When you use a foreign credit or debit card in Uruguay you get the 22% VAT deducted from restaurant bills and car hire.  Just present your card and when you get the bill back to sign, the VAT will be knocked off automatically.

This amazing benefit is available till April 2020.

Why such a brilliant benefit you may ask? Reality is, it is designed to attract tourists from Argentina who have historically made up the bulk of visitors to Uruguay. Argentina is often in economic strife, and so it’s a benefit to ensure they don’t decide to holiday at home.

And another great benefit for travellers to Uruguay, hotel rooms are tax free.  So lucky you!

VAT deductions on car hire and hotel services

The list of VAT deductions when you pay using a non-Uruguayan credit or debit card in Uruguay includes:

  • Hospitality services at restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, hotels and hostels. It doesn’t include the cost of accommodation, but it does include alcoholic drinks!
  • Catering and other services for parties and events
  • Car hire.

This offer applies to credit and debit cards. VAT in Spanish is called “IVA” (pronounced EE-vah). The Ministry of Tourism provides this information in English on Benefits for Tourists though it doesn’t mention the end date. Visit the page in Spanish to see the the end date.

Which credit cards are most accepted in Uruguay?

The most popular credit card in Uruguay is VISA which dominates with 70% of the market. Also useful to have are Mastercard and the local OCA card. Beware that American Express and Diners, popular cards in the USA, are virtually unknown here and you may find that very few places accept them.

 

[Article first published:  Jul 31, 2015 and last updated on the date above]