Using a credit card in Jamaica | finder.com
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Using a credit card in Jamaica

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Plan ahead to avoid problems with purchases while traveling this Caribbean island.

Jamaica’s got it all — pristine beaches, lush green forests and picturesque mountains — making it a must-see for many Americans.

If you’re planning to play or work in this Caribbean nation, you can rest assured that most businesses in tourist areas accept credit cards. Though it never hurts to carry some cash, especially if you’re rambling into more remote areas.

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Compare cards for use in Jamaica

When planning your trip to Jamaica, take a look at travel credit cards. A key feature of a strong travel card is that it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Name Product Currency Conversion Fee Annual Fee APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
18.24% to 25.24% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$450
19.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.99% to 26.99% variable
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
None
$250
See Rates & Fees
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
None
$0
17.99% to 26.99% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
None
$550
None (Charge Card)
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees
None
$0
15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
None
$0
13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable
An 18 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
None
$0
12.99% to 17.99% variable
Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Compare up to 4 providers

Which credit cards are accepted in Jamaica?

Mastercard and Visa branded cards are widely accepted across this island nation. Most large hotels and shops accept American Express cards, but don’t count on your Diners Club or Discover cards.

If you’re looking for some souvenirs or local goods, cash is your best bet. Several small businesses and shops don’t accept credit cards at all.

ATMs in Jamaica

ATMs are easy to find in such big cities as Kingston, Montego Bay and Mandeville, as well as around popular resorts spread across the island. However, ATMs in Jamaica can be unreliable, so it’s best that you have a backup plan.

Muggings in Jamaica are common, so look for well-lit ATMs and those located within locked vestibules when taking out cash.

Magstripe and chip credit cards

As with most countries the world over, Jamaica is transitioning from magstripe cards to chip cards. If you have a magstripe card, you can use it with card readers designed to work with chip cards — you’ll just need to sign a receipt.

Because most chip cards come with magstripes at the back, you can often use your chip card with older card readers.

Can I use my chip-and-signature card in Jamaica?

Using a chip-and-sign card in Jamaica shouldn’t be a problem. If a clerk is unsure about what to do with your card, suggest pressing the Enter button if it requests a PIN.

What if I don’t have a chip card at all?

Chip cards offer more secure than magstripe cards. Credit card skimming and cloning is common in Jamaica, so you might want to request a chip card from your bank or provider before your flight.

No-fee travel cards

When using most credit cards outside of the US, there’s a good chance you’ll pay foreign transaction fees of 2% to 3% of each transaction.

If you travel often — whether to Jamaica or elsewhere — consider applying for a travel card that comes with no foreign transaction fees.

Should I use my card to get cash?

You can use your credit card to get cash. But watch out for costly cash advance fees that’ll leave you on the hook for both a fee per transaction and immediate interest on your spending.

To avoid cash advance fees at an ATM, choose to use a debit card over a credit card when withdrawing money. Even though you’ll typically pay a withdrawal fee, most cards charge fees that are less expensive than cash advance fees and interest.

To avoid ATM fees altogether, look for cards that waive transaction fees internationally, like the debit card that comes with a Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account.

Is it safe to use my card in Jamaica?

Using a card in Jamaica comes with its share of risks.

To be most careful when taking out money, follow these three easy tips:

  • Safeguard your PIN.
    When entering your PIN at a hotel, grocery or restaurant, use one hand to hide the numbers from cameras and prying eyes. And never share your PIN with anyone.
  • Safety first.
    Avoid using ATMs in isolated or dimly lit areas. Even when you’re using a well-used ATM, try to limit withdrawals to the daytime only. And if you’re withdrawing a large amount, consider taking someone along with you.
  • Watch out for skimmers.
    Credit and debit card skimming is a concern in Jamaica. If something appears amiss or suspicious, go with your gut. Cancel your transaction, and look for another ATM instead.

Tips on keeping safe in general

Jamaica’s crime rates are high, especially around specific areas of Kingston and Montego Bay. With credit card fraud especially common, remain vigilant even when using your card at stores and supermarkets.

Don’t display overt signs of wealth or venture into isolated areas or desolate beaches. You could become a target of thieves.

General areas in Kingston that tourists report avoiding include Tivoli Gardens, Cassava Piece, Arnett Gardens, Mountain View and Trench Town. In Montego Bay, you’re better off avoiding Hart Street, Clavers Street, Norwood, Mount Salem, Flankers, Canterbury and Rose Heights.

How should I prepare for my trip to Jamaica?

