Let us tell you straight up: Guam may be a luxury shopping hotspot in this part of the world, but credit card acceptance is not at the level that people from the US mainland might be used to. That said, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted all over the island. To be safe, you just might need to bring a little more cash than you’re used to.
Fortunately, ATMs can be found all over Guam, which means having cash on hand won’t be a problem either. In any case, here are some tips for using credit cards in Guam.
1. Use Only Cards Connected to Major Credit Card Companies
Visa and MasterCard rule the roost when it comes to credit card acceptance in Guam. American Express is accepted in a lot of places but not to the extent the two other major credit card companies are. You may want to avoid bringing other cards that aren’t from these major companies as they are likely to be not recognized or carry huge fees for their use.
2. Consider Bringing Along One or Two Debit Cards
Debit cards are likewise starting to become popular on the island, but all the same, we advise only bringing cards that are connected to the major credit card companies. Debit cards are not as widely used in Guam as credit cards, but the ones connected to the major credit card service providers we mentioned should be usable at any point-of-sale system that accepts credit cards.
3. Be Prepared to Spend More Than Usual
Guam is in a relatively remote part of Micronesia in the Eastern Pacific. This remoteness raises the price of goods, salaries, and services relative to what they would be stateside. While some things, such as luxury goods, are cheaper in Guam, many everyday items can be significantly more expensive. This means you might end up with a nasty surprise on your next credit card bill if you aren’t careful. If you want to control your spending a bit more, try to use cash or debit cards instead.
4. Check Storefronts to See If They Accept Credit Cards
Stores that accept credit cards will normally have a sign or window sticker upfront that indicates this. Checking for these card acceptance signs can save you quite a lot of time.
If a store doesn’t have a sign, it couldn’t hurt to ask the cashier before you make a purchase. Guamanians are among the warmest and friendliest people you will ever meet, and they’re sure to answering any questions visitors might have They will gladly point you toward a nearby bank or ATM should you need it.
5. Look at Travel Credit Cards
Some airline companies have travel credit cards, which they usually offer in partnership with the big credit card companies. These cards typically allow you to enjoy perks related to air travel and hotel accommodations. If you’re planning to stay in Guam for less than a couple of months, it’s usually worth your time to look into travel credit cards offered by different airlines, as they can allow you to save money on hotels, air fare, and car rentals (pretty important in Guam). They may and even give you access to airport lounges and allow you priority boarding in some cases.
6. Beware of Card Skimmers
Card skimming is not unknown in Guam. If you’re concerned about this, you should avoid using point-of-sale systems or card machines that look damaged or feel strange in any way. Likewise, you should avoid using debit cards in ATMs placed in areas with low foot traffic and are logically more prone to . Remember, a data breach involving a card connected to your bank account will likely give thieves access to all the money in that account. Credit cards, on the other hand, are somewhat safer, since your liability in case of fraud is reduced to a certain amount, usually around $50.
Check Your Credit Card Balance Regularly
Speaking of credit card fraud in Guam, many business travelers neglect to check their card balance on overseas trips, preferring to look at the bill back home when it comes in the mail. This can be a huge mistake, as it can give data thieves plenty of time to run amuck with fraudulent purchases. Running out of balance just as you’re about to make a purchase can also be embarrassing and can sometimes set back your itinerary.
We recommend taking a look at your card balance at the end of each day when you’re traveling. This will ensure credit card fraud is detected early and the problem can be addressed immediately. If you haven’t already, set up a verified app on your phone so that you’re able to view your credit card balance with ease every time you need to.
If you’re planning to visit Guam, know that cash is king, but having credit cards around isn’t such a bad idea either. So long as you bring along the right cards and take proper precautions, there’s no reason that you’ll find yourself unable to buy what you want when you’re in the territory.