Best ways to take money to Cape Verde - 2024

Preparing a trip to Cape Verde? Planning how to manage your travel money before you leave the UK can help you save time, money, and hassle. Join us as we compare the best ways to spend in Cape Verdean Escudo, including travel money cards and cash. Whether you prefer to spend with a card, or need to know if Cape Verde is great for cash, this guide shows you the best money solution when you travel overseas.

Best ways to take money to Cape Verde - an overview

Let’s kick off with a quick summary of the travel money options we’ll cover in this full guide - click to check out the providers we’ve highlighted, or read on for more detail.

ProviderCard typeSpending feesGo to provider
Wise travel cardVisa debit cardNo fees to spend currencies you holdGo to Wise
Post Office prepaid cardMastercard prepaidNo fees to spend currencies you holdGo to Post Office
Barclays Rewards credit cardVisa credit cardNo foreign transaction feeGo to Barclay

Debit cards for Cape Verde

Debit cards can be issued by a bank or specialist provider. Your card will be linked to an account you need to top up before you can spend.

Spending and making cash withdrawals with a travel debit card in Cape Verde can be convenient, and if you pick a low cost provider, it could be cheap too. Generally using a debit card cuts out a few common fees compared to using credit cards, but you’ll need to have money in your account before you travel as there’s no credit facility with this option.

Ideal for: Low cost spending and withdrawals when you’re in Cape Verde, particularly if you choose a flexible card which has good exchange rates when you spend in CVE

Wise travel card

Delivered in the UKDelivered in the UKVisa/Mastercard debit cardVisa/Mastercard debit cardMid-market exchange rateMid-market exchange rate40+ currencies40+ currencies

Open a Wise account online or in the Wise app, to order a Wise travel card you can use for convenient spending and withdrawals in Cape Verde. Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, so you can top up in GBP easily from your bank or using your card. Whenever you travel, to Cape Verde or beyond, you’ll have the option to convert to the currency you need in advance if it’s supported for holding a balance, or simply let the card do the conversion at the point of payment.

With the Wise money card you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees whenever you spend in CVE, plus some free ATM withdrawals every month - perfect if you’re looking for easy ways to arrange your travel cash.

Wise features

Card

Fees for spending

ATM fees

Withdraw limit

Annual fee

App available

Trustpilot score

Visa or Mastercard Debit Card

No fees to spend currencies you hold

Some fee free withdrawals monthly, with low fees after that

4,000 GBP a month

N/A

iOS & Android

4.2 / 5 (200,000+)

Wise travel card pros and cons

  • Hold and exchange 40+ currencies with the mid-market rate
  • Spend seamlessly in CVE when you travel
  • Some free ATM withdrawals every month, for those times only cash will do
  • Ways to receive payments to your Wise account conveniently
  • Manage your account and card from your phone
  • 7 GBP delivery fee for your first card
  • ATM fees apply once you've exhausted your monthly free withdrawals
  • Physical cards may take 2 - 6 days to arrive (you can use your virtual card right away)

How to apply for a Wise card

Here’s how to apply for a Wise account and order a Wise  travel card in the UK:

  1. Open the Wise app or desktop site

  2. Select Register and confirm you want to open a personal account

  3. Register with your email, Facebook, Apple or Google ID

  4. Upload your ID document to complete the verification step

  5. Tap the Cards tab to order your card

  6. Pay the one time 7 GBP fee, confirm your mailing address, and your card will be on the way, and should arrive in 2 - 6 days

How much does a debit card cost?

Debit cards are usually relatively cheap to use. It’s worth checking if your bank debit card can be used in Cape Verde, and if any foreign transaction fees or international ATM fees will apply. Compare your bank debit cards against a specialist alternative like the Wise debit card, which is optimised for international use, to see which is cheaper.

Advantages and disadvantages for taking a debit card to Cape Verde

Travel debit cards are good ifConsider alternatives to cards if 

✅ You want low cost spending and withdrawals


✅ Your bank or specialist card has low or no foreign transaction fees


✅ You need ways to both spend on card and get cash from ATMs


✅ You’re happy to top up your account in advance to set your travel money budget

❌ You’d prefer to spread the cost of your trip over a few months


❌ You need a card you can use as payment guarantee when checking into a hotel or hiring a vehicle

Prepaid cards for Cape Verde

Prepaid cards are often issued by specialist providers, although some banks do also offer this facility.

