Consider a card without foreign transaction fees and save money.
As a member of the European Union, Belgium is a credit card-friendly country. However, for places that only accept the local Belgian debit card, Bancontact or cash, consider an ATM cash withdrawal.
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If you’re traveling to Europe, or frequently travel abroad, consider an airline credit card with no foreign transaction fees that could save you money on both flights and extra fees.
Potential credit card fees in Belgium
Using your credit card in Belgium can incur fees such as:
- Foreign transaction fees. If you’re using a credit card with foreign transaction fees, you could pay up to 3% of the amount of each transaction. This means $5,000 spent abroad could cost $150 in fees.
- Currency conversion fees. A retailer could offer you to pay your bill in US dollars. This is known as Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). At first it may sound convenient, but it comes with additional currency conversion fees.
Can I incur both fees?
Yes. Avoid this by getting a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and declining DCC if offered.
Which credit card issuers are accepted in Belgium?
Yes, but American Express and Discover cards aren’t as popular in Belgium as Visa or Mastercard.
If you own an American Express or a Discover card, look for BNP Paribas Fortis ATMs. Citibank ATMs also accept Discover cards, but not American Express.
Should I use my credit card to get cash in Belgium?
If paying your bill with a credit card isn’t an option, consider making an ATM cash withdrawal. However, cash withdrawals often come with cash advance fees and cash advance APR — which is usually higher than the standard APR on purchases.
One way to avoid this is to get a debit card for cash withdrawals and a credit card for payments.
You can learn more about spending in Belgium with our travel money guide.
Do taxis in Belgium accept credit cards?
Some do, but not all of them. Make sure you ask the driver before you take the trip.
Alternatively, you could consider using a rideshare app such as Uber, and pay with your card.
Chip and PIN credit cards
Chip and PIN cards are widely accepted in Belgium. You should consider calling your bank to ask for a four-number PIN before making your travel arrangements. This can help you avoid unpleasant situations, especially where the payment terminal is unmanned and you need to enter your PIN.
Is it safe to use my credit card in Belgium?
Using your credit card in Belgium is generally safe. However, you should still exercise caution and make sure you:
- Select ATMs with care. Stick to ATMs in banks and avoid using ones on the street. This can help you avoid card skimmers and you can retrieve your card easily if it gets stuck.
- Take two cards. It’s usually a good idea to have a backup as you never know when your card may get declined or stuck in an ATM.
- Keep your card in sight. Wherever you pay, make sure you keep an eye on your card.
How to prepare before traveling to Belgium
- Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. This can save you up to 3% on each transaction you make. That’s $90 saved on $3,000 spent in Belgium.
- Visa and Mastercard are universally accepted. But you can also pay with an American Express or a Discover card, especially in large cities.
- Notify your bank. Let your bank know of your travel plans. If you don’t, you could end up with a blocked card and a ruined trip.
- Get your bank’s phone number. This can be useful if something happens to your card. A simple phone call could resolve your issue.
- Get some cash. Sometimes you may need to pay cash. An ATM cash withdrawal could help. But keep in mind the fees you’re going to pay unless you use a debit card. Since debit cards have zero cash withdrawal APR, they’re a better option for ATM withdrawals.
You can use your credit card in most of Belgium. ATM cash withdrawals could be your solution for places that won’t accept foreign credit cards. Make sure you use a debit card to avoid incurring high cash advance APR.
Credit cards without foreign transaction fees can save you money on all of your purchases.