Serbia is home to monasteries, mountains, raspberries and maybe vampires. The Balkan country is growing as a destination and is cash based compared to other nations in Western Europe. Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted. Point-of-sale machines proliferate and are ubiquitous as are ATMs. Banking in Belgrade, and other large towns, are safe and modern.
ATMs are limited in rural areas as is the ability to use ‘plastic.’ The choice in urban areas is left to the tourist. In the countryside, there isn’t as much choice, but there are little-known options — such as the post office.
Use Traveler’s Checks, Debit Or Credit?
Most merchants accept Visa and Mastercard. Just look for the appropriate symbol during checkout or an ATM. Cash will be needed for smaller purchases as well as away from the major cities. There is a lack of travel cards which support purchasing in Serbian dinars, but such a card can be convenient in the rest of Europe. Look for a card which waives the currency conversion and find debit cards and credit cards on the market which waive the conversion fees as well. Some available options for Serbia even waive international ATM charges.
|Prepaid travel money cards||
|Debit cards for travel||
|Credit cards for travel||
How Cards, Checks And Cash Work
Travel (Prepaid) Cards
The various cards are products which can be used in Serbia as there is no currency conversion fee. The products can be a convenient method to spend your own money internationally with the security of using a card. Some travel cards may cost 3% and others, like American Express Global don’t charge for converting currency.
Depending on the card, there may be a charge when a purchase is made using a travel card, so load the card with funds or when the card has been inactive for over twelve-months. Prepaid cards let you lock in exchange rates in place at the time of funding, but they often don’t charge a competitive exchange rate.
Debit cards ma be used for both ATMs and over-the-counter purchases. Citibank Plus waives the conversion fee for both and waives the international fee. Serbs have been able to make electronic payments for years and cards with a CHIP can make contactless purchases in the country. Limits may vary between nations in Europe. For example, contactless payments can be made up to $20 in Serbia, but a PIN will need to be entered for larger purchases.
Many credit cards waive the fee for spending in a foreign nation. Some, such as the Bankwest Platinum card, waive the ATM withdrawal fee in addition to the conversion fee. Using a credit card for a cash advance can be expensive. There are no interest free days when using a card for cash withdrawals and it is possible to transfer our own funds to one of the available credit cards to avoid interest charges.
You must declare cash —including traveler’s checks — over $10,000 when entering and leaving Serbia. Most currencies can be exchange at many banks and exchange offices. Banks are frequently worse than exchange offices when it comes to rates.
While traveler checks and most cards are accepted in the city, you’ll need cash when shopping for food, clothes or souvenirs. You will also need cash if you’re buying from bakeries, or purchasing cigarettes or alcohol. Gasoline can be purchased with Serbia dinars at gas stations. Filling stations near the borders may take euros, but the exchange rate will not be favorable.
ATMS are a common sight in the cities, but in villages their availability is a problem. If you find yourself in an area without ATMs, the local post office may be able to help with a cash advance.