Maestro and Cirrus networks in West Africa?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Oct 1, 2012 8:48 AM Last Post By: madrona
Sep 9, 2012 9:38 AM
Sep 9, 2012 10:17 AM
Sep 9, 2012 12:03 PM
Sep 9, 2012 9:51 PM
3Kira, not exactly so.
I have withdrew money from ATMs with my Mastercard in Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Mali and Burkina Faso. At least in the capitals you are able to find at least one bank taking Mastercard. However, it shouldn't be your only card cause the it can be a real pain in the a** to find the right ATM and very often they are out of cash or connection. Generally Visa is the card of choice for Africa.
Sep 9, 2012 10:26 PM
Sep 9, 2012 11:29 PM
5I've used the Visa Electron (which is a debit card) some years ago in Ghana and Togo. Some ATMs advertise they take Maestros as well, but not sure about that. However, I have had so many problems with Visa debit and Mastercard in Africa that nowadays I always take my Visa credit card plus Mastercard as a backup.
Especially if you're planning to do a longer trip consisting several African countries, get yourself a Visa credit card.
Sep 10, 2012 3:32 AM
Sep 10, 2012 8:19 AM
7At least in 2007 there was one bank in Ghana that had branches with ATM's taking Mastercard. Can't recall the name, maybe it was Ghana Commercial Bank. In Burkina Faso and Togo, Banque Atlantique seems to be the only one taking Mastercard. They have operations in CI as well, but don't know the situation with ATMs. If Kira says they don't take Mastercard, they don't take Mastercard. But the ATMs of Banque Atlantique are often out of order due to data transfer problems.
But like already said, depending only on Mastercard or Visa debit is like asking for troubles.
Sep 10, 2012 10:20 AM
8Both Nationwide and Barclays visa debit cards (ordinary visa, not visa electron) worked for me in Ghana in 2010, but we only used them in Tamale, I believe in a branch of Barclays.
Sep 10, 2012 10:57 AM
9So how do travelers manage their money on longer trips through the region usually? Let's say I go for a 4 month trip and bring plenty of cash and rely mainly on that (combination of Euros and dollars let's say). I like the area so much that I decide to stay another 4 months. I don't have any cash left, so how do I get more? Do most people turn to cash advances using their visa cards from banks and ATM's? How do people get larger chunks of cash once their supply runs out? Thanks a lot for the tips.
Sep 10, 2012 12:42 PM
Sep 11, 2012 6:46 AM
11If I thought I might end up staying a lot longer than I'd originally planned, I'd try to have enough money in my bank account to fund the extra time, then use my visa debit card to get it. Or you could contact family and have them put more money into your account for you.
I would try to avoid using my credit card (strictly for emergency use only) - cash advances cost a small fortune, interest starts mounting up from the moment you make the withdrawal and it will be no fun at all going home to a big debt.
Really, if you have to rely on your credit card to get more cash should you not go home and look for a job so you can save up for another trip? (I'm wearing my sensible hat here....)
Oct 1, 2012 8:48 AM
12Banque Atlantique in Cote d'Ivoire DOES take Mastercard, as well as several other banks like Ecobank, at least according to their logos. And I have had almost no problems using Visa debit cards here, and they are certainly a much better deal than using credit cards.
My former bank in the U.S. would charge me $5 for debit card withdrawals, but I dumped them because they wanted to charge me for checking. I now use a small, local bank which doesn't charge me anything for international withdrawals. Whereas using a credit card cost me a $10 withdrawal fee plus big finance fees.
That said, this morning I had to visit four ATMs before I finally found one that was working.
I was in Dakar in 2007 and my debit and credit cards would not work in the ATMs. I had to go inside the bank and get a cash advance the old fashioned way. That, however, does not work in Abidjan, where you can get cash advances by machine but not from a bank clerk.
(2 star Hotel)
From US$100.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$104.35 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$121.07 per night