browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Avoid using Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda – it costs too much

Posted by on February 5, 2020

Avoid using Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda – you will save money

Save Money by not using Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda

Avoid using Credit Cards in Uganda - RwandaAvoid using Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda: Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda mean added fees. Add to that Potential Theft of credit card information. There is also potential credit card freeze by your bank. The reason: You are using the card in an unknown location and have not notified the bank of using your card in Uganda or Rwanda.

Westerners are used to making most purchases via their credit card from restaurants to grocery stores – Welcome to Uganda – Rwanda, where we are, for the most part, a Cash-Based Society. 

Why Avoid Using Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda. The US Dollar rules here – it is the second currency here, and many transactions are done via the US Dollar – from hotels to park entrances, Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permits to payments to tour operators. Use cash whenever possible. Use an ATM to withdraw Local Currency.

Reasons Why you should Avoid using Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda?

  • Added Fees:  In the West, you use your credit card for a purchase of items or services. At the end of the month, it shows on your Statement. There are no fees above the price of items bought. Use your credit card to pay for your safari in Uganda-Rwanda. You pay a minimum of 3.5 to 5% more in service charges. Some tour operators charge you 10% above the price. Hotels, Restaurants, Shops that do take credit card will all add a processing fee charge of at least 5%. We found one person on Frommers Forum that been charged 17%.  Merchant Banking services are handled in many cases, not inside of Uganda or Rwanda but in Kenya. That is the case with Barclay Bank, all adding more fees.  Don’t use your card and save at least 5%. We have a cash price on safaris, and a credit card price, Our Credit Card fee is 3.5%, and we use reliable PesaPal as our Merchant Services provider.
  • Potential Theft: That smiling person behind the counter makes a 100 USD dollar a month – they have many needs in their life, add to that the greed factor.  Need and greed combined leads to theft. You are a Westerner to most Ugandans that you have unlimited resources. A little something extra removed would not hurt you (in their mind). You look at your statement at the end of the month, surprise, surprise.  Credit Card fraud and thefts have been on the rise in Uganda and Rwanda. Sophisticated, credit card fraud or theft has even been reported in major International Hotels.
  • Credit Card Freeze by your Bank: Many Visitors to Uganda – Rwanda have wanted to pay with their credit card or even withdraw money from an ATM Machine only to find that their card will not work.  Often, you need to let your bank know that you will be using your credit or debit card in East Africa. PayPal does not operate in Sub-Sahara Africa.  The preferred choice of Credit Card in Uganda – Rwanda is Visa. That includes ATMs’ where you can rarely use MasterCard.
  • Inconvenience: Most Establishments here that allow credit cards rarely use the system, and confusion can et in.  International hotels will most often have a swipe card system, others will not, depending on which Bank’s merchant services they use.  It can take a lot of time, a bit of frustration, potential. (With Luxury Hotels that is not the case)
  • Our Clients can use Credit Cards:  Oddly, In spite of warnings, we allow our clients to pay for a Safari with a credit card. The reason, too many of our clients want to use a credit card. Our Merchant Service Provider is PesaPal. We have used them since they arrived in Uganda. Our Bank provides credit card services but at a higher fee.  All of our Safari Payments are made credit card information reaches us. We sent an invoice payment link from PesaPal, andients’ follow up. 

Best Advice For Credit Card Use in Uganda – Bring Cash – Use ATM’s

  • What about Travellers Cheques?  You cannot get them cashed in many places. You also have to show that it was you that paid for them with a receipt. You will receive a substantially reduced rate over cash.  You can use Travellers Cheques at most major banks, some lodging facilities do accept them for payment but at a greater loss to you. Using Travellers Cheques in Rwanda is quite limited and even more of a chore than in Uganda.
  • What about ATM Machines?  They are there in most towns where there is a branch of a bank such as  Barclay’s, Standard Chartered, etc.  Use a Visa ATM card for success.  Maximum withdrawal for the day varies with your Bank’s limit. If the machine eats your card. Here you can get it back the next business day.  It is, however, a troublesome and time-consuming process
  • Dollars are the Best Currency to Bring to Uganda: Most things are priced in USD, there is a handful of European Lodging operators that price out their lodgings at Euros, but they will not refuse your US Dollars. When bringing US Dollars – they need to be 2008 or newer – be clean – not heavily used or have tears on them.  Just clean and crisp US Dollars – also stick to 50 and 100 US Dollar Bills – anything less will get you less in an exchange rate.

Why Avoid Using Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda? – hopefully, you have seen why and will use alternate ways to pay for things in Uganda or Rwanda.  Cards can be a hassle in East Africa when they are convenient in your home country.

More Important Money Advice for Visitors to Uganda:

Avoid using your Credit Cards in Uganda – Rwanda – If you have any questions – please ask and will try to answer your credit card questions since it is one of the most critical for Uganda or Rwanda.


Comments are closed.