ATM's and Credit Cards

May 7th, 2007, 05:53 AM
  #1  
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ATM's and Credit Cards

We will be leaving shortly for a vacation in Singapore and Borneo (Kota Kinabalu). When I was last in Thailand and Malaysia many years ago, VISA was the prefered credit card with MasterCard relatively unheard of. I do realize that most places there are a cash economy but if I need a credit card, is MasterCard widely accepted? Do most ATM's have a prefered card?

Thanks.....
mceby is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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You are right, it used to be that you could use Visa but Mastercard was something of a novelty. In the last 15 years or so, Mastercard has become more recognized, to the point that I haven't seen a place that accepts Visa but not Mastercard for quite a while.

For ATMs, the issue is which network your card taps into (Plus or Cirrus, for instance). I've not had problems finding a machine to take cards from eithr network. By the way, in KK we found that there were many ATMs that took only local cards. We could always find one that takes international cards, if we looked a bit. I remember that the ATMs from May Bank took our cards.
Kathie is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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Do check with your bank before you leave as many charge a currency conversion fee for ATM withdrawals (Citibank charges 3% - they were also spectacular when I had issues with a bad ATM in Bali). I think it was Kathie who established an HSBC account that did not do this -- was that you Kathie ?? -- but they didn't have branches in much of Indonesia when I checked earlier this year.
Some merchants will add a fee if you use a credit card to make purchases. We carried Amex and and a Mastercard -- a few shops would not take the Amex.
jenskar is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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jenskar, I did establish an interenet savings account with HSBC specifically to withdraw money from ATMs while in foreign countries. It charges no converstion fee and does not charge for use of foreign ATMs (you don't need to look for an HSBC ATM). You may get charged by the ATM you use - something I've seen only rarely in Asia (VN charges about US$1 per withdrawal, for instance). I've never had an ATM fee charged by the ATMs in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore.

You are right to note that most credit cards charge 2% or 3% on foreign exchange.
Kathie is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Thanks Kathie and Jenskar. I checked with Mastercard and VISA and was horrified to learn of all the charges and surcharges. As a last resort, I went to the local regional bank where we have our house accounts and found that they have no additional charges for using their Mastercard. In fact, they will reimburse us up to $6/mo for ATM fees. I guess that is the card we will be using. Kathie, I really appreciate all of your wisdom and advice. We have lined up some great side trips and are excited to get going. While my dear wife is still struggling with the idea of leach socks, she is ready for this new adventure. She did ask about dress codes. At 57, she won't be wearing anything really revealing but asks if there are any cultural issues she should be aware of. Thanks again for your help
mceby is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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In Singapore and Borneo, there won't really be dress issues she'll run into. As you noted she won't be wearing revealing things, which is the only issue I can think of for her.

Will you being going to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge or another place out in the rainforest? Our Borneo trip was an amazing experience. We're headed to another rainforest (with our leech socks) in November!
Kathie is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 09:55 PM
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HSBC Premier World credit card has "no foreign transaction fees on purchases made in a foreign currency." According to others, you'll need to be a premier customer (have at least $100k) to qualify for the card.

For more info, here is the link.
http://www.us.hsbc.com/1/2/3/persona...ier/privileges



j_4tay is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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j 4tay, you post is a good reminder that every bank has lots of different kinds of accounts and lots of different kinds of cards. I remember Laurico said she had a creidt card with HSBC that did not have a foreign exchange fee. I don't have a credit card from HSBC, just the internet savings account with an ATM card.

Someone posted that there is a Capital One Visa card that has no exchange fee. Personally, I use my United Mileage Plus credit card for most purchases in Asia. It does charge 3%, but since I use my miles in such a way that they are worth something like 20 cents a mile, I figure I still come out far ahead!
Kathie is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 04:30 AM
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Thanks for all of the info on the ATMs and charge cards. Kathie, is it possible for you to tell us how you use the United Plus card to such great advantage? Jeanne
jeno is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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I use my miles to upgrade from economy to Business class on flights to Asia and Europe. The cost of an upgradeable economy class ticket to Bangkok from Seattle is US$1200 -$1400; the cost for a business class ticket is $US7300 - $7500. It is 60,000 miles for a roundtrip upgrade.

The miles seem to be worth the most when I use them to upgrade from Seattle to London!
Kathie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Yep Capital One credit card does not charge conversion fee.
funnetbabe is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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But you have to get the "right" Capital One card... some do have conversion fees, some don't.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 11:55 AM
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Kathie, I was going to open an Online Savings Account with HSBC Direct, but in answer to an email question about foreign transaction fees they said: "The conversion fee is one percent." Which account do you have?
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 12:18 PM
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I have an online savings account. When I opened it last year, I was told there was no conversion fee, and I did not have one charged to me on any of my foreign transactions. Perhaps they have started to collect a 1% conversion fee. I guess I'll know after I use the card in Bangkok in November! (By the way, before I opened the account, I called back three times on this question just to see if they gave a consistent answer. All three people told me no fee.)
Kathie is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 04:30 PM
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In online articles, it says that VISA and Mastercard charge 1%, which usually gets passed on to the consumer. So even if HSBC doesn't charge, the 1% from the Mastercard might still be added.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/...ard-fees_x.htm
smartcookie is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 04:40 PM
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smartcookie - the HSBC account comes with an ATM card, not a credit card. I have followed Kathie's advice to apply for a Capital One credit card, which has no foreign transaction fee, to replace my Credit Union Visa, which charges 1%. (I'd already stopped using my Citicard MC abroad, that charges 3%.)
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:58 PM
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I was referring to using the card to purchase something, not just to withdraw money since all ATM cards do this through Visa or Mastercard...
smartcookie is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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"since all ATM cards do this through Visa or Mastercard" Mine certainly doesn't, and I don't want it to. I use an ATM card to get cash directly from my bank account, and a credit card for purchases that I pay off at the end of the month.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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Let me start by saying that this discussion of banking applies only to the US.

I'm sure that what is causing some of the confusion in this discussion is that many cards that can be used in an ATM to withdraw cash from one's checking account are also "debit cards" with a Mastercard or Visa logo. These debit cards can be used to withdraw money from your bank account at an ATM, they can be ued to buy something in a store by using your pin number and the money is immediately withdrawn from your bank account, and they can be used more like a credit card at a store by running it as a credit card, requiring just a signature, but the money comes out of your bank account. Frankly, I never have one of those. I have credit cards and I have ATM only cards. The ATM only card has your bank's name on it, and will have a network symbol on the back. It can only be used to take money out of your bank account.

The debit card is a rather dangeous beast, as you do not have the protections that you have with a credit card should it be stolen. Also, a debit card can be used to quickly empty your bank account, and if your bank decides to refund your money (again, it's not guaranteed) it can take months to get your money back.

If you are headed out of the country, I recommend you leave a debit card at home. Ask your bank to issue you an ATM only card for use in ATMs. As mentioned, the HSBC online savings account comes with an ATM only card.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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I emailed HSBC asking about any fees while using the ATM card at a foreign ATM and here's what they said

"In response to your email, when using a non HSBC ATM machine there will be a 1.75 fee. There are no purchases
allowed with this card as this is only an ATM card and not a debit card."

Kathie, did you ever have to pay this $1.75 fee? Is it new?

And I agree. I only use credit cards for purchases.
smartcookie is offline  

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