We today live in a money economy where almost everything must be paid for. When visiting or relocating to start an entirely new life in Bulgaria, not many freebies may come your way. To always be on the safe side and avoid unnecessary surprises, tuck your credit card into your wallet. We do our little to let you know more about credit cards in Bulgaria and make your experience life smooth and easier in the country.
Situated in the Eastern Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria has a lot of exciting facts anyone may wish to know and experience. Nowonder Statista estimates that approximately 2,3 million visit the country every year for different reasons. Up to 0.2 million foreigners reside in the country. This statistics should offer solace that you who plan to visit or live in the country won’t be alone. Probably what you may be now interested in more in detail is how to go about life there.
Without a doubt, you need to pay for services or goods you purchase when in Bulgaria. Whether it’s utility bills, entertainment, leisure activities, rent or refreshments, you have to pay. Today, Bulgaria hasn’t quite moved towards a cashless economy. You’ll be surprised that over 50% of transactions still happen using cash money. This may be a setback especially for someone who’s just arriving from a new country.
Bulgaria, just like the rest of the European countries will slowly but surely move towards cashless transactions, But even at the moment, certain places have embraced card payments. With a recognised credit card in your wallet, there ought not to be trouble making payments in Bulgaria.
Thinking about making payments in Bulgaria
While the whole idea here is to create a vivid impression of what experience it would be using credit card payments, we choose to do more than just that. For your information, the fact that cash transactions still happen so much in most parts of Bulgaria, you need to carry some cash in your pocket as well. if you hate the whole idea of stashing so much cash in your wallet, you have the option to withdraw cash using your credit card at teller machines.
The beauty of credit cards which definitely makes life interesting for holders is the convenience. Even in situations where service providers and sellers refuse the card, you just need to walk to a nearby ATM and withdraw.
As you may be already aware,credit cards generally apply automatic currency conversion for most globally recognized currencies. So, even if your primary currency in the credit card is USD, its possible to take out Bulgarian lev (BGN) or Euro at an ATM.
Quick fun facts about Bulgaria
At this point you may be wondering why you really focus on payments, transactions and credit cards in Bulgaria. The country is a magnet for various reasons and it tells why knowing details about the payments matter.
You don’t necessarily need to be moving to start a new life in Bulgaria. But those who take a break from their work may add Bulgaria into the travel basket and now need to make plans on paying for hotels, renting a car, paying for means and so forth.
One or more of these fun facts will possibly make you see Bulgaria differently.
- It’s one of oldest countries in Europe
- Bulgaria has beautiful beaches.
- A third of the country is covered by forest.
- One of the oldest European countries that has the same name from the time of its establishment
- Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital has been in existence since 7000 years ago
- The country had the oldest gold treasure discovered in Varna Necropolis
Up close and candid about credit card, banking and payments in Bulgaria
Just like the other European nations, the country’s banking system is great. Credit cards are highly accepted across the country. Besides, you can use credit cards in Bulgaria when making offline as well as online transactions. If you are coming with your credit card, it is important to know the ones that are highly accepted. They include Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
Also read: Payday Loans in Bulgaria
The Steps of getting a Credit Card in Bulgaria
To get a credit card in Bulgaria, you need to go through different steps just like in the Czech Republic. However, the steps may vary from one bank to another. One of the first steps you may consider is doing research on the offers provided by different banks.
When making the comparison carefully check details including credit limits, annual fees, and interest rates. The second step is to check your eligibility to get any of your preferred credit cards in Bulgaria.
When it comes to eligibility, you must meet some of these common requirements.
- Be 18 years and above
- Have a residence permit in Bulgaria
- Have an employment contract, address, tax returns, and salary slips.
If you already meet the eligibility requirements, go ahead and make an online application for a credit card. This must be to your most preferred credit card issuer in Bulgaria. In case the documents you file are insufficient, the issuer will demand for more details.
You may also choose to physically hand in your application at the credit card issuer desk. In case your application is approved, you will get a credit card offer. The card will be sent to you later. As a user, ensure that you understand the credit card’s terms and conditions. After activating it, you can start using your credit card. Also, remember to make payments in time so that you do not get any penalties.
Using Credit Cards in Bulgaria
As I said earlier, credit cards are hugely accepted in Bulgaria. You can use them when shopping or even visiting some travel destinations. Remember, when in Bulgaria, your currency will be converted to Bulgarian Lev (BGN). You also don’t have to worry about the ATMs, they are available in most of the cities and towns. In case you go somewhere where a credit card is not accepted, then you can withdraw cash instead and make payments.
Using credit cards comes with its convenience. You can make purchases any time anywhere. Thus, you do not need to carry large amounts of cash around. Besides, they are widely accepted in Bulgaria. Did you also know that it can help you build your own credit history. If you repay the amount on time, then you will be building a positive credit history. Through this, you can qualify for a larger amount of loans in the future.
Additionally, credit cards usually come with reward programs. However, this depends on your credit card providers. With the reward programs, you may earn cashback, miles, and even earn points. Later, you can redeem them for merchandise or travel discounts.
As a credit card user, it is important that you understand the fees related to it. One of the common fees is the annual fees. Did you expect to use the card for free? No, there are some fees that you need to pay for the services offered.
Interest charges is another fee charged. Remember, if you do not pay what you owe, interest will be added monthly. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is used when calculating the interest rates. Also, if you do not make payments on time, you can incur a late payment fee.
The following are the other fees charged:
- Cash advance fee
- Overlimit fee
- Balance transfer fee
- Foreign transaction fee
- Inactivity fee
- Card replacement fee
Credit Card Security in Bulgaria
Did you know that your credit card’s security starts with you? Yes, you are the one to protect your financial information. Ensure that you keep your card safe while in Bulgaria. It should always be in a secure place. In addition, do not share the information about your card including security code, expiry date, and card number with other people.
You may also enhance your card’s security by signing your card’s back. It comes with an extra security. When making payments in Bulgaria, protect your pin so that it is not seen with third parties. You can always cover your shoulders when putting your pin.
Form it a habit to go through your credit card statement. By going through your statement, you will easily notice if there are any suspicious transactions. Please, if you notice any unauthorized payment or rather transactions, report to your credit card issuer. You can even enable account alerts in your phone. With that, you will get notifications about your transactions.
Sampled card providers in Bulgaria
- UniCredit Bulbank
- BNP Paribas
- DSK Bank
- First Investment Bank
- TBI Bank
- Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria)