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Using a credit card in Croatia
Can you use your credit card in the land of Game of Thrones?
To enjoy all that Croatia offers, you’ll need a combination of cash, debit and credit cards.
Plastic is accepted throughout major cities and tourist destinations like Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik. Smaller cities and establishments on the mainland and island — especially konoba or family inns sprinkled across the country — accept cash only.
Although credit cards are widely accepted, always travel with at least some cash. Some apartment owners might insist that you secure your room with a cash deposit, especially during the country’s peak tourist season. You might even score a discount from some vendors or landlords that prefer Croatian kuna over swiping plastic.
Does Croatia accept the euro?
Though the country became a part of the European Union in 2013, Croatia hasn’t yet adopted the euro.
To attract travellers from the EU, local Croatian businesses might accept payment in euros. Some taxis, accommodations and restaurants advertise their rates in euros – but euros aren’t legal tender in Croatia, which means no business is obligated to accept them.
- Foreign transaction fees. Usually around 2.5% to 3% of your transaction cost, these fees are charged when you use your card overseas. You can avoid these fees by choosing a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees.
- Currency conversion fees. If a merchant asks if you’d like to pay in the local currency or in Canadian dollars, always choose the local currency. When a merchant converts the transaction to Canadian dollars for you, you’ll incur a currency conversion fee and likely get a less competitive exchange rate.
- Cash advance fees. If you use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, you’ll face a cash advance fee. In addition, you’ll be charged interest on your withdrawn amount immediately – there is no grace period for a cash advance transaction.
- ATM fees. Even when you use your debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, you’ll likely be charged an ATM fee. Usually around $5, this fee can be avoided by choosing a debit card from a bank that has an international partnership with other banks. One example is the Global ATM Alliance through Scotiabank, which waives ATM fees when you use specific brands of ATMs worldwide.
Should I use my credit card to get cash?
Avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash at all costs. This is an extremely expensive way to access cash as you will incur a cash advance fee as well as interest charged from the day you withdraw the funds.
Instead, use your debit card to withdraw money from ATMs. To avoid the ATM fee that comes with debit cards, consider applying for a card from a bank that has an international partnership with other ATM providers and banks around the world.
Called Bancomats in Croatia, ATMs are easily found in banks, airports, stores and even some larger hotels.
You can safely use your credit card in Croatia by taking a few basic precautions.
- Keep your PIN safe. When entering your PIN at an ATM or card reader, use one hand to cover it from hidden cameras and people with prying eyes.
- Choose ATMs carefully. Look for machines in banks, airports or well-lit areas, and avoid ATMs in isolated neighbourhoods – especially at night.
- Cancel your transaction if anything’s off. A card skimmer can steal your valuable card information without you even noticing. If your machine’s card slot or keypad is acting up, cancel your transaction and use a different ATM.
- Keep your card physically safe. Crime levels in Croatia are low, but you’ll want to remain vigilant to street crime — especially during the summer tourist season. Keep an eye out in busy areas, where you could encounter pickpockets. Don’t leave your wallet or bag unattended, and watch your belongings in busy places like the beach.
How should I prepare before my trip?
As you plan to relax and unwind on the beautiful Croatian beaches, you’ll want to be sure you can use your credit cards without a hitch.
- Get a card with no foreign transaction fees. This is one fee you can easily avoid, provided you apply for a no foreign transaction fee credit card prior to your trip.
- Keep your credit card provider in the loop. Banks don’t like losing money to fraud, and so they won’t hesitate to block your card temporarily if they see unexpected overseas purchases. Avoid this by informing your provider of your travel plans.
- Carry important phone numbers. Lost and stolen cards aren’t uncommon while travelling. Have important provider numbers handy so that you can call should you find yourself in a financial emergency.
- Know where you’ll get cash. ATMs are abundant across Croatia. You can exchange US or Canadian dollars for Croatian kuna at banks or currency exchange kiosks. Consider applying for a debit card with a bank that has an international ATM alliance.
How to use a credit card in…
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