Burma creditcard use

Oct 9th, 2009, 12:00 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Burma creditcard use

Hi
Travelling to Burma in 4 weeks and was wondering if anyone can advise on the acceptance of using a visa or mastercard in Burma. We do not want to carry a large amount of cash and intend to stay in guesthouse type accommodation. Will we be able to use our creditcard at travel agents to book flights and at guesthouse accommodation?. We realise that there are no atms available.
David_robyn is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 01:38 AM
  #2  
 
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Credit cards are generally NOT accepted in Myanmar. Hefty additional fees are charged in the rare instances when they are.
Craig is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 03:56 AM
  #3  
 
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Craig is right. Only the big hotels will sometimes take Visa or MC. Not sure about travel agents. I always pre-arrange my travel before leaving Bangkok for just that reason.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 07:09 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Hi David_robyn,
Yes as above, only the higher end places accept CC and they do tack on a hefty surcharge so it's best just to bring U$ or €, though U$ are used for a number of transactions.
Overall, Burma is quite safe for travelers and it's rare to get reports of muggings or hijackings so if it's 2 or more of you, then split the funds amongst you to carry to ensure that money will be available.
The only concern I would caution on is when exchanging money with the money changers roaming the tourists areas. There have been reports of shorting so you really need to take the time to count the stacks of kyats you'll receive for just U$100 exchanged and recount again before handing over the your notes/money.
PS--traveler's checks are useless there.
seagypsy is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 07:09 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The travel agents I've contacted do not accept credit cards.

Plan as if you will not under any circumstances be able to use a credit card. While there are occasional reports of a very expensive hotel accepting a credit card (at a large premium, say 8-10%) these reports are rare.

I'd suggest you buy the Lonely Planet guide to Burma so you are prepared for your trip.

You will need to take crisp, unblemished US cash. You'll want to exchange some for kyat (perhaps $100) and the rest you'll use to pay for your guesthouses, transport, admissions, etc.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 11:17 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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With respect, Kathy is not 100% correct but her overall asdvice certainly is.

To be pedantic: you will be able to use credit cards [never American Express, I don't know why] at major hotels in Yangon and Bagan. They may tell you otherwise, but, in practice, they'll take the card. DO NOT rely on it. The same goes for emporium type souvenir shops. Buy lacquer in Bagan, you'll be able to use a card.

But on the guesthouse circuit, [does one exist?] trying to do Burma as an independent traveler, making it up as you go - fergeddaboudit. The fact is, there are very few independent travelers in Burma - it just isn't set up that way. Everybody ends up doing EXACTLY the same thing, anyway.

Why do I get the feeling you haven't researched this as all? Not being able to use your card in Burma is kinda Basic Training #1. I'm surprised you missed it.
dogster is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 05:52 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for your quick replies. Found this site when searching on ballooning in Bagan. Don't worry we would not consider travelling without our copy of Lonely Planet however we have found in the past that since publication some things may have changed that's why we were asking about credit card useage. Our Lonely Planet does state only the more expensive hotels and some retailers will accept the cards but we were hoping perhaps that may have changed. We will possibly pre-book some accommodation from Bangkok. We have not been able to find anyone around here where we live that has travelled to Burma to talk to. We have travelled extensively thoughtout asia and have not have any trouble using our cards when needed. I agree about the travellers cheques, and would not consider taking them, we did on our first trip to Vietnam but found they were not needed. Anyway we are looking forward to this trip very much. Thanks again for your comments/tips
David_robyn is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 06:07 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
David,

I see that you're pretty new to Fodors so here are some help on trip reports:

My trip report from the new year period of 2006 - 2007: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...rip-report.cfm

Craig's trip report from February 2007: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...eport-2007.cfm

Try using the search function("Search the Forums") and if you have any further question just post here.
Hanuman is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 08:46 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 32
You can only use credit cards at a handful of 5 star properties in Yangon / Mandalay. No ATMs and travellers cheques are not accepted either. Perfect cash US Dollars are the order of the day.

If you don't want to carry too much cash about pre-book your big expenses such as flights / balloon trip etc ahead with a Yangon agency and pay by bank transfer.
anotherlostsoul is offline  

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