Sao Paulo - 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?

We have used our US credit card at MOST places while in SP. We did open a "Rendimento" account with a local bank that is coordinated with the consulate so that we would be able to more easily pay school bills and local cell/inet bills. - May 2021

You can buy everything with a credit card, even popcorn from a street vendor. ATMs common and safe to use. You should, of course, be careful because card cloning can be common but it has not happened to me in two years of frequent card usage. - Apr 2021

My dermatologist and dentist don't accept credit cards, but the people selling cheap beer from coolers on the street do. All stores take cards. ATMs are mostly fine tho some people have had cards skimmed. - Aug 2019

Credit card skimming and fraud are a major problem in Sao Paulo. We opened one card for specific use there and kept the others locked away. We were hit 3 times in 2 years. When dining out insist that a credit card machine is brought to the table where you can witness the transaction. DO NOT use ATMs in public. Go inside your work location if one is provided or physically go inside a bank. - Nov 2017

A lot of people get their cards cloned here but it's kind of a fact of life. People use their cards for everything, even for small purchases. Literally the rag man on my route to work has a credit card machine (could this be why there is so much cloning?). ATMs are plentiful. - Apr 2017

People generally don't use cash in Sao Paulo and most businesses give you a hard time if you try to pay in cash and need change back. Businesses will run the credit card in front of you to prove they're not scamming you (restaurants will bring the credit card machine to your table). That said, I've had my card cloned three times since I've been here. You just have to use good judgment where you use it. For example, gas stations are usually a bad bet. - Apr 2017

Lots of places take credit cards but I wouldn't use them in the street. Consulate has ATMs but I always just cash a check to get money at the Citibank at the Consulate. Safer than the ATMs. I would never use an ATM on the street. Very dangerous. - Jan 2017

International debit and credit cards are widely accepted. However you must be watchful for electronic schemes - check your bank statements regularly... Also ensure that you bank has some type of return policy for fraudulent charges. - Jan 2017

Nearly everywhere accepts credit cards. There is some problem with ATM cloning in Brazil, so we are advised to use the ATM in the consulate. - Aug 2015

Credit cards, absolutely. Debit cards - not so much. ATMs are fine, better during the day. The best bet is use the one at the consulate - Aug 2013

I have used my debit card to take money out of Bradesco and Citi Bank ATMs. It varies for others. I have had no problem using my credit card at any place that accepts cards. - Dec 2012

Credit and debit cards are generally accepted everywhere. Use the ATM at the consulate bank to withdraw money for safety reasons and to avoid having your card cloned. - Jan 2012

Most use ATM card everywhere, or cash, or credit-- - Jan 2012

Use the banks and be wary of your surroundings. Availability is good, but more limited than in the US, particularly in the interior. But virtually every place takes a debit card, but don't let it leave your sight. - Jan 2012

ATMs are widely available and most places accept credit cards. Check with clubs before you go, because some places (like Pacha) only take Visa for some unfathomable reason. So your Amex or MC will be useless there and there is not ATM on premises in some of these picky spots. However overall you will have no problem. I prefer to use cash but there"s no reason you can"t eat out every night with just a credit card. The Banco 24horas is what you probably will need with your particular ATM card, since many banks here only have machines tied to their particular customers. - Oct 2008

US$5 fee to take money out. - Aug 2008

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