With a prepaid card you’ll need to add money to a digital account before you can spend. The features and fees of prepaid cards can vary quite widely - some are designed for overseas use, while others may have pretty high fees when you’re overseas. Comparing a few will help you pick.

Ideal for: Setting your travel budget in advance, and then spending and making withdrawals as you travel in Cape Verde

Post Office travel card

Delivered in the UKDelivered in the UKMastercard debit cardMastercard debit card22 currencies22 currenciesIn-store/online collectionIn-store/online collection

If you want a travel card you can collect in person instantly, and then use to spend when you visit Cape Verde, you might be interested in the Post Office travel card. You’ll be able to get your card by popping into a Post Office branch - online ordering is also available. Remember to take your ID document when you go to pick up your card, for verification.

You’ll be able to pay in GBP to top up your card, and then convert to any of the 22 supported currencies. It’s then free to spend if you have the currency you need on your card, although a 3% fee applies if you use your card to spend or make a withdrawal in a currency you’ve not topped up yet. Double check the latest details online to see if CVE is supported for holding a balance - and what the associated fees will be for currency conversion and withdrawals, as these vary by currency.

Post Office features

CardFees for spendingATM feesWithdraw limitAnnual feeApp availableTrustpilot score
Mastercard Debit Card

No fees to spend currencies you hold

3% conversion fee to spend currencies you don't have

Varied by currency, around 1.5 GBP or the currency equivalent

300 GBP a day or the currency equivalentN/AiOS & AndroidNot active on Trustpilot

Post Office travel card pros and cons

  • 22 supported currencies
  • Collect your card in person at a Post Office if you need it in a hurry
  • Manage your card through the Post Office app
  • Use your card for this trip - and hold in to it for the next time you travel
  • Reliable service, with a card that's accepted globally
  • 3% fee to spend a currency you don't hold
  • 4.1% exchange rate markup on average when loading supported currencies
  • ATM fees apply which vary by currency
  • Low daily ATM limits at the equivalent of 300 GBP

How to apply for a Post Office card

Get your Post Office travel card before you leave the UK, simply by calling into your local Post Office. It’s also possible to order your card online, although in this case you’ll need to wait a couple of days for it to arrive by post, and activate it once you have your card in your hand.

How much does a prepaid card cost?

Prepaid cards which are designed for international use can offer flexibility and low international fees. It’s worth shopping around to find an option which supports low or no cost spending and withdrawals - if you’re eligible, getting a Post Office card could be a smart move, as a prepaid card with great travel features.

Advantages and disadvantages for taking a prepaid card to Cape Verde

Travel prepaid cards are good ifConsider alternatives to prepaid cards if

✅ You want to add money to your account in advance for overseas spending


✅ You need to make cash withdrawals as well as pay by card


✅ You’ve picked a card with flexible international features and low or no cost overseas spending 

❌ You want to earn rewards or cash back on your spending


❌ You need to be able to pay off your travel costs over a few months

Credit cards for Cape Verde

With a credit card you’ll be able to spend to your credit limit and then repay your bill later - fees apply if you don’t pay in full and on time.

Credit cards can come with a few extra fees compared to debit and prepaid cards, such as interest, penalties and cash advance costs. However, they’re still an attractive option if you have a travel optimised card which lets you earn rewards as you spend, or if you need a card to act as a payment guarantee when you hire a car or check into a hotel.

Ideal for: Spending now and paying back later - you may also earn rewards or cash back spending on the card you pick

Barclaycard Rewards Visa travel card

Visa network card for global acceptanceVisa network card for global acceptanceNo foreign transaction feeNo foreign transaction feeNo cash usage feeNo cash usage feeCheck eligibility onlineCheck eligibility online

The Barclaycard Rewards Visa offers 0.25% cash back on spending and has no annual fee. There’s not usually a foreign transaction fee or any cash usage fee to pay - although it’s well worth checking the card’s terms and conditions carefully for any other important fees that may apply, based on how you spend. You can check your eligibility for this card online before you make an application - credit checks apply when you submit your application.

