Top Tips for Using Credit Cards in New York City

Owner processing credit card with digital tablet
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Low on cash? Don't worry. Credit cards are widely accepted in New York City. Here's what you should know before you go.  

Credit Card Tips for Tourists

  • Credit cards are a very convenient way to pay for purchases in New York City.
  • You can use credit cards to get cash advances at ATMs, but be aware of the fees that your credit card company may charge for this convenience, as well as the interest rate on cash advances (which normally kicks in immediately).
  • Credit cards often offer travel insurance, rental car insurance coverage, and general coverage on purchases, making them a good choice for added security when traveling out of town. Some cards even offer an extended warranty when you make a purchase using them and can cover loss or theft. Consult your credit card information to find out what services and benefits your card may offer.
  • When credit cards are lost, they can usually be easily replaced. You might want to store your account numbers and the phone numbers from the back of your cards somewhere separately from your wallet so that you have them easily accessible in the event of a problem. Most credit card companies can get you a replacement card locally or can overnight a card to your hotel to minimize the time you are without a card.
  • Some restaurants in New York City will only accept American Express or will accept any credit card EXCEPT American Express. This is normally clearly communicated on menus, but when in doubt, ask.
  • You might be surprised by some of the places in New York City that don't accept credit cards — in addition to small, cheap restaurants, even some expensive places (including Peter Luger's Steakhouse) don't accept credit cards. Typically, these spots make it clear that they don't accept credit cards, and some even have safe ATMs either inside the restaurant or nearby.

Credit Card Tips for International Visitors to NYC

  • Let your credit card company know that you are planning to travel to New York City in advance — this will prevent any surprise suspensions on your credit card for suspicious "far from home" transactions. You can often set up your smartphone to send you alerts when there is a suspicious charge, and it can make it easier to limit the inconvenience and likelihood of having your account frozen while you are traveling.
  • Check with your credit card company to find out what fees there are for foreign transactions. Sometimes even when a card is charged in your home currency, if the charge originates in a foreign country they will charge a currency conversion fee.
  • Some international visitors may find that their debit cards don't work in the United States, but their credit cards do. In this case, it can be a good idea to travel with both credit and debit cards so that you have options should you run into complications.
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