Cash or Card? Countries where you still need cash.

At the other end of the spectrum “Countries where it is exceedingly difficult to use cash. The UK.
If you have trouble using GBP cash you can always give it to me (for a small consideration).

Otherwise, next time you're there you could pop into the local Tesco and purchase a bottle (or two) of decent Scotch malt, and if you don't like it you could always give it to me too.

As a British citizen (amongst other things), I would have no problem in legally disposing of any amount of GBP cash (for a beneficial outcome).
 
Is McDonalds a country? (joke)
Was plenty of starving tech nerds there the other day while I was eating my Big Mac.
 
Yes, I can second India as requiring cash still. Even a couple of the major historic sites only took cash and fairly significant sums at that (by local standards) eg 600 rupees for foreign tourist entry. However, there is an extensive ATM network and none of them that I used took a local fee (using my new NAB card).
 
An interesting (frustrating) country with regards to this question is Bhutan, which is very dependant on tourism.

The major form of payment is using a QR scanning software which only works with apps from either Bank of Bhutan or other Bhutanese Banks.

I never found any business that took either credit cards or Australian Debit cards so I needed cash to pay.

It is also extremely difficult to withdraw cash from an ATM, During my stay I found on average I needed to visit 4-5 ATMs before I found one that would complete a cash withdrawal using my ING debit card.

I had a bit more success with getting cash advances with my credit card with a success rate of 1 in 3 ATMs.

On a couple of occasions I revisited an ATM where I had success previously but on the subsequent visits no cash!

All this meant I was more reluctant to spend money than I would otherwise have been because I was worried I would run out of cash.

I did find out, just before I left, that the best option is to upload the Bank of Bhutan app and transfer money into a created account from your debit card.
 
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I did find out, just before I left, that the best option is to upload the Bank of Bhutan app and transfer money into a created account from your debit card.
Just recently up thread, there was similar observation of the QR system in India. It would be interesting to know if there’s a similar hack to get access to that system?

I know in Singapore, you can use the Grab ride share app to pay at some QR places. But it’s a bit academic there because cards are widely accepted and most ATMs are fee free.
 
Just recently up thread, there was similar observation of the QR system in India. It would be interesting to know if there’s a similar hack to get access to that system?

I know in Singapore, you can use the Grab ride share app to pay at some QR places. But it’s a bit academic there because cards are widely accepted and most ATMs are fee free.
I would guess the Bhutan is compatable with the Indian system (it seems as though around 2/3rdsof Tourists to Bhutan are from India.)

I will be finding out more in June when I am back in Bhutan and will be giving the Bank of Bhutan (BoB) app a try.
 
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Going to Japan next month and I gather Japan is still cash only in lots of places. Anyone know which ATMs in Japan allow cash withdrawals without àn ATM fee? I have Ing Orange, Bankwest Transaction acct and NAB (ex Citibank) Debit cards to choose from as all these are close to the spot rate with no / little Fx fees.

Edit: from a quick Google search it appears that Mastercard at 7 11 ATMs don't attract àn ATM fee but Visa card does...so might have to use my BW Transction Debit (MC) @ 7 11 ATMs.

Still would like to hear from AFFers experience :)
Card is more widely accepted in Japan cf to my last trip 5 years ago but cash is needed in smaller shops, restaurants and most vending machines....withdrew ¥100 K (maximum) from 7 11 ATM using my BW Transction Debit MC last night with no ATM or card fee...got a rate a touch better than the live Fx rate on xe.com at the time. :) Might withdraw more ¥ whilst it is weak to the AUD for my next trip later this year.
 
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The Philippines are mostly cash only except for bigger hotels and restaurants. Even 7-11s were cash only! Maccas took credit cards consistantly. Cash is a pita because of bank fees, small withdrawal limits (most ATMs only give 10k PHP at a time) and only HSBC giving 40k max withdrawal. Probably better to bring cash AUD and change it at money changers.
 
The Philippines are mostly cash only except for bigger hotels and restaurants. Even 7-11s were cash only! Maccas took credit cards consistantly. Cash is a pita because of bank fees, small withdrawal limits (most ATMs only give 10k PHP at a time) and only HSBC giving 40k max withdrawal. Probably better to bring cash AUD and change it at money changers.
Yeah, I needed to get cash as well earlier this year, but found card acceptance pretty good at major stores at most malls and Starbucks etc, but 7-11 surprised me. Of course once you get out of Manila or major regional cities, cash becomes the only option.

