Credit Cards and Traveler's Checks
While it's a sensible precaution to carry a
percentage of your funds in the form of travelers' checks, they are
certainly not convenient for everyday use, except in Sofia and the
coastal and ski package-resorts. Elsewhere you'll be lucky to find a
private exchange that will touch them, and even banks can be
reluctant to accept any but the particular brand to which they're
affiliated. If you can't find a branch of Bulbank (which accepts any
brand bearing the Eurocard or Mastercard logo), a three- or
four-star hotel is your best bet for changing checks. In holiday
resorts, be prepared for a commission charge of up to five percent.
Credit cards can be used to pay for car rental, and at top-notch
restaurants and hotels in the major cities and resorts, but can only
be used throughout most of Bulgaria as a means of obtaining cash
from an ATM. You can in theory get cash advances in leva with
Eurocard, Access, Visa, Diners Club and Mastercard, but most banks
are still either unequipped to deal with the procedure or simply
can't be bothered. Again, Bulbank is likely to be able to handle
transactions more efficiently than other banks.
Almost all cards can also be used to get cash from ATMs, which are
relatively plentiful in city centers but much rarer in other areas.