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  • herbie__53
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:08 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:08 AM
    When I was in Japan last year, only the ATM's in 7-Eleven's or the Post Office (tricky to find) took UK cards. All others (in malls etc) wouldn't take them. Visa, Mastercard, nothing. You had to go to one of these two places.
  • middlesexhotel
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:09 AM
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:09 AM
    Just to let you know Djibouti does not accept MasteCard for payment. (not a popular tourist destination I admit but it caught me out)

    Whilst not a country - you can only buy Olympic Tickets using your Visa card (amex and MasterCard not accepted)
  • BubbleFrogette
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:33 AM
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:33 AM
    HSBC in Manila was the only place I could use my card successfully in an ATM when I lived out there. Most other towns only have PNB (Philippine National bank) ATMs which don't seem to work with UK or French (my OH is French) -issued cards. Be prepared for this if you head out of the capital.
    The best way to forget all your troubles is to wear tight shoes.
  • debsinbrighton
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:54 AM
    Burma / Myanmar
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 11, 10:54 AM
    Nor sure if many people will be heading there, but the only country I have been to where you cannot use any foreign bank cards anywhere in the country is Burma.

    You must take US Dollars cash and exchange them for the local currency when you get there.
  • mvk0016
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:10 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:10 AM
    In Mexico (November 2010) there is a conflict with Chip & PIN machine readers and UK cards. Since Mexico uses a different Chip type, a lot of the readers can't read the UK cards. We found that only 3 could read them, Santander readers (since it's not a Mexican bank) and also two Mexican bank readers which unfortunately I can't remember the name of (I think one was Banamex but can't swear).

    However, using UK debits cards in any ATM never gave me a problem, but you need to remember to choose "savings account" instead of "current account" (which you would assume is the correct thing to choose!), otherwise no money comes out, and it doesn't even give you an error message, so you just think the machine ate your money.

    In the US (NY particularly) I had severe problems getting money out of ATMs with my Barclays debit card in 2008, only 2 banks would accept it, the rest of the banks' ATMs would decline the transaction, making my trip there a total nightmare. Natwest debit cards seemed to be accepted in more ATMs, but still not in all.
    Last edited by mvk0016; 16-03-2011 at 11:13 AM.
  • orvilleduck
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:18 AM
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:18 AM
    I've just returned from a fantastic three-week trip to Iran.

    However, foreign credit cards and debit cards are not accepted throughout the country and it’s impossible to change Travellers Cheques too.

    Take US dollars and Euros to fund your ENTIRE trip. PLUS a little bit more to be on the safe side. Banks can change these but the process is time consuming. Instead, use the official money changing shops which you can find in any major town. Prices are reasonable and it takes seconds. However, you’ll need a large bag to carry your Rials away!

    Word of warning – inflation is running at about 25% so double the prices that are in the latest (2008) Lonely Planet.

    I’d recommend a trip to Iran. Completely safe and I can’t understate how welcoming and hospitable everybody in the country was.
  • xJPx
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:19 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:19 AM
    You can only use Visa in madagascar, not amex or mastercard, travellers cheques are impossible to change and your best bet is taking some euros in cash in case the visa machine doesn't work. You can't take malagasy money out of the country or change it back legally into euros so don't take too much out at the end of your hols, although there are always illegal touts in central Tana if you're desperate. Credit cards aren't generally used for purchases but you can get your money out the hole with a visa easily enough. I lived there for 2years without any problems.
  • eeja
    • #9
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:21 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Mar 11, 11:21 AM
    Not exactly on the subject but ATM'S now charge three pounds for each withdrawal using UK cards .
    There is one exception however that is AEON machines. These are in many places and towns (you can check their website) and make NO charge.
    By the way where charges are made they appear on the screen before any withdrawal is made .
    • JulieGeorgiana
    • By JulieGeorgiana 16th Mar 11, 12:04 PM
    • 2,467 Posts
    • 12,987 Thanks
    In Germany I had my credit card declined multiple times (just not at petrol stations). It took me ages to find out why.

    My German family thought it was strange, as they all used cards, until they realised it was a Credit Card. Ends up in Germany most people only spend what they earn and Credit Cards are pretty much non-existant, therefore not accepted in most shops!

    I then tried to get cash from my debit card at the one and only bank which is supposed to not charge, only after two attempts at different branches that never worked either... so i spent a fortune getting it from a normal bank.

    The problem with this whole thing is... I checked with my credit card company before i left who said I shouldn;t have a problem, even when I rang to find out why it was declined they couldn't work it out!!!!
    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 18-03-2011 at 1:11 PM.
    We spend money we don't have, on things that we don't need, to impress people we don't like. I don't and I'm happy!

    Mortgage Free Wannabe
    Overpayments Made: 5400 - Interest Saved: 11,550 - Months Saved: 24
  • docvic
    'Countries you can't use your plastic in'
    We were in Budapest about 18 months ago & found that most restaurants would not accept credit cards - either Mastercard or Visa, although the local ( Official) guides indicated that they would. Fortunately it was easy to change cash (s) for the local currency, but if going it is worth taking some UK cash.
    BTW, if a pensioner, you can use your English bus passes on buses, trams, the underground & local trains to travel for free in Budapest. This is mentiioned in small print in the `Guide for UK Visitors' issued by the Tourist Office

  • avvy6
    We have been going to Austria for a number of years and have had the same problem - again as someone else said - even when I checked with the bank! I tried to use my bank debit card (Visa) but have been unable to use it and my credit cards both Mastercard and Visa. SHops often have the Mastercard logo but it means something else and is for a Maestro Debit card - which I have been told by the post office and bank in the UK that Maestro cash card is being phased out in UK!

