ATM machines

Sep 19th, 2007, 06:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 66
ATM machines

Help. I have a Visa ATM card from Bank of America. I was just in Canada and had trouble finding places where I could use it. I am now going to South Africa for a month and I'm concerned about the secrets of using ATM machines there. From BofA I got the name of several banks in South Africa I could use, but I got that same information for Canada and it wasn't correct. My bank also said I could use any machine that had Plus but that didn't work in Canada either. Any help you can give me will be appreciated. I hate the thought of getting to Africa and not having access to my money here in the states.
djoycejones is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 03:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Change banks.

If BofA can't tell you why your ATM couldn't work in Canada, I wouldn't trust it elsewhere.

And, you should have two ATM cards (different financial institutions), just in case one of them is damaged or gets eaten by those machines... always have a backup plan.
sandi is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 04:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 105
I'm going to SA in October. Is it safe to use an ATM machine in the airport of Jo'Burg or should I wait until I get to Capetown?
eezam is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 04:32 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4
Hi There!

I live in South Africa and have a BOM Visa debit card attached to our BOM account and it works perfectly! I draw money using my pin and also use it for point of sale.

Hope this sets your mind at rest.
Litty is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 04:51 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 72
Just to confuse things. I have an ATM card from a Major Midwest bank and have used it all over the world at ATM,s.
It would not work at all in SA. I checked with my Bank, they said there should be no problem. I even had a teller at one bank try and it would not work. (kept on getting an "invalid transaction" message). At supermarkets and restaurants I had no problems using it as a credit card and inside the bank had a teller do a manual cash withdrawal, just no ATM,s. No one could give me an explanation.
shmulb is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 06:17 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Hi eezam

I know it costs each time you use your card, but DON'T be tempted to travel with large amounts of cash as you are just asking for problems. Coming from SA I would think one airport ATM is as safe as the other.

Just always be aware of people hanging around when you use an ATM and of petty thieves.
Litty is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,058
I've used my BofA Visa ATM all over SA, at JNB and CPT airports, at gas stations, markets.... no problemo.

The ATMs at the JNB international terminal are well located and there are plenty of people around to prevent theft or whatever. I've never felt insecure, but of course you should use the same street smarts you would if you were using an ATM at any major airport.
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 20th, 2007, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Let your bank know that you'll be traveling out of the country. The transactions may have been blocked for security purposes. This is true for credit cards, as well as ATM cards.
ShayTay is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 11:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 66
I had the same problem as Shmulb and I still have not solved it. Because an ATM had a Visa logo did not necessarily (and usually didn't) mean it would work for me. I talked with the bank and they had no suggestions. Thank you all for the information and advice. It is appreciated.
djoycejones is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 172
Here's what I'd do (and have done):

Find a smaller, local bank that doesn't charge extra for international ATM withdrawals and open a (no-fee) account with them. Deposit as much money as you think you might need, from your main bank, to this new bank. Check out the "little" bank's ATM to be sure they belong to the major "PLUS" & "NICE"(?) networks. ALL banks charge a transaction fee but the big guys like BofA also charge a percentage. I used my "little" bank card at JNB as well as Lusaka and elsewhere with no problems. Admittedly, I'm talking about a pure bank card, not a credit or debit card.
Come to think of it, BofA might also issue you a "pure" bank card in addition to your Visa card, but you'll get charged that percentage.
Pula is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 12:35 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 35
Seems very strange - I've used my (UK) Visa and debit (Maestro) cards all over the world and had no problems. Not everywhere takes both, but one or the other seems to fit 'card-enabled' shops and ATMs - if it takes plastic, I can get my money out. If the Visa logo is on the machine / shop I would expect it to take Visa - I mean, that's the whole point of having the card isn't it?

To be honest, it never occured to me before reading this forum that banks may stop foreign transactions as 'illegitimate'! Something to which I should alert any friends who don't travel much. Maybe my bank has given up on any security block, since I don't see how they could reasonably work it for my personal circumstances Due to this, I need to keep an eye on statements to make sure no-one has been doing unauthorised withdrawing of course - but the same holds if you use it in your home country!

Pula - that looks like a very good idea! The only thing I'm a bit confused by is "a pure bank card, not a credit or debit card". I have a ("small") Visa card (loan money) and a Debit card (money from my current account) - what do you mean by 'Bank Card'? Am I borrowing money or using my own or... I've never seen a third option (which may be my ignorance!) Am I missing a trick here? Limiting the amount of money accessible is ofc the key!

Wondering what I can do with a 'bank card'...

Ysandre is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 01:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 37
Take ShayTays advice and let your bank/credit card company know where you will be traveling and when so they do not block what would normally seem to them to be a "suspicious transaction". Just as important, they will watch for transactions at home while you are away.
kenyatraveler is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 172

I have no idea what I mean by a "pure" bank card! I just looked a the darn thing and it's a Visa card. Who knew!?! I never use it for anything except cash withdrawals at an ATM . . . On the other hand, my "little" bank card has no MC or Visa logo at all so I think that one is "just" an ATM card. Originally, that bank gave me a debit card but I asked them to take it back (don't like debit cards for philosophical reasons) and give me something else and they did. Bottom line is, it works.

Amen to the idea of telling financial institutions about your travel plans! It's a pain, but it's an even bigger pain to get shut off by the credit card's fraud department.
Pula is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 02:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,367
Visa ATM locator- Doesn't mean it will be working.
luangwablondes is offline  

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