Plus I couldn't find any HSBC ATMs, tried just about every other brand and all had the 10k limit (and large fee), despite some articles online suggesting some might have a 20 or 25k limit.

It makes me realise we had it good back in the day of the ING card!
 
It makes me realise we had it good back in the day of the ING card!
Yeah Ing was great in rebating the OS ATM fee, initially unlimited then down to 5....both +1 and I have Ing and we could Mx easily with 10 withdrawals with ATM fee rebated. Now that's gone, I'm about to cancel my Ing card.
 
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Who says you can go anywhere and not use cash?
Do you want to?

I've been using credit card in Thailand the past 2 years and that's now 4 cards compromised and a hassle to try and rectify.

My preference has always been cash but my trips until 2022 were maximum 12 days. Now they are 18-28 days and with the little one growing up fast that's a lot of cash.

I now have a Krungsri Debit card that cannot be used for purchases and we paid THB400/year for ATM card (instead of THB200/year) which means no ATM withdrawal fee even out of province so send money via Wise and withdraw cash each day as needed for golf and drinks.
 
Just a couple of data points…
I’m currently in Spain (Extremadura).

On Credit Cards…
Seems to be a big change during/post CV19.
Most bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels, Casa Rural, etc that I’ve used have credit card machines. Many are wireless. Most vendors quite happy to take card. I saw a group of 4 locals in a small cafe split their fairly modest bill across 2 cards, with no reaction from the waiter.

On Cash…
Many bank ATMs want to charge EU7 per transaction. Even the ING ATM, using an Aus based ING card, wanted to charge EU5 per transaction.
Yesterday, I used a Macquarie card in a UniCaja Banco ATM, with no bank fee. The conversion on the Macquarie end was within about AUD1 of the XE rate.
 
I managed to get around Eswatini with card only, but that's without going too far off the beaten track. If you want to go more local, then you'll want cash. Rand is accepted everywhere, so useful if passing through South Africa.
 
In South Africa recently I used a private driver for a day who accepted cash only, so I had to make an ATM withdrawal. Other than that I think I could have managed the trip with card only. Trying to use the remaining Rand wasn’t always easy. I bought a couple of beers at a bar and they reluctantly took cash but told me they were moving to card only in coming weeks.
 
Going to Cuba in May (after Taiwan, Canada, Mexico).

Not been Cuba yet but the following advise provided to us by tour company.

In Cuba cash only everywhere. US embargoes on the country mean most Visa Mastercard etc will not work others not worth risking as wifi and internet very patchy and unreliable and locals only want cash.

Only take USD, GBP or EUD as they won't accept AUD and don't like CAD. Only notes because they can't do anything with coins.

Various internet blogs saying don't take USD because of 10% exchange tax are incorrect, no longer applies.

Exchange rate "on the street" is many times better than the official gov approved exchange offices and advised not to use gov exchange outlets.
 
On Cash…
Many bank ATMs want to charge EU7 per transaction. Even the ING ATM, using an Aus based ING card, wanted to charge EU5 per transaction.
Yesterday, I used a Macquarie card in a UniCaja Banco ATM, with no bank fee. The conversion on the Macquarie end was within about AUD1 of the XE rate.
Yes, Spanish ATMs are problematic but offset by the wide acceptance of credit / debit cards for day to day stuff.

Last year I used an ING ATM in La Caruna and it was free for both ING and UBank (so possibly free for all at the time?).

I’d be interested to know if UniCaja Bianco ATMs want to charge a fee for your ING card?
 
To my surprise, a lot of places in Japan and Malaysia now take card (may need the physical card) compared to previously....still need cash for some smaller places. In Japan, needed cash to use coin operated laundry machine at hotel and to top up Suica card (not sure if some machines allow topups with card but I didn't see one). In wet markets in Malaysia, and catching the local train in KL, it was cash only. BankWest transaction card allowed ATM fee free cash withdrawal at 7-11 ATM machine in Japan and Maybank in Malaysia...I did not try other machines in either country, though.

I survived 12 hours in Singapore with card only, including catching the MRT!.
 
top up Suica card (not sure if some machines allow topups with card but I didn't see one).

Before my last trip in March, downloaded a virtual Suica to my iPhone wallet and linked it to my Visa.

Can tap on and off in stations etc with the phone, no physical travel card.

When I ran out of credit got a warning message and authorised a top up on the spot.

Takes about 30-60secs for the station gates to recognise you now have sufficient funds and let you through.
 

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