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Do foreign credit cards work in Colombia?

Using my foreign credit cards in Colombia has been a practice in patience. It is an experience perhaps best explained with this photograph I took at a Jumbo grocery store in Medellin’s Santa Fe Mall: 

Four credit card terminals at a grocery store in Medellin, Colombia

That’s four credit card payment terminals. There were three already affixed to the checkout counter. A manager brought over the fourth when the first three didn’t work. I specifically went to this grocery store because my credit card had worked there the day before after trying only two machines. On this day, no luck. Fortunately, I knew to bring cash, because this had happened before. 

But also, on the topic of getting cash out of ATMs in Colombia, make sure you read this post, too: What I did when an ATM in Colombia ate my money

What grocery stores do foreign credit cards work at in Colombia?

In general, I always had good luck at the Éxito chain of grocery stores. There was only one time at an Éxito where my cards didn’t work. 

I asked my bank about this (twice) and they assured me it had nothing to do with them. 

So be prepared with cash when you go shopping in Colombia. Even if your credit card worked at a store one day, that doesn’t mean it’ll work there the next day. 

And if you stop by the Éxito WOW in Envigado, appreciate their fruit game. That produce department creates fine art:

Fruits neatly stacked in the produce section at the Exito WOW in Envigado, Colombia
Envigado is a suburb of Medellin. It's a great place to live, not just because of the gravity-defying fruit displays in the Éxito WOW grocery store.

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  1. Pingback: My best coffee shops in Laureles, Medellin • The Mindful Field Guide

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