With borders extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Alps lies a rare and hidden gem; Slovenia. One wonders why so little is known about this enchanting country that was once a part of the former Yugoslavia. What with the seemingly endless natural scenery and central location in Europe. It is a popular destination for expats with their eye on a start-up that can access Europe from a central location. Furthermore, Slovenia’s medieval towns and well preserved castles will have you calmly sipping wine after a long day at work.
In my opinion, Slovenia is widely underrated by many tourists because it is a relatively small country. Anyway, if the country is your destination as a potential home or vacation destination, it’s crucial to understand how credit cards work here. With a credit card, you can make paperless purchases during your stay. What’s more, you can use your card to enjoy numerous benefits and rewards.
Overview of Slovenia’s Payment Methods
If you are from a country like the US where digital payment has taken center stage, you might be disappointed in Slovenia for at least one reason. This is that most Slovenians are still unable to trust electronic payments despite the government’s efforts to promote them.
So, don’t be surprised to find many people in your new home paying for goods and services with cash. However, in urban centres, you will notice that cash payments are mostly reserved for smaller everyday purchases. No one will expect you to pay for your groceries with a credit card in Slovenia.
People use their credit cards to purchase larger items. This is expected since carrying a large sum of cash around can be very inconvenient. While this might not matter much to you, you might notice that payment methods vary between older and younger generations. In most cases, older people will prefer to pay with cash while younger people pay with cards.
Using a Credit Card in Slovenia
Most people will prioritize opening a local bank account when they arrive in Slovenia. As you shop around for the best bank in the country you will notice that almost everyone has credit cards. However, credit card features will vary from one bank to another.
I can’t stress enough how selecting a local bank will affect your credit card choice in future. You see, the bank you settle on will determine the features on your credit card. Credit card features include interest rate, annual maintenance fees, benefits/freebies/rewards and your monthly limit.
It means that the bank you settle on will determine whether you can splurge on yourself after a good day at work or after getting that promotion. I’m not advocating for spendthrifts here but once in a while you might need to spoil yourself. It’s not a bad idea as long as you keep track of your spending.
How Credit Cards Work in Slovenia
While many banks in Slovenia offer credit cards, the most common cards are VISA and MasterCard. Most business establishments in the country accept these cards. Thus, you will find most people using them. Just remember that your VISA card features will depend on the bank that issues the card.
VISA is the more popular of the two cards and will be accepted by most businesses. American Express is also common and widely accepted. I wouldn’t recommend it though because of the obvious fact that you won’t be able to use it much. Unless, you are not a fan of credit cards and prefer carrying cash around.
There are three local schemes in Slovenia: Activa (co-branded with Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, or Electron), BA (co-branded with Maestro), and Karanta (co-branded with Mastercard). You can settle for whatever scheme that best meets your credit card needs.
Choosing a Credit Card in Slovenia
The truth is, people get credit cards for various reasons. Some for convenience and others because they need them. Nevertheless, whatever your reason for wanting one, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best deals.
The first thing to consider when choosing a credit card in Slovenia is popularity. There is no point in getting stuck with a credit card that no business will accept. Hence it’s always a good idea to go for the credit card that is widely used. While this might make you feel like you don’t have much of a choice, remember you can still choose the features.
So, the second thing to consider is the perks or features that come with a particular credit card. Go for a card that offers you as many rewards and benefits as possible. Keep in mind that credit cards also come with fees and extra charges so pay as you gain. One thing I always tell people is that the devil is in the details. So, before you sign up for a credit card, always read the fine print. This will help you understand fully what you are getting.
Also choose a credit card with a secure but simple payment method. Failure to pay your credit card bills in Slovenia will attract heavy interests. So, find a payment method that is automatic so that you don’t forget to make any payment. All in all, use your credit card wisely and always remember to get value for your money.