ATM machines

Old Apr 30th, 2008, 09:29 PM
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ATM machines

I have a United States Bank of America ATM card that is not useful outside the United States. The bank has no affiliations with any bank in Asia. I would like to get an ATM visa card with a Cirrus and Plus accessability to overseas ATM machines but I don't know where to get one. Please tell me about how to get a useful ATM card - what bank to contact, what to ask for.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 09:33 PM
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Check your current card...it's probably got Cirrus and Plus. If not, Bank of America can certainly issue you one.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 04:41 AM
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Your BofA card should work just fine in most ATM's. The problem is the $5USD fee, plus the foreign currency exchange fee that's added to each ATM withdrawl.

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Old May 1st, 2008, 05:31 AM
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Bisbee is absolutely right - your ATM card will work world-wide. If you don't do a lot of foreign travel, it's probably not worth it to open a new account somewhere that doesn't have ATM charges and charges only 1% on foreign exchange (BofA charges 3%).

In general, cerdit unions and brokerages often have cards that have no ATM fee (and even reimburse you for any ATM charges from the bank that owns the machine you use) and often they charge only 1% on foreign exchange. For instance, I have an ETrade Bank checking and savings account that does this, someone else cited their Fidelity account, and many people have mentioned credit unions. Ask the questions, and make sure you read the fine print in everything they send you. Financial institutions are well-known for changing terms frequently.

Also, when you are overseas, don't use your debit card - use a credit card. You don't have the same rights with an unauthorized charge made to a debit card. While you bank will likely reimburse you, it can take months. Fraudulent use can wipe out your whole bank account. Frankly, I never use debit cards anywhere - I like having the recourse that using a credit card offers.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 06:04 AM
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Foreign ATMs require 4-digit PIN codes, so if your card uses something other than that, ask your bank how to cahnge your PIN. By the way, do make sure you inform your bank if you will be using your ATM card in a foreign country. Otherwise your bank may turn off your access to ATMs. Likewise, inform credit card issuers when you are going to a foreign country,
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Old May 1st, 2008, 06:51 AM
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Believe me, I appreciate each of these responses. I have a 1% charge on my BofA card. I use the debit card for local currency not for purchases. I do have a 4-digit pin. I let the bank know when and where I will be out of the country. Despite all of this, I have had great difficulty using my card out of the country and I don't understand why. I do not have a Cirrus or Plus logo on my card and I understand I need that for true international use. I will call the bank about that today. In Argentina, I had a local help me find a machine that would accept my card. We went to several banks before we could find one that would honor my card. I had the same trouble in South Africa and Montreal. I am now heading to Thailand. BofA said they had no reciprical banks there. After several weeks in Burma (which will be prepaid and I know they don't have ATM machines) I'll be in other Asian countries where I will need to use my debit card to access funds. This sounds crazy but my card isn't working dependably. There's money in the account, but only a select number of machines will even accept my card. I have yet to find an ATM at an airport that I can use.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Very weird. Your BofA card should be part of the cirrus and plus networks and should be usuable at any cash machine in the world that accepts cards in those networks. Do call you bank. They may need to give you a new card.

It's been eight years since I last banked at BofA, but I used my ATM card all over the world without problems.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 12:57 PM
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I just had quite a long conversation with a person at the bank. They said BofA has no connection with Cirrus, but I could use ATMs with the Plus logo. I can only hope she is correct. She did give me the name of several banks in Thailand where I could use the debit card. There would be a $5 charge plus a 1% fee because it is not an associated bank, and that is fine and understandable. If it is true that I can use those bank ATMs (and I have to have faith that it is) I will be able to access my checking account. As I previously mentioned, I have felt foolish even asking these questions, but after several trips with the same experience I knew I needed to solve this problem before I headed out again.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 01:31 PM
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Save the hassle take cash- every one takes cash! Keep it in a security wallet under your shirt- I have done this on every international trip and have had no problems whatsoever. Exchange your $US at the airport exchange booth for local currency. Take a credit card along as insurance.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 01:33 PM
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I'm glad you got an answer from the bank!
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Old May 1st, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Even though I live in Thailand, I still have an account at B of A with an ATM card. I *can* use it everywhere, and have, but as noted above, I avoid using it because of the fees. I generally use my Kasikornbank ATM card overseas, because oddly they don't charge any fees.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 06:41 PM
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We have used our Bank of America cash card for the past 5 years plus in Asian bank machines-you can definitely use it at most banks in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia,or Singapore, and those few in Japan that take Int'l cash machine cards (rather than just local cards). We've never had a problem-ever!
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