The bottom line on foreign credit cards in South Africa is: bring a Visa or MasterCard, and expect it to work most of the time.
South Africa’s electronic banking infrastructure is generally very good, but the odd glitch does occur, and sometimes a transaction simply won’t go through. Visa and MasterCard are universally accepted by restaurants and shops which allow card payments – about 80% of retailers allow them, in Your Correspondent’s experience – while American Express and Diner’s Club cards, though not unknown, .
The advantages of using a credit card, of course, are many: you don’t have to worry about cash; you get the latest exchange rate; and you can pretend that you haven’t really spent any money. That said, credit cards are not a universal spending solution here: as everywhere, you need to anticipate bringing cash, too.
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Credit card cancellation hotlines in SA:
- American Express (toll free): 0800 110 929
- Diner’s Club: 0860 346 377
- MasterCard (toll free): 0800 990 418
- Visa (toll free): 0800 990 475