Paper money started in China and is still one of the most popular payment methods in Macau. If you want to use a credit card, you should inquire about acceptance in good time before the start of your trip and, if necessary, know alternative payment methods.
Credit card acceptance in Macau
Despite future-oriented economic growth, the Chinese mainly rely on cash payments. Nevertheless , credit cards are on the rise in Macau , although they have not yet become established. As a rule, you can pay your bills with a credit card in large shops such as shopping centers, international hotel complexes and restaurants in the city center. As in Europe, the credit card payment is marked by corresponding provider logos at the entrance or in the checkout area. In Macau you should definitely pay attention to these signs and, if necessary, ask for acceptance as a precaution, especially if you do not have enough or too little cash with you, because the credit card logo does not always say that the system also works and that debits can be made. This primarily concerns payment with debit or prepaid credit cards.
In exclusive hotels, hotel consumption and other costs such as massages or telephone charges or the like are common. to “write down” on the room number. For this purpose, a voucher is created with your credit card at check-in, in which the amount to be debited is only entered at check-out, but must still be signed. A prepaid credit card is not accepted in Macau for this method.
Credit cards outside the city center are becoming less and less accepted as the distance to the center increases. If you are going on excursions to rural areas, you should definitely carry cash with you.
Some banks in Macau have ATMs where you can use your pin to withdraw money at any time of the day or night. Cash withdrawal by credit card by presenting your passport is carried out in banks. Please note at the ATMs that they usually have a daily limit that, depending on the exchange rate, is around 360 USD. You can choose between the currencies Hong Kong Dollar and Macau-Pataca, which not every casino accepts.
Credit card providers and their distribution in Macau
Basically, Visa in Macau has become the most accepted credit card provider to date. MasterCard is less accepted in Macau than Visa. A few upscale commercial businesses in the city center also accept Amex. Money machines that accept Visa and MasterCard withdrawals usually accept Amex as well.
When choosing the optimal credit card for your trip to Macau, the fees should also be taken into account. The issuing bank can charge up to 5 percent or even more of the booking amount. There are also fees charged by local banks for cash withdrawals from ATMs, which can again be between 1% and 1.5% or the equivalent of at least up to 5 USD.
The People’s Republic itself launched a credit card a few years ago, the China Union Pay. In terms of fees and acceptance, however, it is not significantly more advantageous and is only useful within the Republic.
Additional services that are offered depending on the provider of Visa, MasterCard or Amex are also worth mentioning. These can range from international health or car insurance to VIP lounge access in airports to bonus services for air miles. For new applications, welcome credits between 20 and 100 USD are not uncommon.
Useful alternative means of payment for Macau
In general, you should not rely solely on a credit card, but always take cash in the local currency with you. US $ and USD are recognized primarily in Macau’s game havens, but a poor exchange rate is usually offered here. Macau-Pataca and the Hong Kong dollar can be imported without restrictions. For other Chinese currencies such as the renminbi, import limits must be observed.
Classic Cream bank cards are often accepted in Macau for cash collection from ATMs. Here you have to pay attention to the symbols of Cirrus or Maestro. However, these are not to be used in shops.
Travelers checks can be exchanged in banks, in authorized exchange offices and in numerous hotels. It is only important that the travelers checks are issued in USD or US $. A 1% fee is common.
If a situation arises where you have to withdraw money from Europe, then bank transfer is a good option. The Agree bank requests the amount requested by fax from the house bank in Europe, which is then usually available within two bank working days for payment at the current exchange rate or in travelers checks. A fee of the equivalent of 10 USD will be charged.
Money transfer to Macau via Western Union or is quicker and easier. The transfer amount can be paid online in Germany or to the recipient’s name at Postbank. With a valid passport and a transfer code, which the sender receives when making the deposit and must pass it on to the recipient, the cash can be picked up at a Western Union branch or a bank with service in Macau just a few minutes later.