I was just wondering if I should be showing up to CSA with cash or just use my visa check card? I heard awhile away to make sure u have cash because there are no atm's, now I am hearing that when you check into CSA they put a $200 hold on the credit card you used to purchase the trip, so you can spend on extras at the gift shop etc. I want to make sure I am prepared, leaving friday Thanks!
I believe CSA is completely cashless so you won't have the option of using cash there throughout your stay (however, you can settle up in cash at the end). Either way, they will take your credit card and put a $300 hold on it. You may want to use cash if you go off the resort because you'll incur a small "exchange rate" fee for each Visa transaction. Visa charges this (I think it's a percentage of your purchase). Of course, cash is much less secure. You'll definitely want cash to cover a few tips (luggage carrier, bus driver, etc).
The "hold" on the card is not so much "so you can" spend in the gift shops it's in case you do. It's so they know you have a means for paying for things you may charge to your room as Couples is cashless and whatever you buy while on the resort will be charged to your room and paid for upon departure. Imagine the chaos if they didn't assure you had a valid credit card with at least SOME amount of available spending limit and you spend a week shopping at the gift shops, when you go to check-out what happens? You can't pay and they can't exactly hold you for ransom.
Along the beach there will be vendors selling a variety of things, everthing from t-shirts to jewelry to jet ski rides, you will have to pay them in cash. If you go on a shopping trip and are buying in smaller amounts you could choose to pay in cash. If you are thinking of a nice piece of "real" jewelry you'd want to use a credit card I think rather than carry that much cash...the jewelry I referred to above is a homemade variety not diamonds and such but still very pretty. As for check-out at the resort, you could pay in cash if you keep track of what you are buying and know you will not overspend. You could use the debit card also. People have done both. If you plan to use cash and not present your debit card on check-in know that you MAY get a little hassle as they really prefer that card. Don't know if it would help you to call and let them know you'll not be giving them a card.
You need some kind of cerdit card,( a debit card is fine it's what we used) for the $300 hold. The resort is cashless and the hold is if you spend any money at the gift shop, spa ect. ATM is gone so you might want to bring cash for the beach vendors, and to tip bagage handler, bus driver, and spa people. Make sure you have plenty of small bills.
If you use your bank card make sure to tell bank your travel plans.
I would suggest bringing some cash, including at least $30 in smaller bills ($1's and $5) for the transportation tips (the drivers are not Couples employees, so it is fair to expect to tip them) and maybe $20-$50 for purchases at the airport.
You will need a credit card for gift shop purposes, and if it is at all possible, I would avoid bringing your debit card or a credit card with a large credit limit. I have a VISA that has a $1,000 limit and that works perfect and reduces my worry of the off-chance possibility that it were stolen. Sometimes your bank can issue you a temporary credit card based on your account, so that could be another option.
I leave my debit cards at home.
HI, Actually its a 300 $ hold on your credit card. We bring mostly 1's and 5's and 10's about 200 worth just in case. But usually that is for transfers for tips, eating in USA airport when we have a lay over and then the vendors and/or Ricks cafe. We put the private dinner on our card and this time my hair will be done for wedding and we will put that on our card too. Yes, you are correct there is no ATM so def bring some cash.
Using a debit card would make me nervous. Some of our friends had all sorts of crazy charges after using their card last year. The only place they used it was at the resort. It was a card they got from a bank they don't normally use just because there is no foreign transaction fee. Luckily it wasn't tied to their normal accounts but it still took a long time to clear everything up and get all the charges and penalty fees for overdrafting refunded. I'm not saying someone at Couples is taking card numbers but something was happening for a while since a lot of people had the same thing happen at the same time and they really only used their card at the resort. Even with honest employees you never know when the entire system could be compromised. At CSA our card was never out of our site so I don't think someone would have had a chance to write the numbers down or anything like that. I don't know if it's the same way at the other resorts though. Our friends were not at CSA and I haven't been to the other resorts.
I would never use a debit card in Jamaica. You put your bank account at risk. It is much safer to use a credit card where the issuing bank takes the risk. You are not on the hook if someone steals your credit card number and abuses it. If I didn't have a credit card I would go cash only.
I dont see the proublem with bringing a Visa debit card, we did last year and had no proublems. And our card is as protected as cerdit card in regards to fraud/theft. Just let your bank know when, where your going and about how much you plan on spending. Some people dont use Credit Cards.
When a bank issues a card with the VISA logo and name on it they are required to abide by VISA's terms. The above link is an FAQ of sorts about a VISA debit card, toward the bottom of the page it clearly states the policy regarding fraudulent purchases. A VISA debit card is as safe as a credit card, the only drawback is that for a few days until you contact your bank and report the problem and take steps toward resolution you may have limited or no funds in your checking account. But in the end you have the protection.
A card number is just as likely to be stolen at home as in Jamaica truthfully. One good way to prevent you from being without access to cash would be to have two accounts, keep an amount in the one you are using under less secure circumstances and the majority of your money in another that you perhaps don't use a debit card for at all. Perhaps that's a bit of a hassle but these days with electronic banking it's easy enough to move money around...phone, internet, etc any time of day or night. Our bank even let's you set up an overdraft protection using your own accounts, overdraw one account and it automatically takes money out of another specified account to cover.