Hi, my name is Eva, welcome to my travel blog.
I travel since I was a kid but seriously started to discover other continents and more countries in 2006, first in Europe, then in Central America and Africa.
Currently I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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'Credit Or Debit?' Or Rio By Card

2 May 2019

Shortly before leaving this time for Brazil I discovered a cool digital bank Monzo and set up an account. The advantage of it is that they don't rip of in currency exchange and allow withdrawal abroad for free for the amount of up to £200 so I don't loose money for simple banking services. If you have to live off your savings every penny matters.

I got a brand new chip & pin Mastercard Debit card by post and headed for my Rio adventure. Previous time in Brazil I used my traditional bank debit card, and even though it ws also a debit card it soon were to prove that it made a difference.

First thing I couldn't understand was why they kept asking me in shops: "Credit or debit?". I never heard such a question anywhere in the world not to mention in England. So I obviously were saying: "Debit". But it wasn't that obvious as one might think. It turned out that even though the card was debit all card readers in Rio detected it as credit card. You wonder why? Yes, me too I still wonder. I can only guess that it's because it is a foreign card because other debit cards I had (issued in the UK) didn't work either, no matter the bank.

Card payment denied

Next it turned out that some shops don't accept credit cards so I can't use it there. It means I need to withdraw my limited free amount each month to pay by cash or do shopping by card somewhere else. Thing to note here is that supermarkets that accept cards are usually more expensive. For example Mundial supermarket does not accept credit cards while Extra does accept but is way more expensive.

I had to carry some cash anyway for street food, weekly markets and small purchases so went to a bank to withdraw money. I tried Itau, Caixa, Banco do Brasil, Santander in vain. I thought it's just one branch but all their ATMs refuse to accept my card. Finally managed to make a withdrawal in Bradesco so yes, this is my number one bank in Brazil! And also taking out money there is free of charge.

The positive thing is that lots of street sellers or open air market vendors accept cards. Sometimes they ask a bit more that cash price but the difference is minor.

Despite the problems I got used to it and am managing with mixed card and cash payments without exceeeding the monthly free withdrawal limit. My troublesome card is in strking bright orange and I already made several shop assistants happy as they liked unusual design and colour :)

Update (5 June)

Unfortunately suddenly (about one month ago) the card stopped woking with getnet card readers and because most of markets and shops I like use them I am left stuck with paying by cash which makes me withdraw more from ATM. That obviously impacts my monthly withdrawal fee-free limit. Not the best thing I'd say...