ATM or Chedit Card?

Jun 12th, 2004, 05:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 17
ATM or Chedit Card?

I can get the fee waived on my ATM card to use it in China. I heard that using an ATM will give you a better exchange rate than a credit card will. True?
berned_you is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 05:57 AM
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I believe both the ATM and credit cards charge a one percent fee for using the network, and get the same or comparable exchange rates. However, many credit card issuers, and I think some ATM card issuers, add their own percentage to the one percent charged by the network, and this can bring the fee up to three percent or more. My suggestion is to get credit cards and ATM cards from institutions that do not add their own markup to the transaction. If you can achieve that, you have the convenience of using either card without penalty. I reviewed our records after a few trips and, given the constraints that the exchanges are always on different dates, when the exchange rate varies from date to date, found no benefit for using one over the other.

I'm also told that your ATM card has to be associated with a checking account, not a savings account (this may be a USA government requirement, and not applicable to non-USA banks), but I have been successful using a 4 digit PIN with an ATM card associated with a checking account, and using a VISA or Mastercard. Just for my own security, I keep a nominal amount in the checking account, and do an on-line transfer from savings to checking account when I need more in the checking account. I'm just not comfortable with the idea that someone could steal my ATM card and, by using it as a credit card, drain my account.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
There have been a couple of previous threads (actually quite long threads) regarding this question. Generally, the answer was yes, you can get a better exchange rate using your ATM plus you do not have to pay any extra fees aside from the typical withdrawal fee that a bank may charge. I double-checked with my own bank for my up-coming trip to Thailand and found the information (at least about the ATM usage) to be true.

jlaughs is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Depends on your credit card and bank card. Regardless of what you use, you will get a 1% charge (usually embedded in the exchange rate). On top of that, it depends. Some cards like MBNA don't charge any extra. AE charges another 1%. Some other cards charge an extra 2%.

You should ask your bank about their ATM. While they usually don't put on extra percentage charge (over that 1%), many charge you $3 or more for using an ATM other than their own. The ATM owner in China won't charge you fees.

It's the same in China and other countries.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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The best way to get cash is an ATM card. Some credit cards work in ATM machines, but typically, they consider a cash withdrawal to be a "cash advance" for which they charge heavy fees (typically a cash advance fee, plus interest on the cash advance and often, any credit card charges beginning the day of the cash withdrawal). Also, some credit cards will give you a cash advance at the teller window if a bank, but again with the same heavy loading of fees.

I've not heard of an ATM card that charges more then the 1% over the bank rate (which is almost always better than you could get exchanging cash). Most credit cards in the US charge 2 -3% over that rate when you make a credit card purchase. There are a few which do not.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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This really has nothing to do with China or Asia travel, but even if my credit card charges 1% or 2% more than bank rate, I'd still use them primarily, because they are safer. You don't have to have a lot of money in your bank, you can easily dispute a charge with credit card company, etc...
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Good point, rkkwan. And I use my credit card a lot (to charge things, not to get cash) because I also get frequent flier miles which enable me to fly business class on my trips to Asia or Europe.
Kathie is offline  

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