Credit cards in Ecuador are not as commonly accepted as the United States and most other countries. Ecuador is still a largely cash society, but there are exceptions.
When you take a taxi, shop in small mom and pop tiendas, or eat at local restaurants, you’ll find that cash is king and most do not accept credit cards. Government offices often do not accept credit cards, either.
When you make reservations online, shop at a mall or at large chain stores like Supermaxi or Tía, or eat at chain restaurants, you’ll be able to pay with a credit card.
While some smaller businesses will accept credit cards, they may charge an extra 8% to 10% processing fee.
You won’t be able to get a credit card in Ecuador until you’ve lived in the country for awhile and have established a good credit history, so you’ll need to bring a credit card with you.
When you’re considering which credit card to bring to Ecuador, the main consideration is to have a card that does NOT charge international transaction fees, such as Capital One, Chase Sapphire, Discover, etc.
Once you open a savings account at a coop like JEP or a bank like Banco Guayaquil, you’ll get a debit card that you can use wherever credit cards are accepted.
You can also use foreign debit cards from banks in the US, but you may need to pay additional transaction fees. We recommend the Charles Schwab checking account that comes with a debit/ATM card since they refund all ATM fees.
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