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ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

Victoria, Canada
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ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

What is the best way to get money exchanged in these countries? Are there bank machines readily available? Traveller chqs? Get advances from a credit card?

Tilbury, United...
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1. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

I can answer for Rwanda. There are fours ATM's in Kigala which accept international Visa cards - Debit or Credit (not Mastercard or Amex or anything else). Three in the centre of town and one at the airport. Otherwise it's a bit of a drawn out process in the bank.

There are plenty of forex to exchange cash. They can be a bit funny about USD. The larger the note the better the exchage rate. If the note is older than 2003 (I think) the exchange rate reduces considerably.

If I change cash I use GBP or euro and have no problems at all but my most used method of getting cash is the ATM. There is a charge but the exchange rate is also much better than the forex so it actually works out better value.

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St. John
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2. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

Visa and Mastercard advances at Access Bank in Kigali, Musanze (Ruhengeri), Rubavu (Gisenyi) and Cyangugu. Apparently they will have ATMs that do Amex as well before the end of July but dont hold your breath on that)

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

I would never ever use a Credit Card in Africa. The spiritual home of Identity theft. Use your standard ATM Card by all means but take care.

I usually just carry cash and change at Forex. I have never experienced the 'better' rate that Trooper mentions with an ATM.

With US$ notes do be aware that only "large Head" notes post 2004 are usually accepted.

St. John
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4. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

@mfuwe: Its odd that you say that, but I travel a lot between and within 10 countries in East, West and Central Africa (100,000+ airmiles a year) as well as Europe and the US and I have never had a problem with fraud on my credit card. I have had my cards cloned a total of six times. Four times, the cloner (?) has been caught and each time, its been in a supposedly "civilized" country where such things never happen (UK, EU and US). So based on personal experience, I take exception to the "spiritual home of identity theft" statement.

Which is not to say travellers to and in Africa should not be careful. Large amounts of cash are generally not a good idea, and as a guide, large is anything above $250 equivalent - consider the average incomes around Africa. Generally, banks are licensed and forex bureaus are not. find banks that provide visa/mastercard service and you're generally in great shape.

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

Well there you go. Good luck or Good management?

Cases only this week of a rapid clone from Zanzibar, via a reputable outlet.

I know of cases where swiping for car hire in one African country set off a spending spree in another and many simlar incidents.

I can only repeat my own expereince and advise caution. And if "Africa" is not the spiritual home of Credit Card Fraud and cloning I will eat my hat if not my words.

On the opposite side of the coin, I have, and still do, carry large sums of folding cash and T/Chqs on my person and never a problem with the sole exception of one evening I got careless and it cost me $200 to as clever thief. Worth every cent as I learn fast.

Tilbury, United...
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6. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

I go to an ATM nearly every week for the last eight months in Kigali and as yet (touch wood) have never had a problem. Every week I get a better rate using my UK VISA debit card compared with the numerous forex down the road,

I think calling Africa the spiritual home of identity theft is a bit of a sweeping statement. Yes a lot of identity theft is committed by Africans but mostly West Africans. During my 30 years as a London police officer and crime analyst I also know that equal amounts are committed by Asians, Arabs and South Americans, and possibly more by Eastern Europeans.

Against this you also need to examine the percentage of users who become victims. Not many I would suggest as a percentage of the whole.

I firmly believe that using an ATM in Kigali is no more risk than anywhere else in the world and a lot less risk than some places, particularly in Europe.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

Trooper. I think you will see in post #3 that I said there is no problem I recall with using ATMs. I warned about Credit Cards not Debit Cards.

Yes, I agree it is easy to generalise but my expereince in the last 20 years is that I would never use my Credit Card in Africa. I suggest I am not alone.

Try posting this question on Tanzania forum and judge by the response.

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Tilbury, United...
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8. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

I've worked in Tanzania as well so am more than aware of the issues that exist there.

My point remains, I would like to know the number of victims as a percentage of the whole before making a statement. I would still be surprised if you were more exposed to identity theft in any part of Africa compared with the UK. What impresses me about the ATM's in Kigali is the measures taken to prevent techniques designed to capture card and pin number information which are so prevelant in the UK.

My concern is that Africa is being judged by a reputation which, if the facts were properly established, was no worse (or better) than the rest of the world.

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Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

trooper.

You are talking ATM use and I am warning on Credit Card use. Two different things.

Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: ABM's in Rwanda and Tanzania?

Here is what an expert has written only today.

""As you can see from the poster concerning credit cards in Tanzania, the short answer to your question is - it is not safe to use your credit card in Tanzania, you will have some credit card company protection; but is the grief worth it? This is not an uncommon occurrence. You may be lucky and get away with it, and you may not but the risk is in favor of you being unlucky.""

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