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Using a credit card in Slovenia
Whether you're skiing, exploring the caves or enjoying the beautiful sandy beaches, you'll have no problem spending on credit card in Slovenia.
Slovenia is growing in popularity as a holiday destination and it should be simple enough for tourists to spend money using their credit card.
Visa is the most commonly accepted credit card network, but it should be no problem making payments or withdrawing cash using Mastercard, American Express or other smaller networks.
Whether you’re enjoying the beautiful capital of Ljubljana, skiing in Kranjska Gora or relaxing by the beaches on the Adriatic coast, you can expect to be able to pay for goods and services by card.
You should find it simple enough to find an ATM as there are plenty located through the country. Many of them are free to use too. You can buy public transport tickets using credit card at the local stations, and many taxis accept credit card payment as well.
All in all, the country has an extremely well-adapted card payment system.
What about fees?
As you’d expect, there are a few potential fees to watch out for when you’re paying with plastic in Slovenia.
It’s also worth noting that when it comes to cash advances and non-sterling transactions, many card issuers will start charging interest on the day your account is debited, rather than the customary “up to 55 days interest-free” that usually applies provided you clear your balance in full each month.
EU ban on credit card surchargesIn January 2018 the EU required member states to adopt the Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) – a ban on card payment surcharges (that’s when a retailer adds a fee because you’re paying using a credit card), but it’s important to note that there are limitations and exceptions to this directive and there are other fees that may apply when you pay by credit card. If your card is from a non-EU bank, uses a network other than Visa or Mastercard or is a business/corporate card, the merchant may still levy a surcharge.
So how can I avoid the fees?
Consider taking out a credit card offering commission-free currency conversion (see table below), even if you only use it when you’re out of the country. Once you have one of these cards, if a merchant offers to take payment in pounds, say you’re happy to pay in euros, since you know that your own bank won’t add a margin.
Generally speaking, it’s not a great idea to use credit cards to withdraw cash, but some travel credit cards won’t penalise you for this either. Finally, make sure to check whether any ATM you use is going to charge a fee. ATMs near banks, supermarkets and shopping centres are generally safer bets than those located inside convenience stores or bars.
Compare cards with fee-free currency conversion in Slovenia
Are American Express cards accepted in Slovenia?It can be tough to find places that accept Amex payments in some parts of Europe, but Slovenia is relatively well set up for American Express cardholders. Although Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly accepted networks, Amex cardholders shouldn’t have to worry too much. However, merchants may levy a surcharge for Amex payment.
Contactless and chip-and-PIN payments
Contactless payments are becoming increasingly common in Slovenia. A December 2018 study by Mastercard indicated that more than half (54%) of Slovenians use contactless at least once per week.
Chip-and-PIN technology is more prevalent. Provided you have a four-digit PIN, you should be able to pay this way with no problems.
Is it safe to use my credit card in Slovenia?
As far as safety goes, you can freely use your card in Slovenia. It is not a place that is well known for bank card scams. However, there are some precautions you can take for increased security:
- Use an ATM within a bank. If for some reason the ATM eats your card, you’ll be able to quickly retrieve it. Also, ATMs within banks are less likely to be tampered with. Should you use one outside a bank, check for devices attached to the reader and cash return slot.
- Consider taking an additional credit card. You can use your primary card for payments and keep your back-up card in your hotel room safety deposit box. That way, you’ll never be left without money.
- Keep your card in sight. Card cloning is rare in Slovenia, but just in case, don’t let your card out of your sight.
How to prepare before travelling to Slovenia
- Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. If you travel often, avoiding the 3% foreign transaction fee can save you a lot of money. Consider getting a travel credit card to avoid the foreign transaction fees.
- Opt for a Mastercard or Visa. They’re the most widely accepted cards and Slovenia is no exception, though you still can’t use your American Express cards in some locations. There are also enough ATMs around if you want to withdraw cash with these cards as well.
- Carry a back-up card. Try to always carry a second card when travelling abroad, given you don’t know what could happen to your primary card.
- Get some cash. In general, you can pay with plastic almost anywhere in Slovenia. But if you want to make a cash withdrawal, keep in mind that credit cards have additional fees while most debit cards don’t.
- Inform your bank you’re travelling to Slovenia. If you don’t let your bank know ahead of time the dates you’ll be away and where you’ll be, it may block your card if it suspects the charges are fraudulent.
- Make a note of your bank’s phone number. If you lose your card or have payment issues, you’ll be able to call the bank to resolve it.
If you travel to Slovenia, you can safely use your credit card to make payments and withdraw cash. You’ll just have to be careful to not incur fees you can otherwise avoid. With a decent travel credit card, you’ll avoid paying foreign transaction fees. By simply declining the DCC when offered, you’ll also avoid a poor exchange rate or commission.
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