To enjoy all that Croatia offers, you’ll need a combination of cash and credit cards while traveling. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted throughout Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and other larger cities.
Smaller cities and establishments on the mainland and island — especially konoba or family inns sprinkled across the country — accept cash only. Some apartment owners might even insist that you secure your room with a cash deposit, especially during the country’s peak tourist season. You might even entice a discount from vendors that prefer Croatian kuna.
If you’re taking along a variety of cards, debit cards and cash, read our full guide on spending money while traveling in Croatia.
Whether you incur any fees on your credit card purchases in Croatia largely depends on your credit card. You could pay:
- Foreign transaction fees. Some credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee of up to 3%. This may now seem like a lot, but it can add up. For example, if you spend $3,000 in Croatia, you could pay up to $90 in fees.
- Currency conversion fees. Sometimes, a merchant or ATM may offer you to pay in US dollars instead of Croatian kuna. This process is known as a dynamic currency conversion (DCC), which often comes with a poor exchange rate and higher fees.
Can I incur both fees on a single transaction?
Yes. You can easily avoid this with a travel card. Travel cards typically have no foreign transaction fees. As for DCC, decline if offered to pay in US dollars.
Does Croatia accept the euro?
No. Though the country became a part of the European Union in 2013, Croatia hasn’t yet adopted the euro.
To attract travelers from the EU, local Croatian businesses might accept payment in euros. Some taxis, accommodations and restaurants advertise their rates in euros. But euros aren’t legal tender in Croatia, which means no business is obligated to accept them.
While traveling in Croatia, you’ll want to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Thankfully, most good travel cards don’t charge these fees.
Called Bancomats in Croatia, ATMs are readily found in banks, stores and even larger hotels. Most accept major credit cards, but you’ll want to reserve using your card at an ATM for emergencies.
Unless your bank partners with a Croatian bank, credit card withdrawals are usually processed as cash advances that attract fees as high as $10 or 3% of your withdrawal amount — or more with some cards.
To avoid penalties that come with cash advances, use your debit card to withdraw money at ATMs. Or apply for a card that waives transaction fees internationally, like the debit card that comes with a Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account.
Magstripe and chip credit cards
Much of Europe has move toward chip cards, but both chip and magstripe cards are widely accepted in Croatia.
Even if a business’s card reader is designed for chip cards, you should be able to swipe your magstripe card. Simply swipe your card, enter your PIN and sign your receipt.
What if I don’t have a chip card?
If you don’t have a chip card, you might want to ask your bank to replace your magstripe card. While credit card skimming and cloning scams are rare in Croatia, a chip card can provide stronger protection against fraud — and better peace of mind.
Where can I find a travel card that doesn’t come with fees?
Each time you swipe or dip your credit card overseas, you’ll typically pay a foreign transaction fee equal to about 2% to 3% of your purchase amount.
One way to save more money for sightseeing is to apply for a no-fee travel card. Look into these flexible travel cards that can take fees off the table for travelers — and may offer extra incentives for you to get out into the world.
As you plan to relax and unwind on the beautiful Croatian beaches, make sure you’ll be able to use your credit cards without a hitch.
- Get a card with no foreign transaction fees. This is one fee you can easily avoid, provided you apply for a card offering no foreign transaction fees.
- Keep your card provider in the loop. Banks don’t like losing money to fraud, and so they won’t hesitate to block your card temporarily if they see unexpected overseas purchases. Avoid this by informing your provider of your travel plans.
- Carry important phone numbers. Lost and stolen cards aren’t uncommon while traveling. Have important provider numbers handy so that you can call in a pinch.
- Know where you’ll get cash. ATMs are abundant across Croatia. Exchange US dollars for Croatian kuna at banks or currency exchange centers, and call your bank about partnerships it might have with networks in Croatia for free withdrawals.
By thinking ahead, you’ll be in the perfect position to relax while taking in the natural drama of Dalmatia and beyond.
See more guides on using a credit card in other countries.
General tips on keeping safe
Crime levels in Croatia are low, but you’ll want to remain vigilant to street crime — especially during the summer tourist season. Keep an eye out in busy areas, where you could encounter pickpockets.
Don’t leave your wallet or bag unattended, and watch your belongings especially at the beach. While you’re traveling — especially if traveling solo — wear modest jewelry to avoid attracting the eyes of thieves.
You can use your credit card in Croatia without safety concerns by taking a few basic precautions.
- Keep your PIN safe. When entering your PIN at an ATM or card reader, use one hand to cover it from hidden cameras and people around you.
- Choose ATMs carefully. Look for machines in banks or well-lit areas, and avoid those in isolated neighborhoods, especially at night.
- Cancel your transaction if anything’s awry. A card skimmer can steal your valuable card information without you even noticing. If your machine’s card slot or keypad raises an eyebrow, cancel your withdrawal and contact your provider.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted throughout Croatia. Some hotels and establishments may also accept American Express and Discover. However, whichever card you use, you could pay foreign transaction fees.
Avoid this by using a travel credit card, which usually come with no foreign transaction fees. You should also compare Croatia travel money options to find the right payment method for your situation.
Does Croatia restrict how much money I can carry into the country?
Yes. If you’re traveling from the US, you’ll need to declare any amount over 10,000 euros or its equivalent in another currency.
What’s the limit to how much cash I can withdraw from an ATM?
Each bank will impose a different limit. Call your local bank to ask about limits, and pay attention to signs indicating ATM limits during your travels.
How do I send money to Croatia?
Don’t always assume that banks are the best way to send money to Croatia. Banks tend to have less competitive exchange rates coupled with high transfer fees. Check out money transfer services and learn how to send money to Croatia the smart way.
What’s the Croatian to US exchange rate?