Using abroad - credit or debit?

(Jaz) #1

Hi All,

Just wondering, going to NY, and i remember when i went to Barcelona some places =/cash points asked if it was a debit or credit card, but i can’t remember which one you’re supposed to select? Will be in USA if that also changes anything :slight_smile:

Pay at Pump Fuel

Should be checking account


Checking rather than Credit in US
Savings rather than Credit in Australia


Conversely when I was in Egypt all ATMs I visited offered 3 choices: Credit Card, Savings Account, Checking Account. I first tried checking account, but was declined. Credit Card worked for me (I didn’t try the savings account option that was also offered, as I didn’t feel it’d make any sense).

It seems to me that a bit of trial and error is needed in some countries? Would love to have some more general info on this!

(Colin Robinson) #5

Could be added to each of the Wiki entries by those who know?


True. But what I meant was more a bit general stuff: Why the difference? what are the differences between the various options? Out of my own personal curiosity more than anything else :wink:


It maybe the Credit Card works with the prepaid card but Checking Account works with the new debit card due to their different card types

(Tom ) #8

Hey - Marta has done a really detailed guide on exactly this subject. Check it out here:

(Ashley) #9

Hi Jaz,

I saw this from Naji a while ago, not sure if this is still correct… Travelling with Monzo: The Americas :slight_smile:


Quoting myself, and reviving an old thread, I know …

But, it looks like someone finally shed some light on this, and I thought if someone ever come across this, and is interested:

Super interesting!

(Allie) #11

Thanks. I’ll add a few more details. One, this is for the US. Different markets may have other local standards. As a general rule though ‘credit’ should always be a safe choice for point of sale terminals.

For ATMs, it’s different though - you should never get that prompting. In some countries you may get something along the lines of ‘checking/savings’? This is for situations where one ATM card is tied to two accounts. ‘Checking’ is simply another word for current account, so that should be the safe choice - but nothing in payments is ever necessarily that simple. Some trial and error may be required!


Would be great if you could contributte here with the info;

(Allie) #13

I intend to. I just need to write things up a bit more concisely and less technical.


Every shop in Colombia asked if it was a credit or debit card (credito o ahoro) and I said debit every time and it worked fine.

Any idea why the official Monzo advice is to tell shops it’s a credit card?


Because in most countries like USA and Canada the Debit and Credit options do not really mean Debit and Credit but route over the local domestic Debit card network or route over the international networks run by the big Credit card brands. In some countries the systems interconnect so a transaction won’t fail if you press the wring button, but in others the transaction will fail. Although it is not normally a problem as you just try the transaction again and press the other button.


So if I always just choose “credit”, it won’t cause any harm?

(Allie) #17

None at all. Credit is the most likely option to work in the most countries.