Brasilia - Post Report Question and Answers

Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes, pretty much everywhere. We use our US cards for the past two years everywhere and without one incident/problem - Oct 2021

Credit cards are VERY widely accepted. Certain ATMs are recommended. - May 2020

Credit cards can be used in most places. Never let the card out of your sight though. If you're at a restaurant, they will bring the card reader to you at the table. Be careful at ATMs. If it looks shady, it probably is. I use the one at the U.S. embassy, or in a bank or airport. - May 2017

Yes, credit cards are used most everywhere; restaurants, grocery stores, etc. sometimes are low on change. We tend to use the ATM at the embassy, so we have little experience using them elsewhere in the city. - May 2017

Yes, make sure you tell your credit card company so it isn't rejected. If you use your debit card, do it as "credito," not "debito." Use the same precautions as you would anywhere. For ATMs, use only machines that are Citibank or at the embassy. - Mar 2017

We use them everywhere and "skimmers" are everywhere. Even the ATM at the U.S. embassy has had issues. Always make them bring the machine to the table, and always watch both hands to make sure there is no hanky-panky and know that you will be copied a few times. Make sure your bank is a good one. We have the app that texts us every purchase and our banks are on it. - May 2016

We use credit cards at the super markets. ATM at the embassy only. - Aug 2015

Try to get a credit card with a chip. If you use the credit card that just swipes, it's easier to clone and doesn't always work. We've had our credit cards compromised three different times in less than 6 months until we switched to a chip card. ATMs - only use the ones in an an actual bank branch (usually behind glass doors with plenty of cameras). In Brasilia, I've only used the ATM inside our Embassy's compound. - Aug 2015

I use a credit card with a chip all the time. Watch out for skimmers at ATMs. The Embassy has an ATM, but it is frequently out of money or (more rarely) doesn't give you money and the bank at the Embassy tells you to work it out with your own bank. - Aug 2015

Cloning of credit cards is pretty common. One must take care with your cards and check accounts often. Using cash is safer but you may not wish to carry too much cash. Some ATMs do not work well with American ATM cards. Using machines inside of banks or in more secure areas is always best. - Jun 2014

They are available at all banks and at gas stations and grocery stores that have machines that accept cards from multiple banks (machines called "Banco 24 horas"). You'll incur fees if you're not at your bank, and beware of credit card readers installed on the machine or thieves waiting to mug you on your way out. Just like in any big city anywhere in the world. - Sep 2012

We don't use ATMs, and try to use cash only. Occasionally we use debit cards at certain grocery stores. - Dec 2011

They will ding you on the foreign transfer charges, but that is worldwide. There is a Citibank at the embassy. Consider getting an account there. - Aug 2011

You can use credit cards and ATMs at most retailers. - Dec 2009

I was always scared and on alert when I used an ATM, but nothing ever happened to me. Several colleagues at the embassy had credit and/or debit cards cloned while we were there, though. - Nov 2009

Okay in Brasilia. - Jun 2009

Works well. - Aug 2008

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