A Guide to Using Foreign Credit and Debit Cards in Samoa
Secure and easy to use, credit and debit cards are popular payment methods when travelling. The peace of mind of having that extra bit of overdraft, should you need it in an emergency, is a major drawcard for using credit cards overseas, while being able to use the same debit card you use at home is also super convenient. There are, however, a few things you need to know about using foreign credit and debit cards in Samoa; the main one is that card payments should not be your main source of payment! Cash is king in Samoa, as explained in What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa?
If you want to use your credit or debit card for at least part of your trip, however, we go over what type of bank cards can be used, where you can use them, and outline the surcharges in this complete guide to using credit and debit cards in Samoa.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Credit and Debit Cards in Samoa
Let’s take a look at the most asked questions about using foreign credit and debit cards in Samoa. You never know, your question might be answered!
Can I Use My Debit Card in Samoa?
Yes, you can use your debit card in Samoa, mostly for resorts, restaurants and shops, as long as it is a Visa or MasterCard (most widely accepted) or American Express, Diners or JCB and has a four-digit PIN encoded. However, debit cards should not be your main form of payment as many businesses in Samoa do not accept card payments. Remember, cash is king!
Can I Use Visa Card in Samoa?
Yes, you can use a Visa card in Samoa but only where cards are accepted, such as in some resorts, restaurants and shops. Visa is one of the most widely accepted cards in Samoa.
Is MasterCard Accepted in Samoa?
Yes, MasterCard is accepted in Samoa but only where cards are accepted, such as in some resorts, restaurants and shops. MasterCard is one of the most widely accepted cards in Samoa.
Can I Use My ANZ Card in Samoa?
As long as your ANZ card is an ANZ Visa card, you can use it where cards are accepted in Samoa.
Now to the details…
Which Credit and Debit Cards are Accepted in Samoa?
Certain types of credit and debit cards are accepted in Samoa, including major brands, as long as there is a four-digit PIN encoded.
Bank cards that are the most accepted in Samoa include:
Fewer outlets and ATMs also accept:
- American Express
- Plus Card
However, there are some credit card brands that will not be accepted in Samoa. Avoid using credit cards from the following brands:
Where Can You Use Credit and Debit Cards in Samoa?
Where You Can’t Use Cards to Pay in Samoa
Some places where credit and debit cards are not accepted include paying for natural attractions like beaches and waterfalls, when taking the bus, refuelling your vehicle at a gas station, at the markets, and at small-scale tourism businesses like some beach fales and tour guides. In short, it’s always a good idea to have the cash available to pay your way through your holiday.
ATMs in Samoa
There are very few ATMs outside of Apia on Upolu, while Savai’i’s ATMs are limited outside of Salelologa and Fagamalo. See ATM locations in our guide, Information, Shops & Services in Samoa. All ATMs accept international Visa and MasterCard and dispense money in the Samoan Tala currency.
Credit Card Charges in Samoa
Seasoned travellers will know that the bank issuing your credit or debit card often has a fee for a “foreign currency service” or something similar each time you make a transaction overseas. Check with your bank what the percentage is for using your credit card in Samoa. It’s usually a fee of 1-3% of the transaction in your home currency. This fee is also usually applied when using an ATM in Samoa.
Another credit card fee you may experience in Samoa is a surcharge implemented by local businesses. Many businesses in Samoa apply a foreign credit or debit card fee of 3-5% on each transaction. For example, car rental companies in Samoa charge as much as 5% for paying by credit card or even an extra ST$5 per day of rental – see the 10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa for more information.
Additionally, a withdrawal fee is applied when using an overseas bank card at an ATM in Samoa. The fee is can be anywhere between ST$5-$16 per withdrawal, so it’s best to withdraw as much cash as you’re comfortable carrying.
Because of the additional fees applied to foreign card transactions, we recommend using other payment methods to pay your way around Samoa. Find out more in What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa?
More About Using Debit and Credit Cards in Samoa
That’s it for our guide to credit and debit cards in Samoa but is by no means the end of our advice! Check out the following guides for more advice on ways to pay:
- What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa?
- The Best Place to Exchange Money in Samoa
- 20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa
Finally, get more essential tips for your trip to Samoa using the 30 Tips for Travelling in Samoa.