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  #1  
Old 09-19-2011, 03:48 PM
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Cash or credit?

We'll be staying on Guana but island-hopping around to GTC and others. Do most folks bring cash, credit cards, traveller's checks, or some combination of those? Is there anyplace (or any particular type of establishment) that doesn't take credit cards? I'm not sure our rental house will have a safe and am not too keen on the idea of leaving piles of cash lying around . . .
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTG View Post
We'll be staying on Guana but island-hopping around to GTC and others. Do most folks bring cash, credit cards, traveller's checks, or some combination of those? Is there anyplace (or any particular type of establishment) that doesn't take credit cards? I'm not sure our rental house will have a safe and am not too keen on the idea of leaving piles of cash lying around . . .
On Great Guana Cay, Nippers and Grabbers take American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Not sure about Discover, or any others.
I think Orchid Bay and Pirates Cove just took Mastercard and Visa.
Dive Guana takes Visa... not sure about others. I know they don't take AmEx.
We've never brought Travelers Checks.
One hint, is to ask for change in U.S. currency when you are getting towards the end of your trip.
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:39 PM
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The only place on GTC I know of that doesn't take credit cards is Sundowners. Someone else can chime in because we've always used cash at Pineapples and Blue Bee, and haven't made it to Wrecking Tree yet.
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:47 PM
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I try to pay for most things in cash rather than paying the foreign exchange rate the merchants add to US credit card charges,but cards do work everywhere,albeit some places have a minimum charge.
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:02 AM
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[RANT: ON] The foreign exchange rate just annoys me. The Bahamian dollar is ON PAR with the USD. What exactly are they converting?
[RANT: OFF]

Cash is king.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:09 AM
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More Cash / Less Amex

In our experience over several years, places that take Amex are the exception rather than the rule in Abaco. This is largely due, I am told, to the higher percentage of the transaction they take (5% vs 3%). On the other hand VISA/MC are widely accepted.

However, we have been taking more cash/Traveler's Checks to Abaco recently to avoid the 3% foreign transaction fees VISA/MC charge. In addition, on larger transactions, such as boat rentals and etc., cash/Traveler's Checks may be appreciated by the business since they get 100% rather than the 97% they get from VISA/MC. In addition, since cash is, well CASH, they can put their receipts in the bank immediately, rather than waiting for the phones / internet to come back on so they can run the slips.

The trouble with Traveler's checks is that it they are sometimes difficult to use for smaller transactions, even in the $20 denominations. In addition, the second signature on your Traveler's Checks after a few whatevers at Nippers may not quite match the original signature. Finally, the only place where you can reliably (daily) cash Traveler's Checks are the banks in Marsh Harbour. This is also the only place you can get them replaced. While you might get writer's cramp from signing a bunch of $100 Traveler's Checks for a boat or house rental, you can pre-order larger denomination Traveler's checks to reduce writer's cramp.

The bottom line is that we use Amex where it is accepted, VISA/MC elsewhere for smaller transactions for the convenience and Traveler's Checks / cash for larger transactions where avoiding the 3% foreign transaction fee makes a big difference.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:13 AM
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Usually our rental is paid at least a month prior to arrival but this past trip we needed to pay on arrival with a certified check. Worked nicely. Rest of trip we used cash/cc. Never even bring AMEX anymore with us. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:51 AM
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Just to confirm: When you say cash, you mean US dollars -- no need to exchange them for Bahamian?

PS: BahamaAngie, we were in Jersey over Labor Day and there's a post about our trip on my blog right now that you might enjoy . . . all tongue-in-cheek, of course!
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Last edited by TTG; 09-20-2011 at 10:55 AM. Reason: add a p.s.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2011, 11:21 AM
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1-1 exchange rate. Just do not get stuck with a bunch of Bahamian dollars when you leave.
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2011, 11:49 AM
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The vast majority of stores/businesses on GTC take Visa and Mastercard... Amex is not as widely accepted. The GTC bank is also open a few hours each week, and you can get an advance on your credit card if you need it. There's also a bank in Treasure Cay with an ATM as well.

Mostly, we use credit cards, because it's easier and more convenient than lugging around a lot of cash.

Amanda
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  #11  
Old 09-20-2011, 11:58 AM
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Regarding the foreign transaction fees: I got a Capital One card a few years back for a trip to Paris specifically because they don't charge ANY foreign transaction fees. I just checked their web site to see if that's still the case, and it is:

Capital One does not charge a fee for using your credit card for foreign currency transactions. Foreign purchases will be converted at the foreign exchange rate in effect at the time of posting the charge.

So, for you frequent travelers to Abaco, it might be worth looking into. I guess we'll use the Cap One wherever we can, and have a small amount of $USD on us at all times for the few places that won't take the card.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2011, 12:42 PM
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The clubs on Marsh only take cash
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:41 PM
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I am not sure how it's done, but I think there are Bahamian debit cards that can be purchased somehow, if you can find a bank and one that's open. My dad uses one in Marsh, making the trip every week or so for booze, banks, and broads (just kidding).

