Debit/Credit Card Declined in Uganda? Here is what to do

Imagine you have arrived in Uganda for your holiday, and for some reason, you have run out of cash. Then you hear some goods from your travel agent or hotel attendant that it is possible to withdraw money via an auto teller machine (ATM). You rush there for your rescue; only for your card to be rejected by every teller machine in the mall.

Courtesy Photo; Victoria Mall

Puzzled about what next, you start thinking of how to readjust your travel plans. Then you think about calling a friend back home to send you some money via Moneygram or western union. But again you realize, that the money you need for your trip is relatively a large sum.

You search around, and the only advice you find is to at least carry 10 $100 bills of 2009 and above editions. So you again realize, this is simply advice for people who are not already in Uganda for their holiday.  You do not have to be stuck here is the way out;

Call your Bank: Probably Authentication is Required

There is a likelihood, your card is being rejected because of an abrupt shift in the area of use. Imagine you have been living in Germany for 3 years and all your card transaction records reflect German addresses. But all of a sudden, your card is being used in Uganda. Your bank will stop every transaction on this card until they prove that the transaction is being done by you.

It is simply like signing into your google account using a non-recognized computer, authentication will be required from you before you proceed. Therefore the best advice would be to call your bank to prove that it is you using the Credit or Debit card in a strange location.

Adjust Your Transaction Limit

More often than common, some cards have a transaction limit that cannot be exceeded by the cardholder in a particular time frame. This is sometimes the reason behind the failure of your card.

The solution would be calling your bank to adjust the transaction limit so that you can proceed with your transactions without any hindrances.


There are mainly two types of auto teller machines. There are those which a restricted to a particular bank and those which are open to any bank. There is a likelihood that your card is being rejected because you are trying to use a teller machine that is restricted to a particular bank.

Make sure the autoteller machine you are using is a VISA autoteller machine that allows the use of VISA Debit Cards, and Credit cards. Some of the recommended banks for this service include; Stanbic bank, Centenary bank, Absa bank, KCB Bank, and Standard Chartered bank

Transfer Money to Your Agent Online

In case your card fails to operate physically, you can opt to transfer money online. You can transfer money to a Ugandan travel agent via online merchants such as pesapal. They can then withdraw money and transfer it to you so that you can have some money to take you through your trip.