Credit cards declined in Baku

By Norm Dailey
This item appears on page 44 of the January 2020 issue.

My wife, Susan, and I took a group tour through the Caucasus in September 2019 and wanted to share a problem we had in Baku, Azerbaijan. 

Many local businesses indicated that they accepted Visa and Master­card, but when we went into a tourist office in Baku’s Old Town and attempted to use a credit card to book a private tour, our cards were declined; we tried two Visa cards, one from Chase Bank and one from Bank of America. Luckily, we had enough local currency to pay for this tour.

We were back in Baku a few days later and went to a wine bar, where again our cards were declined.

It happened again in a restaurant with a handheld card reader. While at the restaurant, we contacted Chase using Wi-Fi calling. A Chase supervisor contacted Visa, and both said that no charge ever came through, so they were not the source of rejection. 

We had no problem getting local currency from ATMs with our debit card, but running to an ATM after dinner while my wife waited in the restaurant was a little embarrassing.  

Our card worked fine in Georgia.

Alexandria, VA