. Only certain ATMs can be trusted, the fees are exorbitant. - Jan 2024

We use our card at some restaurants we frequent regularly as well as at the grocery stores. We cash checks at the embassy as the ATM fees are really high, but the ABSA banks seem safe to use. - Jun 2022

Credit cards can be used but please make your own decision to see when and where you are going to use them. In some places, the wrong amount is charged by mistake or intentionally and tiny numbers on your receipt is hard to read. I did not use the ATM since I had a complicated situation when a machine ate my card in another African post. - Dec 2021

I would not say widely accepted and safe. However, many places now offer this service. We typically use our cards at chain places and nicer restaurants. ATMs at bank branches tend to be safe to use and there is an ATM at the embassy that charges ridiculous withdrawal fees. - Aug 2020

They are widely accepted but we are discerning in their use. We use cash mostly. - Nov 2019

I used them at some grocery stores and restaurants. I even used a Barclays ATM card (I had a local bank account for petty cash needs) at gas stations. There were guards at the reputable ATMs (and they could give you a heads up if the machines ran out of money). I still used cash a fair bit, but wasn't completely reliant on it either. - Oct 2019

Yes, especially in larger grocery stores. ATMs are available but we typically recommend using the one at the embassy or in larger hotels. - Mar 2019

Credit cards are accepted, but not widely. Most places will charge you an additional three to five percent if you attempt to use them. There is an ATM at the Embassy, and there are safe ATMs available in other secure locations. Credit cards are still safer than cash if you can use them, because you can always dispute a charge. You can't get back lost cash. - Feb 2019

This is really a cash-based place. Lots of stores and restaurants do accept credit cards, and there are lots of ATMs, and they are mostly safe to use. So I haven't really had a problem, but it's way easier and better here to just get and carry cash. - Jan 2019

Cash is the primary form of payment. The main supermarkets (Shoprite and Game) take credit cards. Hotels take credit cards, but many assess a surcharge for their use. Gas stations, taxis (including Uber) are on a cash basis. It is best to pay with cash. - Dec 2018

I mostly stick to cash here. - Dec 2018

Credit cards or local ATMS are not safe to use. RSO discourages the use of credit cards and ATMs. We pay cash for everything with the exception of our interest service, which we can pay online with Paypal. - Oct 2018

We use cash for everything and only use certain ATMs. The ATM fees are close to US$8 and our embassy recently changed their check cashing so getting cash has become more expensive. - Sep 2018

You need cash for most things. I have not used my card anywhere and I wouldn’t trust it. ATMs are available, but not all are trustworthy. We only use Barclays and always check to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. Most ATMS have armed guards nearby for safety. - Sep 2018

Credit cards can be used in western restaurants and at most tourist resorts, as well as the larger department and grocery stores. The Embassy has a safe ATM inside, and one can cash personal checks. - Aug 2018

Some stores, restaurants and hotels offer reliable credit card services and I generally feel it's OK, but won't use it everywhere. Same goes for ATMs, there are available in many places, but you have to be selective in where/which ones to use. - Jun 2018

Credit card use is not recommended, but I do use them at the big shops or grocery stores. I only use the ATM at the embassy. Petty crime is an issue and it is wise to guard against theft any way you can. - Jun 2018

We do everything in cash, which we get from cashing checks at the embassy. No credit cards, though you can use them at some of the larger grocery stores. - Aug 2015

It's generally advisable to use cash though we've used our credit card at the grocery store with no problems. - Jun 2014

Stanbick ATMs are the only recommended ones. Barclays does have a machine inside the Embassy. It's recommended to carry cash. - Oct 2013

We have only used our credit cards occasionally at the larger chains or hotels. Generally speaking this is a cash economy, most places will just get confused if you try to use a credit card, and it will take you forever to get out of there. - Mar 2013

There are lots of ATMs and bank choices. Identity theft is a problem, so I usually cashed checks at the embassy, or used a bank-located ATM, and only paid cash for things - never a credit card. - Sep 2009

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