Popular international credit and debits cards (VISA, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro) are generally accepted at ATMs where you can take out dollars or córdobas. Transaction fees differ depending on the bank and currency used, and it recommended that you limit your withdrawals in order minimise these
Certain ATMs in Nicaragua have been known to run out of money, however there is usually a way around this by taking out money in another currency. The limit on withdrawing USD per day from an ATM is $400.
Many people withdraw their money in USD then take it to a money exchanger on the street, known colloquially as coyotes and get it changed into córdobas. Coyotes tend to have better rates than the banks.
Paying by credit or debit card
Payment by credit card is not widely accepted in smaller establishments as they don’t want to pay the service fees. However, in larger establishments such as hotels and restaurants there shouldn’t be a problem.
Just like in some other Latin-American countries, ‘imperfect’ dollar bills (bills with rips, tears, stains, ink or holes) might not be accepted in Nicaragua. So, when you get dollars make sure they are clean, untorn and unmarked.
If you open your bank account with one of the widely recognised banks in Nicaragua you often have the option to pay your bills and top up your phone online, and have access to internet banking where you can perform national or international payments or set up a direct debit.
You should ask in the branch where you plan to open your bank account to specify exactly which services they offer and whether certain services can be included in your package.