Manila - 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?

Yes. Yes. Yes. - Mar 2023

Yes, and they tend to work on the apps as well, but from time to time particular apps would have issues with my U.S. credit card. I would withdraw money from the embassy ATM rather than use machines outside, but didn’t have issues the few times I did withdraw from outside. - Mar 2023

On base, sure. Plenty of ATMs, but not every restaurant will let you use your card. Otherwise, not really - cash is king in the Philippines (outside of wealthy areas). Many small stores and restaurants won't even have change for 10$. - May 2022

Widely accepted yes, safer in the large stores. ATMS are common and there are local options to transfer money that are cashless. - Apr 2021

Yes. With ATMs, use basic common sense. Use the ones in banks guarded by a security guard, or the ones in the embassy. I have also used the ones in malls without a problem. But there are problems with theft, just be smart and you won't have a problem. They even accept American Express widely here, which you will find in very few places. - Oct 2020

IN Manila, yes you can safely use cards at restaurants and large grocery chains. ATMs that are guarded are also pretty safe IMO. - Feb 2020

It is really much easier to use cash here. Credit cards are accepted for most things though it takes longer to process international credit cards. ATMs are common and at most banks. I have not had a problem with it. - May 2018

Credit cards are usually fine at large hotels, restaurants and high-end shopping malls, particularly in the larger expat neighborhoods. ATMs at the high-end malls and large bank branches are also generally safe. Once you get outside Manila and the major beach-resort areas, however, the Philippines is a cash economy. - Feb 2017

Credit cards are accepted throughout Manila. In principle they are also accepted in most hotels outside Manila but our experience was that the card readers often did not work. We'd recommend you always have large cash reserves while traveling. - Jul 2016

Cash economy. Internet is down a lot so credit card machines don't work. I try to only take money out at the embassy or nice neighborhoods at well known banks. I have had my credit card info stolen once since being here, but I noticed immediately so it wasn't an issue. - Jan 2016

Credit card and ATM frauds are a problem. Upscale locales do accept cards, but their machines are often down, even at large hotels. In general, it's a cash-based economy. - Jan 2016

One ATM stole my credit card; just sucked it in and never gave it back to me. And somewhere my credit card was copied and then "used" elsewhere by someone else. So cash is the way to go. Of course, all the malls, restaurants, and shops usually take cards, but taxis do not, and often (outside of Manila) only cash is accepted. - Jan 2016

Works great here for most purchases. - Sep 2015

They can be used here almost anywhere, except in the cheaper local cash economy (markets, street vendors etc.) - Aug 2015

It's easy. - Aug 2015

Easy. - Sep 2014

I use my ATM card every week with no issues - Jan 2014

No issue, but easier to pay cash to get the tax discount. - Dec 2013

Generally fine, though I did have a couple minor incidents that my bank quickly reversed. - Nov 2013

We use cash only, we pay for everything in pesos but I know lots of people who use credit cards without problems. For us, cash is easier and helps us keep tabs on our spending. - Aug 2013

They are everywhere and I had no trouble using them. - Apr 2013

The embassy has an ATM, and we use credit cards most of the time. - Feb 2013

Credit cards are fine for vacation, but if you are living here it gets expensive to use them with the extra fees that are sometimes tacked on and the exchange rate loss. We primarily use cash. - Sep 2012

They are safe, but use them with caution about your surroundings, as robberies at some local malls have been on the rise. - May 2012

They can be used everywhere, except at times at other provinces. In Manila, there are no issues. - Mar 2012

Don't. Pay cash. LOTS of problems with credit fraud. - Jan 2012

Credit Cards are widely accepted throughout Manila and major cities though sometimes compromised. Likewise ATMs are found throughout the city. Check your statements thoroughly to identify additional or incorrect charges. If you go outside of Manila or any other large city, you should bring enough cash. Most resorts charge a 3% usage fee if they accept the card. - Jul 2011

Regularly used & accepted. ATMs are everywhere. - May 2011

We use them frequently and haven't had a problem. - May 2011

ATMs can be risky. This is a cash-based society. It is advised to use the ATM at the U.S. Embassy, but you can also feel comfortable at reputable international banks like HSBC or Citi. - Feb 2010

Try to avoid if you can. Although I get my money either out of Embassy bank by writing a check or on the outside at a trusted ATM like one in front of a bank or the one on the ISM school campus. Can also open up a local bank account. - Jan 2010

I haven't personally had any trouble using my credit card, although I try to use cash for most of my small purchases and eating out at restaurants. - Jul 2009

Be smart. Only go to reputable banks and stores. - Apr 2009

Use them with caution. Major establishments are generally safe for credit card users; small shops might not take them and/or the risk for fraud is greater. ATM machines are everywhere, but it's safer to use one that is guarded or inside a bank. - Jun 2008


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