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I may spend a month in Madagascar and cannot find conclusive information on the availability of ATMs, banks, or other methods of obtaining cash.

My travel guide specifically mentions Visa instead of Maestro/Mastercard, but this might be a cultural preference of the French author. All my bank cards use Maestro (the default in the Netherlands), and my creditcard is a Mastercard. Preferably, I would like to spend a month in Madagascar and use my existing bank accounts to pay for the trip.

Alternatively, Western Union is mentioned, but to me this is a relatively unknown (and therefore not well trusted) party. Carrying enough cash for two people for a month is also not an enticing option.

Should I try to get a Visa debit/creditcard, get an account with WU, or is it feasible to travel around Madagascar with Maestro/Mastercard and reasonable cash reserves?

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1 Answer 1

First off let's get things unconfused: Maestro is not the same as MasterCard. Banks may be accepting VISA or MasterCard in their ATMs but not necessarily Maestro, so it is better to have a Major card with you Debit or Credit.

That said. Ability to obtain cash in Madagascar will heavily depend where you are. You can look at the list of Banks in Madagascar to see which ones might be more suited for you to use for ATMs. As far as I can tell from looking around BFV-SG and BNI are either a part of a the major French Banks or in some way affiliated with them so withdrawing cash from them might be easier but from what I can tell you need to be in one of the larger towns to do it.

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Maestro is the de facto standard debit card in NL and a Visa debit card is hard to come by. Meanwhile, in Madagascar it seems Visa is the default accepted card (credit and debit?!), though Mastercard (credit) seems to be accepted by some banks nowadays. Charges for cash withdrawal with debit cards are usually much lower than for credit cards, so it is relevant which debit cards are accepted. So perhaps it is worthwhile getting Visa cards (credit and/or debit). Might it be worthwhile to get input from recent travellers, rather than just the bank website? –  Daan Jun 12 '13 at 20:20
    
@Daan Maestro is the de facto standard debit card in NL and a Visa debit card is hard to come by - This may be true but it doesn't mean that they are not available if you need them to travel internationally. Might it be worthwhile to get input from recent travellers, rather than just the bank website - Sure but you may have to wait longer then the time before your trip. –  Karlson Jun 12 '13 at 20:34

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