Barclaycard Rewards Visa features

CardFees for spendingATM feesAnnual feeApp available
Visa credit cardNo foreign transaction feesNo cash transaction fee - but interest may be higher compared to purchasesNo annual feeOn Android and Apple

Barclaycard Rewards Visa pros and cons

  • 0.25% cash back on spending
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • Check eligibility online before applying
  • Visa card for broad global acceptance
  • Variable interest applies
  • Penalty fees if you’re late to repay
  • Cash withdrawals may have a higher rate of interest

Apply online on the Barclays UK website - you can check your eligibility before you apply, which will allow you to check if the card is suitable for you.

How much does a credit card cost?

Generally, using a credit card can be more expensive than using a debit or prepaid card. There are various fees to consider, including an annual fee, interest and penalties, depending on how you use your card. Plus for international use you might find foreign transaction fees and hefty cash advance charges for ATM use. Check your card’s terms and conditions carefully before you use it overseas.

Advantages and disadvantages for taking a credit card to Cape Verde

Travel credit cards are good ifConsider alternatives to credit cards if 

✅ You want to earn rewards or cash back on spending


✅ You want to spread the costs of your purchases over months


✅ You want a card you can use as a payment guarantee


✅ You can find a card with low or no foreign transaction fees

❌ You’re concerned about interest or penalty fees


❌ Your card has high cash advance costs for ATM use

Taking cash to Cape Verde

There are likely to be times in Cape Verde when cash is handy - for smaller purchases, tipping and taxis for example. Having some cash in your pocket is also reassuring in case your preferred payment card isn’t available or can't be accepted for some reason. Carrying too much cash is a security risk, so do be careful as tourists are often prey to opportunist thieves  - in Cape Verde and the world over. Take out cash from ATMs little and often if you can.

Ideal for: Those times when only cash will do - market purchases, tipping and taxis for example

How much cash should I bring to Cape Verde?

The budget you need to set for your trip depends a lot on what type of trip you’re expecting – you may be travelling or a shoestring, or you might be all up for a big blow out, with the very best of everything available in Cape Verde. In either case you can avoid spending money unnecessarily with a bit of advance planning, booking accommodation online before you travel, and looking out for deals and offers.

How much money do I need per day in Cape Verde?

While the amount of money you need depends a lot on the type of trip you’re taking, there are some things pretty much all travellers need to consider, including:

  • Accommodation

  • Meals

  • Transportation

  • Entry to tourist locations

  • Activities and entertainment

  • Tips and discretionary spend

  • Any tourist taxes or visas that apply

You can start to set your budget for different spending types long before you travel - it’s also worth taking into consideration less obvious costs like the fees you’ll pay for currency conversion.

The exchange rate between the British Pound and Cape Verdean Escudo changes all the time, but getting a better rate means your money goes further when you’re in Cape Verde. Right now, 1 GBP/CVE = 130.184. Get familiar with the exchange rate by using a reputable online currency converter, so you know what to expect.

In Cape Verde, the average accommodation typically costs around 103 GBP per night, offering a wide range of options from cozy hostels to luxurious resorts, ensuring there's something to suit every traveler's budget. Local transportation, like buses, trains, and trams, provides convenient and affordable ways to explore the cities and other areas, with an average price of 23 GBP.

Dining experiences in Cape Verde offer many options, from fresh seafood to multicultural cuisines, with meals averaging around 23 GBP. For people seeking hassle-free adventures, organized tour packages are readily available, showcasing the country's iconic landmarks, wildlife encounters, and cultural highlights, with prices starting from 13 GBP.

Outgoings average for one dayCosts in Cape Verde
Accommodation103 GBP
Public transportation23 GBP
Meal23 GBP
Entertainment13 GBP

Is Cape Verde expensive?

The amount of money you’ll spend in Cape Verde depends a lot on the type of travel you like - whether that’s low cost or luxury. You can always make sure you stick to your planned budget by booking accommodation well in advance, and looking for great local places to eat rather than sticking to tourist hotspots where the prices tend to be cranked up. There are loads of great, and up to date, online resources to help you plan your trip to Cape Verde which include hot tips and ways to save - do some research before you go to make your money go further.

What is the best way to pay in Cape Verde?

