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Using a credit card in Ghana
Save money when visiting Ghana by using a Visa card that charges no foreign transaction fees.
In cities across Ghana, you can freely use a Visa credit card to pay for purchases at hotels, restaurants and some shops. Mastercard and American Express are much less frequently accepted, but some merchants will offer them as a payment option. Outside of cities, you will likely need to rely on cash.
Compare credit cards for use in Ghana
Which credit card issuers are accepted in Ghana?
Only Visa credit cards are widely accepted in Ghana. Mastercard and American Express cardholders might struggle to find an ATM or an establishment to use these cards, especially outside of Ghana’s capital, Accra.
Potential credit card fees in Ghana
- Foreign transaction fees. Most credit cards issued by Canadian banks come with foreign transaction fees. Sitting around 2.5% of the total transaction cost, you’ll need to pay this fee every time you use your credit card outside of Canada. Fortunately, there are a few credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees in Canada.
- Currency conversion fees. If someone gives you the choice of paying in Canadian dollars or Ghana cedi with your credit card, always choose the local currency. Paying in Canadian dollars with your card will subject you to a dynamic currency conversion that can lead to poor exchange rates and currency conversion fees. Always choose to pay in the local currency and let your bank do the currency conversion.
- Cash advance fees. If you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, you’ll face a cash advance fee. In addition, you’ll also be charged interest from the day you withdraw the funds – there is usually no grace period with a cash advance transaction. Instead, use your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM.
- ATM fees. Even using your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM will likely have you facing an ATM fee. To avoid this fee, you can use a debit card issued by a bank that is a member of an international ATM alliance, such as Scotiabank.
ATMs in Ghana
ATMs can be found in cities across Ghana. Since the crime rate in Ghana is high, use ATMs that are located within banks or well-lit areas. Avoid ATMs in dark or isolated areas. Card cloning and other ATM scams occur in Ghana, so if the ATM keypad feels sticky or the card slot feels tight, use another ATM.
Should I use my credit card to get cash?
As mentioned above, using your credit card to get cash from an ATM is not a good idea. You’ll end up paying a cash advance fee as well as interest, which will start adding up from the day of the transaction. To withdraw cash from an ATM, it’s best to use your debit card.
Do taxis in Ghana accept credit cards?
No, but you could use a rideshare app such as Uber and pay with your credit card through the app.
Is it safe to use my credit card in Ghana?
Yes, it’s relatively safe, however you’ll need to keep an eye on your card at all times and use ATMs with care.
- Keep your PIN secure. When using a keypad to enter your PIN, use your other hand to shield the screen from onlookers and hidden cameras.
- Take two cards. You never know what might happen to your credit card. Having a backup card can put your mind at ease.
- Choose ATMs carefully. Use ATMs located within a bank. They’re less likely to have a card-skimming device attached.
- Keep your card physically safe. The crime rate in Ghana is relatively high so you’ll want to keep an eye on your card at all times.
How to prepare before travelling to Ghana
- Carry at least one Visa card. Having at least one Visa card with you is essential. Bring a backup credit card in case your primary card becomes lost or stolen.
- Avoid foreign transaction fees. If you don’t have a card that waives foreign transaction fees, think about getting one before you leave Canada. Foreign transaction fees usually cost 2.5% and they can add up quickly if you use your card often.
- Tell your bank. In an effort to minimize fraudulent transactions, banks temporarily block cards if they detect suspicious activity. If you don’t let your bank know that you plan to travel to Ghana, you will likely end up with a suspended credit card.
- Keep emergency numbers handy. If your credit card becomes lost or stolen, you’ll need to call to get a replacement card sent to Ghana. Make sure any phone numbers you need remain easily accessible at all times.
- Know how you’ll get cash. An affordable way to access cash is to use your debit card at an ATM. Exchanging Canadian dollars for cedi is also possible at banks and exchange kiosks. Avoid currency exchanges at hotels and airports due to high transaction fees and poor exchange rates.
Ask yourself these questions in order to avoid common credit card related problems in Ghana.
- Which cards will I use? Visa is the most widely accepted brand of credit card in Ghana, but you may find some businesses that accept Mastercard and American Express. Take at least two credit cards with you on your trip – and at least one Visa card.
- Does my bank know? If your bank is not aware of your upcoming trip, you may have to deal with a temporarily suspended card. Always notify your bank or credit card provider of your overseas travels.
- What fees will I face? Read your credit card terms and conditions or call and ask your credit card provider if you’ll face any foreign transaction fees. Remember, you can easily avoid currency conversion fees by paying in the local currency of cedi.
- How will I get cash? Your options include using your Canadian debit card at a local ATM, exchanging money or carrying travellers’ cheques – although cashing travellers’ cheques may be difficult in Ghana. Avoid using a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM unless its an emergency.
Using a credit card in …
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