All I did was pack two credit cards and a couple hundred in cash. Good idea to call your bank or credit card company to see what the fail-safe is in case you need emergency money. Not sure if wire transfers work, and yes some do bring over bank checks for known big ticket costs.

You can save a wee bit of money for cash. For example, my dad refuels his Aubs about $100 a shot, and gets a discount of several percent for cash instead of credit. This has nothing to do the the overseas transaction fees, but what the vendor sells things for (don't know if this is common or not).

It is nice to have some cash for tipping, since tips on credit cards slips have to be processed twice, more room for error. Just use some common sense - like don't leave a couple thousand in cash on the beach or in your bedroom, as sometimes, however rare, disappearances happen.

Now get out there and have some fun!
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:38 PM
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Better save the cash for your new baggage fees.

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/2169...day-survey.htm



This will be my last time in Abaco (or ANYWHERE international) for a LONG time.

I thought this was a joke when I first heard it.
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2011, 03:27 PM
island boy island boy is offline
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Trust me if you have a home or a boat that is your home in Abaco,it makes life a lot easier! We rarely carry anything other than one carry on between my wife and myself and sometimes we don't even bother with that.
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  #16  
Old 09-20-2011, 04:41 PM
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At the rates these fees are going, buying a house on Abaco might actually be cheaper in the long run!
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:57 PM
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TTG, loved your report. We happen to love the Cove Restaurant. It has gotten even nicer. It use to be primarily a bait place with a great breakfast and view. We ate many a breakfast there and fresh flounder dinner once. Also have great clam chowder. Have not been there in over ten years. Need to go some day....really love it there. Cape May is a great place. Glad you so enjoyed it. We are about 1 1/2 hours before it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:06 PM
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Often mentioned in these threads is that many restaurants automatically tack on 15% for the tip. You can tip more if you like, but you might not be happy double tipping.
Susan
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:00 AM
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Ah - very good to know - thanks!
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  #20  
Old 09-21-2011, 12:19 PM
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Cash
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:54 PM
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Recent experience with travellers checks has been that fewer and fewer places are accepting them. I've quit using them unless in a place where one needs the foreign currency, so use them with the banks for exchange. Abaco ain't one of these places. Heck, even Botswana takes the good 'ol dollar! Say what you will, but it is still king...
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:58 PM
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Question

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Often mentioned in these threads is that many restaurants automatically tack on 15% for the tip. You can tip more if you like, but you might not be happy double tipping.
Susan
DO the restaurants that add the 15% tip PUBLISH that they do?
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:30 PM
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Yes,study both the menu and the tab.
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  #24  
Old 02-18-2012, 06:38 PM
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Just flat out ask your waitress from the get go-no harm, no foul
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:43 PM
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Good info!
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  #26  
Old 02-19-2012, 08:53 AM
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When everyone says, you can use CC', what they really mean is with the 3% transaction fee on top, correct?

or, you pay 3% more for using a CC. (if they are accepted at all).

correct me if I'm wrong here.
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  #27  
Old 02-19-2012, 09:36 AM
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different US credit cards charge different foreign transaction fees check with yours.. Some charge nothing at all.
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  #28  
Old 02-19-2012, 07:42 PM
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It is not Visa or Mastercard that charges the foreign transaction fee...it is the issueing bank. As noted above, Capital One (along with several others) charge no fee.
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  #29  
Old 02-19-2012, 08:32 PM
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You can get creamed using a credit card even with zero fees ... take a look at marina charges and fuel id you use credit cards. That's 5% extra in many cases! Many retail stores and restaurants charge automatic tips if you give them a card too. Credit card sure are handy but you do get shafted when you use them, no matter what kind. If you pay 5% plus 3% carry charge and the monetary exchange rate, you could be getting gigged for 10%.

That's why cash is so good. Short vacation stays, I pack a few Travelers Cheques for emergency money which are good as cash, yet some places won't take them because there was a scam with "stolen" ones recently. But banks will take them, which is why we run into Marsh Harbour now and then. My dad, who is there for half a year, deposits money there and gets needed cash for about everything. Getting a fill-up at the marina? Slap a $100 bill down and they like that, no fuss.

A word on the exchange rate ... one US dollar equals exactly 1 Bahamian dollar. However, money exchangers get to charge a fee for converting currency, which is how you can get gigged again, although only 1-2 percent.
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  #30  
Old 02-21-2012, 02:50 PM
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Our last trip to GTC, many establishments would not take a credit card for a transactions less than $20. So if you want a quick drink, you have to have two or three, not that I mind the drinking just don't want to spend extra money when it goes so fast. Also wrecking tree only takes cash. We did end up going to the bank for more cash because the cards just did not work as well as they did in the past.
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