Before you take off for your trip to Jamaica, prepare to avoid any potential problems with purchases or your credit card.

  • Look for a card with no foreign transaction fees.
    If you have the time, you’ll find many cards that forgo foreign transaction fees. A few options include the Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card, the Hilton Honors American Express Card and Venture® from Capital One®.
  • Go with Visa or Mastercard.
    If businesses in Jamaica accept cards, there’s a good chance you’re limited to Visa or Mastercard. While a few accept American Express, you’ll have a hard time finding those who take Diners Club or Discover.
  • Call your card provider.
    Banks will temporarily block cards if they detect unusual activity, and an unexpected transaction from Jamaica could alert a block. Getting your card unblocked can be a hassle, so be sure to contact your credit card company before you travel overseas.
  • Keep important phone numbers close.
    You never know when you might need to report a lost or stolen card. Pack a list of a numbers to call in a pinch.
  • Know where you’ll get cash.
    You can use your debit card to withdraw money from an ATM or convert US dollars at any number of banks or a currency exchange centers. Research a few near your hotel for easy cash when you need it.

Planning in advance is the best way to have safe access to your money when you need it.

US currency in Jamaica

Many businesses in Jamaica accept payment in US dollars and Jamaican dollars. However, any business that doesn’t target tourists may limit currency to the Jamaican dollar.

Local businesses decide their own exchange rates, often favorable to them and more expensive for you. Save money by exchanging your US dollars at forex service or tourist bureaus.

And bear in mind that even though you can easily use US dollars, hardly anyone accepts American coins.

Compare credit cards

Updated February 17th, 2019
Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$0
17.24% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$0
15.24% to 26.24% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 15.24% to 26.24% variable)
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
17.24% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
18.24% to 25.24% variable

N/A

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$95
15.24% to 26.24% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 15.24% to 26.24% variable)
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
15.24% to 26.24% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 15.24% to 26.24% variable)
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$450
19.24% to 26.24% variable

N/A

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$550
None (Charge Card)

N/A

Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees
$0
14.24% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 14.24% variable)
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable
0% for the first 12 billing cycles (then 18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable)
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.99% to 26.99% variable

N/A

30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
17.99% to 26.99% variable

N/A

Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$95
17.99% to 26.99% variable

N/A

Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$0
17.99% to 26.99% variable

N/A

Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$0
12.99% to 17.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 12.99% to 17.99% variable)
Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
$0
11.99% to 17.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 11.99% to 17.99% variable)
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with your card.
$0
11.99% to 17.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 11.99% to 17.99% variable)
Earn 5x points on gas at the pump and 3x points on groceries. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
$0
15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable)
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
$0
13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable
0% for the first 18 months (then 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable)
An 18 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
$0
16.24% to 22.24% variable
1.99% for the first 6 monthly billing cycles (then 16.24% to 22.24% variable)
1% cash back to the nonprofits, K-12 schools, colleges and religious organizations of your choice.
$495
17.24% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 17.24% variable)
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
$195
17.24% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 17.24% variable)
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
$995
17.24% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 17.24% variable)
Earn 1x points when redeemed for airfare through the Luxury rewards program.
$0
15.24% to 26.24% variable

N/A

Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score over 620.
See terms
See terms

N/A

The First Access Card is a true Visa® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.
$0
9.24% to 17.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 9.24% to 17.99% variable)
Low APR on all purchases including cash advances.
$0
11.99% to 17.99% variable
4.99% for the first 12 months (then 11.99% to 17.99% variable)
Earn a $100 bonus after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.
$0 to $99
20.24% to 26.24% variable

N/A

Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases.
$0 to $99
20.24% to 26.24% variable

N/A

Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV.
$0 to $99
20.24% to 26.24% variable

N/A

Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore.
$0 to $99
23.9% fixed

N/A

The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card is specifically designed for those with less than perfect credit.
$48
9.99% fixed

N/A

This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
$35
19.64% variable

N/A

A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
$39
14.74% variable

N/A

No minimum credit score and no credit history required.
$49
10.74% variable

N/A

Build or rebuild your credit with this secured card.

Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions

Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichaelaJanuary 22, 2018

    I will be travelling to Jamaica and need a prepaid Visa or MasterCard. How much can I use daily?

    • finder Customer Care
      RenchJanuary 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Michaela,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      You may also want to consider getting a prepaid travel money card for you to use in Jamaica. You can get useful information on this page and compare your options.

      You may click the name of your preferred card to know more details and you may click the green “Go to site” button to submit an online application through their official site.

      Hope this helps.

      Best regards,
      Rench

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