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Ghana is one of the more popular countries in Africa for tourism. People from all over the world visit to experience the tropical climate, exotic wildlife, waterfalls and beaches.
It’s one of the African countries where it’s easier to spend on your credit card. Ghana’s businesses are aware of the benefits of accepting credit card payments, so it’s worth taking a good credit card that doesn’t charge foreign loading fees.
Visa is the main credit card network in the country. It may be possible to use Mastercard and American Express, although you are more likely to get turned away with these cards.
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There are millions of cash machines across Ghana. You’ll find them in all Ghanaian cities and towns, at train and bus stations, petrol stations, shopping centres and popular tourist destinations. Bank-affiliated ATMs don’t usually impose additional fees to those your bank may levy.
The currency in Ghana is the cedi (GHS).
There will be plenty of retailers in Ghana, especially in small towns outside of the capital city of Accra, which only accept cash. Many small retailers want to avoid the charges levied on vendors for credit card transactions. As such, you are best off carrying cash to use at certain newspaper vendors, cafes, restaurants, bars and retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Chip and PIN is commonly used in Ghana. In the switching of technology, some retailers falsely believe that they can no longer accept magnetic-stripe cards while some others will not let you use them, to do their bit in reducing credit card fraud. All they basically need you to do is swipe your card instead of inserting it into the machine, and then get you to sign for the purchase.
If you use a chip-and-signature card, it’s likely you will be able to use it in Ghana. However, some businesses are hesitant in accepting them because they are not sure if it’s allowed and some others don’t accept them to cut down on credit card fraud. If you are getting tickets from a machine, you will need to enter a PIN, in which case your chip-and-signature card won’t work.
By exercising some caution when using your credit card in Ghana, you’ll have a relatively trouble-free experience.
Remain alert to street crime, especially where two or more people work in distracting victims before decamping with their valuables. Instances of theft at airports are not uncommon, so stay vigilant while arriving and departing. There have been numerous instances of thefts from hired cars so don’t leave your wallet or purse in a parked car.
Credit card fees can leave a noticeable dent in your pocket when you are travelling overseas, so know what you’re up against well in advance and choose a card with no or low fees.
British credit card issuers typically charge a fee equivalent to 1% to 3% of your transaction, so carefully review your card’s fine print to avoid statement surprises. Some cards designed for travel come with no foreign transaction fees, so this could be a good time to switch.
If a retailer offers to bill your credit card in sterling, dynamic currency conversion comes into play. While this might sound like a good deal, you will actually end up getting a worse exchange rate, and you might also end up paying currency conversion fees. Whenever you are presented with an option, choose to pay in the local currency.
Using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM may not make sense unless it’s a bona fide emergency. Each time you withdraw funds from an ATM, you are likely to pay a cash advance fee. Your APR for cash advances is normally higher than your purchase APR, and you’ll typically get no grace period on interest – instead, you start paying interest immediately. Again, some cards designed for overseas spending will waive this fee.
The table below serves as an example of how much extra you may pay to use your credit card in Ghana.
Ask yourself these simple questions before you leave so your spending in Ghana does not hit any roadblocks.
When you’re in Ghana, you don’t have to worry about where and when you can use your credit card. Just keep some cash handy to pay for small purchases.
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