It’s worth having a mixture of payment methods with you when you’re in Cape Verde, including cash and cards. While cards have reasonable acceptance, it’s not universal, so carrying one or more cards, and some cash means you can combine the convenience of card payments with the flexibility of having cash on hand for situations where cards may not be accepted.

Can I use my bank card in Cape Verde?

Generally you can use your bank card in Cape Verde wherever the network is accepted. However you might find you can get a better deal with a specialist provider like Wise. Using a bank card issued in the UK for spending in Cape Verde may come with a few headaches. You might need to inform your bank of your travel plans in advance, you could run into fees such as foreign transaction fees - and there’s a good chance you won’t get the very best exchange rate available either.

Is it better to exchange money in the UK or in Cape Verde?

There’s no strict right and wrong when it comes to exchanging currency in the UK versus Cape Verde. Ultimately, the best option comes down to the exchange rates and fees you can find both here and on arrival - and the convenience. Changing money on arrival means wasting precious time looking for a good deal, but carrying too much with you when you travel might not be the safest option.

Having some cash on hand can be very useful and reassuring, as you know you’ll always be able to pay for immediate expenses, or for emergencies. It’s also a handy back up if your preferred card isn’t accepted.

Because carrying lots of cash can make you a target of thieves, be sure to use the safety box in the hotel where you can, and split funds between a few different spots in your baggage as well. No matter whether you exchange at home or abroad, it’s also a smart idea to keep an eye on exchange rates so you’ll know you’re getting the best available deal on currency exchange.

How to buy CVE on arrival in Cape Verde?

If you plan on changing your money on arrival in Cape Verde you’ll want to research currency exchange options in advance to avoid wasting time on your trip. In many cases physical exchange offices are clustered in one area of a city, such as the CBD or financial area. Compare your options based on fees and rates available before you hand over any money. It’s also worth stressing the importance of using a licensed money changer to avoid scams.

If you don’t want to waste time changing your money to Cape Verdean Escudo on arrival, consider an alternative like the Wise card. With the Wise card you can add money in GBP and tap to pay in CVE without needing to do a manual exchange. Your money is changed using the mid-market rate and low, transparent fee - with no extra foreign transaction fee to worry about.

Does Cape Verde accept British Pounds?

Generally it’s not possible to pay in GBP anywhere except in the UK. The official currency in Cape Verde is Cape Verdean Escudo - and in most cases this is the only currency you can use to pay.

Conclusion - Best ways to take money to Cape Verde

There’s no single best way to spend in Cape Verde - and for most people, having a blend of payment options gives flexibility and reassurance. Consider getting a low cost debit card from an international provider like Wise, alongside your regular bank debit or credit card, and some cash in CVE. That way you’re prepared no matter what happens.

FAQ - Best ways to take money to Cape Verde

What is the best way to take money internationally?

The best way to take money with you when you travel depends on your personal preferences and where you’re headed - usually having an international debit or prepaid card, alongside your bank debit or credit card and a little cash is a smart plan.

Should I exchange money before I travel to Cape Verde?

While you can exchange money before you travel, it’s not necessary and can eat up your precious planning time. If you don’t want to change your money in advance you can get a low cost international card from a provider like Wise or Revolut, to make ATM withdrawals with low or no fees when you arrive in your destination.

Can I withdraw CVE from a local ATM?

You can’t withdraw Cape Verdean Escudo from a local ATM in the UK. You’ll need to wait until you arrive to make a cash withdrawal - ATMs are often found in airports, train stations and other travel hubs to make this easier.

Are debit travel cards a good way to take money to Cape Verde?

Generally debit travel cards are cheap and flexible for international spending and withdrawal. Pick a low cost international card from a provider like Wise or Revolut, to get flexible international services and low overall fees.

Can I use cash in Cape Verde?

You can often use cash, but carrying a lot of cash isn’t a smart move for safety. Using a mix of cards and cash, and making ATM withdrawals as and when you need to can give you the best of all worlds when it comes to your travel spending.

Data sources & references

Data on the cost of accommodation, meals, travel and entertainment is kindly provided by BudgetYourTrip. The information is correct as of April 2024.

Note: “accommodation” refers to the cost of a double-occupancy hotel room and “entertainment” refers to outgoings on shows, excursions, etc.

Claire Millard
Ileana Ionescu
Last updated
6 May 2024

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