Cash or Card? Countries where you still need cash.

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!.
The silliest thing about Japan and cards is they still need you to have signed the back of your card and make you do it in front of them if it's not.

Almost as if they didn't understand why that was a thing in the first place. If i was using a stolen card, then the signature would obviously match up if i sign the back of the card right then and there.
 
What's the situation in South Africa? I assume, without knowing, that cash is still needed. Do all the ATMs in partic the ones at Jnb airport, charge a fee? And how much is the fee and what is the maximum cash withdrawal? Thanks
 
Reading all the FB forums it seems cash is king in Japan with many smaller shops.

I had 10 days there recently. Note I based in Tokyo and took day trips to places within 3 hours by train or bus.

I loaded my Suica card electronically to the iPhone wallet and topped it up with a direct link to my Visa.

I used an eSim to access data & Whatsapp while there that worked fine (I didn't need SMS or Phone)

The local 7/11, Family marts, Watsons, department stores etc are all credit card.

All the restaurants, coffee shops, sushi shops I used accepted CC except a couple small <10 seater type places.

I had a couple massages - CC.

In the airport outlets, cafes etc all CC

Some small shops street vendors might want cash if you buying a snack or drink while wandering around.

In the end I was using the cash that I exchanged before I travelled in places that would take CC or cash just to use it up.
 
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I had 10 days there recently. Note I based in Tokyo and took day trips to places within 3 hours by train or bus.

I loaded my Suica card electronically to the iPhone wallet and topped it up with a direct link to my Visa.

I used an eSim to access data & Whatsapp while there that worked fine (I didn't need SMS or Phone)

The local 7/11, Family marts, Watsons, department stores etc are all credit card.

All the restaurants, coffee shops, sushi shops I used accepted CC except a couple small <10 seater type places.

I had a couple massages - CC.

In the airport outlets, cafes etc all CC

Some small shops street vendors might want cash if you buying a snack or drink while wandering around.

In the end I was using the cash that I exchanged before I travelled in places that would take CC or cash just to use it up.
Yes, I've got the suica card on both phones and hope to use that. Maybe the cash places are off piste😂
 
What's the situation in South Africa? I assume, without knowing, that cash is still needed. Do all the ATMs in partic the ones at Jnb airport, charge a fee? And how much is the fee and what is the maximum cash withdrawal? Thanks
I've just been in South Africa, used card everywhere. Didn't take any cash out so can't comment on the ATM fees.
 
The silliest thing about Japan and cards is they still need you to have signed the back of your card and make you do it in front of them if it's not.

Almost as if they didn't understand why that was a thing in the first place. If i was using a stolen card, then the signature would obviously match up if i sign the back of the card right then and there.
Not had that experience or problem in many trips there!

Can pretty much get away without cash in Japan now in many larger areas. Still wouldn’t want to be caught without some cash there, however.

On the Cuba front, Bankwest credit and debit cards work at atms and shops last time I was there (2017) and CAD was fine to change, no issues with it over others. Didn’t know they’d dropped the 10% penalty for USD but also didn’t try local/non official changers.
 
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.

I was in Cuba back in Feb. Cash (preferably USD, EUR or GBP) is king. If not priced in Cuban pesos, things are priced in USD with change given in CUP.

I couldn't even access my banking apps in Cuba - they were blocked. Even if you could use credit card or ATM, don't bother because the official rate back then was around 120 CUP to 1 USD vs 250-300 CUP on the street.
 
Another query folks - Mexico.

We are on an organised tour, so hotels, transport, breakfast, entrance fees are all covered.

Do I need to take a lot of cash with me for meals and incidentals or will the CC be accepted most restaurants etc.
Post automatically merged:

I was in Cuba back in Feb. Cash (preferably USD, EUR or GBP) is king. If not priced in Cuban pesos, things are priced in USD with change given in CUP.

I couldn't even access my banking apps in Cuba - they were blocked. Even if you could use credit card or ATM, don't bother because the official rate back then was around 120 CUP to 1 USD vs 250-300 CUP on the street.

Thankyou - confirms the info given
 
What's the situation in South Africa? I assume, without knowing, that cash is still needed. Do all the ATMs in partic the ones at Jnb airport, charge a fee? And how much is the fee and what is the maximum cash withdrawal? Thanks
I previously posted upthread about SA. I used an ATM in CPT, a fee was charged, but I can't recall the amount.
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.
 
What's the situation in South Africa? I assume, without knowing, that cash is still needed. Do all the ATMs in partic the ones at Jnb airport, charge a fee? And how much is the fee and what is the maximum cash withdrawal? Thanks
From googling and reading other online forums, it seems all ATMs in Sth Africa charge between 50-75 Rand per withdrawal and the maximum varies from 3000- 5000 Rand with the former more likely. Happy for this to be confirmed either way. I know card is widely used now in SA but my tour company wants Rand cash :( I'm also going to Namibia after where I believe I can also use Rand cash.
 
From googling and reading other online forums, it seems all ATMs in Sth Africa charge between 50-75 Rand per withdrawal and the maximum varies from 3000- 5000 Rand with the former more likely. Happy for this to be confirmed either way. I know card is widely used now in SA but my tour company wants Rand cash :( I'm also going to Namibia after where I believe I can also use Rand cash.
We were in Sth Africa and Namibia in 2017 and the Rand and Namibian Dollar were interchangable; still are I believe. They are tied together on a one to one basis. If fact, I made a withdrawal from an ATM in Namibia and it spat out Sth African Rand!
 
We were in Sth Africa and Namibia in 2017 and the Rand and Namibian Dollar were interchangable; still are I believe. They are tied together on a one to one basis. If fact, I made a withdrawal from an ATM in Namibia and it spat out Sth African Rand!
It's the same in Eswatini too.
 
Guyana is cash only except for big hotels in Georgetown and some tour operators serving jungle lodges. I used Wise for ATM, only 30k GYD at a time max withdrawal fees all up 1800 GYD per withdrawal.

Peru ATMs best I can find is 700 PEN max withdrawal with fees all up 53 PEN per withdrawal. At least Apple Pay and cards are widely accepted in Peru. Need cash for public transport, taxis, small shops, craftspeople selling wares.
 
Not had that experience or problem in many trips there!

Can pretty much get away without cash in Japan now in many larger areas. Still wouldn’t want to be caught without some cash there, however.

On the Cuba front, Bankwest credit and debit cards work at atms and shops last time I was there (2017) and CAD was fine to change, no issues with it over others. Didn’t know they’d dropped the 10% penalty for USD but also didn’t try local/non official changers.
We certainly needed cash during a recent three week spell in Japan: Small vendors, restaurants off the main drag, tipping (yes, I know, not generally done - but we were using private guides and drivers, and that was definitely part of the deal), for instance.

Also had the “Sign the back of the CC experience” at least once. 🤣
 
Peru ATMs best I can find is 700 PEN max withdrawal with fees all up 53 PEN per withdrawal. At least Apple Pay and cards are widely accepted in Peru. Need cash for public transport, taxis, small shops, craftspeople selling wares.
A few years ago now but I found the casino in Lima had an ATM with no fee and there was no problelm withdrawing a reasonable amount of cash.
 

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