Use your credit card freely, but carry some cash as well.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Barbados as it is a top tourist destination. Many businesses, including most supermarkets, may require you to show a valid photo ID or passport along with your credit or debit card.
You should also plan to carry some cash as many of the local small businesses are primarily cash-based.
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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
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Using a credit card with no foreign transaction fee can save you up to 3% on every transaction made abroad.
Save money in Barbados using a card without foreign transaction fees:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
- JetBlue Card
- JetBlue Plus Card
Both American Airlines and JetBlue Airways fly between the US and Barbados. With one of their cards, you could earn and redeem miles on your flights.
Potential credit card fees in Barbados
There are two types of fees you could incur when using your credit card in Barbados:
- Foreign transaction fees. Depending on your card, you could pay a fee of up to 3%. This means every $1,000 spent abroad could cost you $30 in fees.
- Currency conversion fees. If a merchant offers you the option to pay in US dollars instead of local currency, you’ll get a Dynamic Currency Conversion. This means the local bank will provide the exchange rate, which is usually higher than the mid-market rate.
Can I incur both fees?
Yes. Avoid this by paying in local currency and by using a credit card without foreign transaction fees.
Which credit card issuers are accepted in Barbados?
Some merchants accept American Express or Discover cards, but they aren’t as popular and widespread as Visa and Mastercard.
You may not find any ATMs that accept Discover or American Express cards.
Should I use my credit card to get cash in Barbados?
Smaller shops and restaurants may not accept credit cards, but everyone takes US dollars. Keep around $200 in your wallet to pay for such things as flying fish “cutters”, snacks, drinks, souvenirs, taxis and so on.
If you make an ATM cash withdrawal with a credit card, you’ll incur cash advance fees and an APR. Use a debit card for cash withdrawals to avoid such fees.
Do taxis in Barbados accept credit cards?
No, but you can pay in US dollars. Note that there’s no Uber in Barbados.
Chip and PIN credit cards
Chip and PIN credit cards are slowly gaining traction in Barbados. Don’t forget that you may be asked for photo ID when using your card at a shop.
Be sure to ask your bank for a PIN before traveling to Barbados.
Is it safe to use my credit card in Barbados?
Barbados is a safe country for credit card use. But, just as with any other place you might visit, exercising caution is advised.
- Select ATMs with care. ATMs attached to a bank are usually safer. Also, you can more easily retrieve your card if it gets stuck in the machine.
- Take two cards. Having a backup card is always a good idea in case something happens to your primary one.
- Keep your card in sight. Prevent credit card fraud by keeping an eye on your card every time you pay.
How to prepare before traveling to Barbados
- Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. This will save you up to 3% on every purchase made abroad.
- Visa and Mastercard are universally accepted. Amex and Discover cards, on the other hand, are only accepted at some places and rarely at ATMs.
- Notify your bank before you travel. Your bank may block your card otherwise.
- Get your bank’s phone number. You can quickly resolve issues with your card by calling.
- Get a backup card. This way you’ll always be covered should something happen to your other card.
- Get some cash. US dollars are accepted, but it’s best to pay in local currency.
Consider getting a Visa or Mastercard as they are more widely accepted and you’ll easily find ATMs should you need cash.
Opt to use a debit card to make cash withdrawals as they have no associated cash advance fees and APR. A credit card without foreign transaction fees is the best choice for making purchases abroad