🇸🇱 Monzo in Sierra Leone


(John) #1

Hi, I’m going to be travelling to Sierra Leone and would ideally like to take and use a Monzo card while I’m there. Will this be possible or not currently?


#2

Do you have one already? If so yes.


(Tom ) #3

From this page, it seems like it could be a little convoluted…

Credit cards are accepted in a few supermarkets, restaurants and hotels (Visa only). The airport duty free shop does take major cards. Some of the other hotels are planning to take cards. It is possible to get money from some banks with a credit card, but the process can be long and rather costly. There are ATMs in Freetown most are not internationally linked. Rokel Commercial Bank has ATMs that accept international Visa cards. As of Nov 2014, there are 4 ATMs in the arrivals area of Lungi airport, all of which seem to accept international debit cards.

https://wikitravel.org/en/Sierra_Leone


#4

The official state tourist board, after pointing out the fact they are one of the poorest countries in the world, say:

Bankcard use in Sierra Leone is very limited. You can now withdraw cash at some ATMs from some banks (Ecobank, Access Bank, UBA, Rokel Bank) and a limited number of POS terminals are being installed at some select businesses. However, the vast majority of transactions are done in cash. When bringing cash, large denominations of the US Dollar are best and it is better to bring 2006 and later series notes. You should definitely avoid 1996 series as they are rejected by most businesses and many banks. All services provided by Visit Sierra Leone can be settled in advance using your credit card through PayPal.


(Sy) #5

A friend visiting there a few years ago said she could not use her Visa card as most ATMs were for domestic cards only as they were not actually connected to international card networks. She tried about a dozen* before giving up. If you have a credit card instead of a debit card it is possible in larger branches of larger banks to get cash from your card if you have a passport matching the name on the card and they ring your card company to get authorization and your bank at that point wish to talk to you too. Costs for this include poor exchange rate and high admin fees, so she seriously suggests taking cash with you when you fly there and not expecting to use your card at all particularly if it needs online authorization of transactions as most POS are offline.

EDIT *ATMs not cards


(Sy) #6

This article about MasterCard in Sierra Leone may be of interest too

http://awoko.org/2014/03/07/sierra-leone-news-mastercard-enters-sierra-leone/

It mentions Ecobank so that may be worth a try

Another article by a local claims tourists with foreign cards are ripped off

http://www.switsalone.com/23782_visa-mastercard-users-charged-30-more-in-sierra-leone-how-the-local-banks-fleece-travelers/