    I noticed last year that the petrol stations will now take credit cards as will Maxi Markt suprtmarket but many others won't. As another blog says - it's the same as Germany - people don't use credit cards - if they don't have the cash - they don't buy it!
  • ivor888
    They only use some local pre-paid cards in very few places and don't accept any other cards.
    Travellers cheques are only accepted after a 2 week wait too so these aren't any use & technically the currency, Naira, is not exchangable but in reality this isn't an issue (although I had no need to).
  • sugerfreek
    I have to agree with the Germany comment. I'm living here at the moment and it is basically a cash economy meaning that ATM's are rare and everyone pays in cash. A lot of ATM's wont take your credit cards and shops CERTAINLY won't. Basically you are meant to carry large sums of money around with you. I use my Caxtonfx card around with me as it is accepted at pretty much any ATM and doesn't charge even at ATM's which have charged my German card up to 7€. My advice would simply be take the money you need out when you can.
  • cubehopper
    Japan's ATM's generally don't accept foreign ATM cards, and Japan is predominantly a cash society. It's not uncommon to carry 300 in cash at a time in your wallet. Fortunately it is very safe to carry cash as the level of crime is extremely low, if not non-existent.

    7Eleven stores have 24 hour ATMs which accept foreign Visa cards but only dispense 10,000Yen notes (about 80)

    JP Post Office and Shinsei Bank ATMs accept foreign Visa/Mastercards but have limited opening hours. 9am-9pm Mon-Fri. Even hole in the wall ATMs.

    Don't expect shops or restaurants to accept cards. If you're visiting Tokyo, get a Suica pre-paid card free from any train station. You can use it for public transport, and it's widely accepted in stores.
    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 18-03-2011 at 1:12 PM.
  • cubehopper
    South Korea
    Similar to Japan, most ATMs don't take foreign cards. There are ATMs in some 7Eleven stores that take foreign cards, but they charge a fee of about 3.

    There are a few 'global' ATMs at the airport which do not charge a fee.
  • alisonannk
    Slightly off-topic...traveller's cheques
    This is slightly off topic but a related issue so I felt it was worth mentioning here.

    About 4 years ago I was in Milan with my OH and we took Thomas Cook traveller cheques (had always done so in the past for trips to 'package resorts' but this was the first we had done so for a city break).

    Unfortunately, we had serious problems getting these exchanged in the banks recommended as those which would change them for us. After numerous calls to the helpline and no luck in each bank suggested we finally had luck in bank number 6 and the vast majority of one of our days had been wasted (we did fit sightseeing of convenience in based on bank locations though!). So just a word of warning that while you may be assured that changing money/using cards abroad is fine it is not always so simple! Thankfully the bulk of our spending money was in cash and the cheques were for day 6 and 7 so it could have been more inconvenient.

    I also hear thomas cook now offer travellers cheque cards that they say 'works the same as a mastercard but with pre-loaded money so you can use it everywhere'. However, this was refused as payment by a friend of mine in a shop in the canary islands. Obviously some shops don't take mastercard so she had some cash but a novice traveller may not know this and will assume spending abroad may be the same as here were pretty much everything you need can be bought in a shop that takes mastercard. So beware of using that kind of plastic abroad!

    My tip is to always take enough cash for at least 24 hours and figure out exchange/withdrawal/spending using other methods as soon as possible to avoid timewasting during your holiday! Better still....speak to someone who has already been (guide books may cover it but they didn't for our Milan situation and I speak Italian so language wasn't the barrier either!) and don't trust the provider that their payment method will actually be accepted!
    This time last year - 3 credit cards and 2 overdrafts maxed out. This year - no overdrafts and one card with reasonable balance! It's strangely satisfying getting them cleared!
  • happyandy
    ATMs do not work with UK debit or credit cards.
    US dollars in cash is the best way to get local currency (Bolivars).
  • trent7176
    HSBC in Manila was the only place I could use my card successfully in an ATM when I lived out there. Most other towns only have PNB (Philippine National bank) ATMs which don't seem to work with UK or French (my OH is French) -issued cards. Be prepared for this if you head out of the capital.
    Originally posted by BubbleFrogette
    My Visa debit card worked in the PNB machines in Manila. It was the Banco de Oro machines (the ones that tended to be in the malls) which rejected it. My bank cancelled my card whilst I was in Manila because it is a Country prone to Bank card fraud. So I was forced to withdraw on my Visa Credit card. The only machine to accept that was the HSBC bank in Makati province!
    • richardw
    • By richardw 16th Mar 11, 4:29 PM
    • 18,804 Posts
    • 7,893 Thanks

    Some brazilian banks ATM's don't accept UK cards, some HSBC in Brazil do though.
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