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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 8 Aug 2008
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What hard currency for Ghana?



I will be driving down through west Africa in November and will take Euros to use in the french speaking countries as well as using a visa debit where possible. Have decided against taking travellers cheques for these countries, but as we want to stay in Ghana for a couple of months we would appreciate any advice regarding what hard currency would be more readily accepted in Ghana and if getting local currency using a visa debit through ATM's and banks is feasible or not. Also has anyone visited Ghana recently and had any problems changing travellers cheques if so what currency were they in. Any info greatfully appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 8 Aug 2008
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Not sure about Ghana, since I haven't been there. But in the other West African countries I visited, banks and hotels will look at you like you're stupid, if you present them with a travelers cheque. If you do find a bank that is willing to change it, the rate is going to be horrible.

To be honest, I think you will be far better off with just your visa card and/or whatever euros you feel comfortable carrying around. But as I said, I don't know about Ghana specificaly, so I might be wrong there.

My $0.02
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  #3  
Old 9 Aug 2008
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I carry a card for emergencies so can't comment as I've never used it ... but carry euros around with me for the trip .. which weren't a problem to change in Ghana. I did meet a guy from the UK in Ghana that had some sort of debit card that wouldn't work in the banks in Takoradi, I think a credit card (visa/mastercard etc) would be far better.

I've not travelled with TCheques for years & certainly in France they're a big problem ... wouldn't dream of taking any with me these days.

My 0.02c worth!!

Kira
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  #4  
Old 9 Aug 2008
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We just drove thrue Ghana one month ago and we changed dollars on the black market, euros in a bank, we used our Visa card in several banks and even our normal Dutch bank card (Cirrus) we could use in the Stanbic Bank. About traveller cheques i dont know, but i dont think you will need them because there are a lot of other options.
Greetings Anne and Reinier
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  #5  
Old 9 Aug 2008
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Thanks to all...

Many thanks for everyones assistance, its a long time since we have been in west Africa and Ghana in particular (about 16 years) so i am expecting a lot of changes. Cant wait to get going.

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  #6  
Old 12 Aug 2008
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Mastercard can be a hassle in Ghana

Visa is accepted at ATMs all over Ghana but be aware that Mastercard is not accepted at any ATMs around the country.

To take a cash advance on Mastercard you will need to visit the head office of Barclays (possibly Standard will do the same as well) in Accra and get cash over the counter.

Pounds can also be changed readily at the banks / forex bureaus, but it doesnt make much sense bringing pounds if you are travelling overland. Far easier just to carry euros for all the francophone countries.

cheers
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  #7  
Old 12 Aug 2008
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Mastercard.

Matt, very helpfull point regarding Mastercard as one of us would have been relying on it. Now we can make other arrangements, Thanks for that.

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  #8  
Old 18 Aug 2008
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Cards and Cash in West Africa

I passed through most of West Africa in early 08. I was using my UK Visa debit card in ATM's pretty much everywhere. The only exceptions were Mauritania and Nigeria. There are ATM's in both of these countries but none of them seemed to work. Cash (euros, dollars or pounds) is a necessity here but in most other countries in West Africa cash machines are present in almost all cities. This covered (Morocco [DIRHAM], Gambia [DALASI], Senegal [CFA], Mali [CFA], Burkina Faso [CFA], Ghana [CEDI], Togo [CFA] and Benin [CFA]). BNP Parisbas ATM's and Societe Generale seemed always to work in the French speaking west African countries while Ecobank was the only one which appeared to work in Gambia.
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  #9  
Old 19 Aug 2008
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ATM in Mauritania has been working for a few months

Just to update - the Soc Gen ATM in Nouakchott, Mauritania started working a few months ago. It takes visa only.
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  #10  
Old 19 Aug 2008
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All info greatfully received. Thanks guys.
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  #11  
Old 19 Aug 2008
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I used visa in west africa. in togo a machine in the Soc Gen wall just said 'error' when I tried to get cash from it (after the PIN, and after the 'select amount'). I tried three times in three days. Then went into the bank (as I was running out of cash, and it was open) and got some over the counter.

A few days later I found out that the bank had charged my credit card each time. So back into the Soc Gen, and they just laughed at my 'error' slips from the machine and said it was down to my own bank to refund me.

my own credit card company (Egg) said they would need to see the original machine slips with 'error' printed on them and the date, location, etc. They also had a 6 month limit on when you can have false transactions overturned, I wasn't due back for 9 months. I was unable to post the slips back, they would never had got there.

A €1000 lesson! Fortunately I had capped my spending 'ability' on the card to £1000, which I would recommend. I could up the limit on-line if needed, but it's a good way of limiting your losses. It was the 'payment declined' that alerted me to the bad transactions.
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  #12  
Old 19 Aug 2008
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Over the counter.

Dougie, sorry about your experience in Togo. You feel so helpless at such times and it certainly makes you appreciate how the banking system works back home. I can imagine how you must have felt.
Having never tried to obtain money by taking my card into a bank in Africa, what was the procedure when you did it. Did the card go out of your sight at any time? (always a worry).
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  #13  
Old 19 Aug 2008
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my consolation was steak and chips plus a bottle of red, at the little french hotel near the togo/ghana border, every cloud and all that... :-)

just one of those things. Far, far, out-weighed by the good stuff.

yeah, it's easy over the counter. Can't remember exactly the process, but essentially the same as here plus your passport. I wouldn't worry too much about letting the card out of your sight, just do the normal precautions. It's not worth stressing about. Let's face it, plenty of people in the UK get done over with their cards (and now number plates!)
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  #14  
Old 19 Aug 2008
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Red face Ghana currency

He DustBin,

Ghana is pretty well provided with ATM's where you can use the Cirrus debit cards but there is a catch! The value of Ghana currency is so low that the value of the biggest stack that fits through the slot of the machine is about 80 Euro, that was in early 2006. It don't think that will be very different now possibly worse. Counting the cost for each withdrawal of round and about 8 or 10 Euro, its pretty expensive getting money from the ATM. So you will be better of changing cash Euro's !


Cheers,

Noel
exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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  #15  
Old 20 Aug 2008
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The nightmare in Ghana now is if you weren't used to the old currency then the prices are very confusing! Everything is still quoted in thousands still!

Kira
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