When you use a foreign credit or debit card in Uruguay you get the 22% VAT deducted from restaurant bills and car hire. Obviously saving you a huge amount.
Just present your card and when you get the bill back to sign, the VAT should be knocked off automatically until April 21 2017.* Though if you are planning to visit later on don’t worry. This benefit has been rolled over year after year for the last few years.
And another great benefit for travellers, hotel rooms are tax free.
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, except for the cost of accommodation
Catering and other services for parties and events
Self-drive car or vehicle 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 on Benefits for Tourists.
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.
*This article was updated on August 3 2016.