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Paying with Credit Cards in Spanish Stores

Credit cards are a safe, clean way of handling your money in a Spanish-speaking country. Paying with your credit card has many advantages. You don’t have to carry cash, your expenses are registered in your account, and you always have a valid receipt. Problems arise only when you go to a place that doesn’t take credit cards or that doesn’t take the one you have.

Be aware that places that take credit cards are a bit pricier than the ones that don’t. You can eat at restaurants that don’t take credit cards and have excellent food and service for a lot less money.

Banking with your credit card at an ATM in Latin America isn’t very different from the banking you do at home with your bank card. But if you want to get some cash directly from a bank with your credit card, you need to know a little bit of Spanish.

Getting cash with your credit card can take a little while because the bank must check to see whether the money you request is available. If the bank doesn’t have a direct electronic line to your credit card company, it has to phone the company to get authorization. This process takes a bit of time, so be patient. Here are some useful words to have at the ready:

  • server (sehr-bveer) (to serve; to be of service)

  • la tarjeta (lah tahr-Heh-tah) (the card)

  • el recibo (ehl reh-see-bvoh) (the receipt)

  • firmar (feer-mahr) (to sign)

  • la autorización (lah ahoo-toh-ree-sah-seeohn) (the authorization)

  • la ventanilla (lah bvehn-tah-nee-yah) (the little window)

  • la identificación (lah ee-dehn-tee-fee-kah-seeohn) (the identification)

In this dialog, Juan wants to pay for his purchase in a store. Here’s how he finds out whether the store accepts his credit card.

Juan:

¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
ah-sehp-tahn tahr-Heh-tahs deh kreh-dee-toh
Do you take credit cards?

Storekeeper:

Con mucho gusto.
kohn moo-choh goos-toh
With pleasure.

Juan:

Aquí tiene mi tarjeta.
ah-kee teeeh-neh mee tahr-Heh-tah
Here is my card.

Storekeeper:

Un momento, ya vuelvo con su recibo.
oon moh-mehn-toh, yah bvooehl-bvoh kohn soo reh-see-bvoh
One moment, I’m coming back with your receipt.
Firme aquí, por favor.
feer-meh ah-kee, pohr fah-bvohr
Sign here, please.
Aquí tiene su tarjeta y su recibo. Gracias.
ah-kee teeeh-neh soo tahr-Heh-tah ee soo reh-see-bvoh grah-seeahs
Here’s your card and your receipt. Thank you.
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