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HK money exchange: Citibank charges 3% ATM exchange fees - is that common?

HK money exchange: Citibank charges 3% ATM exchange fees - is that common?

Feb 8th, 2007, 10:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 34
HK money exchange: Citibank charges 3% ATM exchange fees - is that common?

Hi, I'll be travelling to HK for the upcoming Chinese New Year. When I travel, I usually take my bank card and take out money at a local ATM that is affiliated with my bank (to avoid extra withdrawal fees).

This time, I'll be using Citibank because they have branches and their own ATM there. However, they told me that they'll be charging a "3% foreign exchange fee", is that common? When I used my Bank of America bank card in France recently and take out money from BNP Paribus, I didn't see any fees at all.

Anyone have experience with Citibank in HK? Are their rates competitive, even after the fees? Will I actually see TWO separate lines on my statement? One being the actual equivalent USD amount and the other being the fee amount?

Please kindly help...first time in Asia! Many many thanks in advance!!!
LeeLeeLee is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Yes, it's common. Citibank has done this all along, but only in the past year or so fully disclosed it so it appears on your statement as a 3% foreign exchange fee. You'll see it on your statement, and you will see that it skews your interest rate as well. We do not use our US based Citibank cards anywhere except the US because of this charge.

Most banks are similar. Very, very few do not do this...it's been talked about here before, so I'd try searching on ATM fee or something like that to try and pull up those posts.
KimJapan is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 04:34 AM
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The fee has nothing to do with Citibank Hong Kong, but your own Citibank account here.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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I've always used my Citibank ATM while traveling and sought out their ATMs if possible. Yes, it's true that they just started separating the fees out on their statements. Same goes for their credit cards.

And yes, you will see two separate lines on your statement. I did last year when we went to Thailand.

At this point, I think the only advantage to using their ATM as opposed to any other is that you won't get charged an additional "non-citibank atm" fee of a couple of extra dollars.
Kristina is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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None of the ATMs I know of in Hong Kong charge you extra. Therefore, there's no advantage to using a Citibank ATM in HK over other banks'.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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I know I've read a lot on this topic in the past but, is 3% really charged by every U.S. bank card for withdrawing your own funds from a foregin ATM?? I thought it was perhaps 1% or so.

While I recognize that in the grand scheme of what you spend on vacation this isn't huge but, its a 3% charge to get your own money, given to you in local currency from a foregin ATM. Someone should pass a law.......

Do any bank ATM cards not charge this? Is the answer to carry cash and change at a local bank, which can be a hassle?
tengohambre is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Search this site for transaction fees.

Also go to:

Becalm is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Most banks in the US charge a 3% foreign exchange fee when you withdraw money from a foreign ATM. Even many of those who have never charged this fee before are now charging it. My bank (US Bank) just started charging this fee in 2006. In the past, banks typically charged a 1% foreign exchange fee, which did not show up on your statement, but which was rolled into the transaction. A court ruling now requires banks and credit cards to show any foreign exchange fees on the statements.

Your bank likely charges you a fee for using a foreign ATM. Some banks charge a dollar or two, the highest I've heard of is a bank charging $5 each time you withdraw from an ATM in a foreign country. (This is the fee that Lee saves by using a Citibank ATM) Sometimes a foreign bank may charge you for using their ATM. This isn't common in the places I've been in Asia. Only in VN, was I charged about $1 by the local bank each time I used an ATM. In no other place in Asia have I been charged by the local bank for using an ATM.

Do your homework. Since I like to use ATMs to access local cash in foreign countries, I found a bank that does not charge for using a foreign ATM and (better yet) has NO foreign exchange fees. I used this card while I was in Thailand and Malaysia in November, and it worked perfectly - with no fees. The account I opened was with HSBC, and is an internet savings account. I get no paper statements, and all business is transacted over the internet. The account pays 5.05% (and they had a offer to pay 6% on any "new" money in the account until the end of April, so I transferred a chunk of money out of my money market account).

There are certainly other banks in the US that don't charge foreign exchange fees, but you'll have to do some research to find them. Sometimes credit unions are a good option.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Becalm, that's a useful site for credit card fees, but I haven't found any site that gives similar info for ATM card fees. ATM and credit card fees are often different, even if issued by the same bank.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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I just checked and HSBC still has an offer of 6% interest on any new account opened or any new money transferred into an internet savings account, which is very good. I think you then get the ATM card. For a "no fee" withdrawal while abroad do you have to use a HSBC branch or, you can use any bank that accepts the HSBC ATM card? Thanks
tengohambre is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 08:37 AM
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I started with HSBC a number of years ago when they bought the bank I was using then.
I have used my HSBC ATM card all over Europe and in Japan and have never been charged a fee.....

Also their credit card has no extra fee above the usual 1%....
Mara is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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HSBC does not charge for the use of any ATM. The ATM you are withdrawing from may charge you. This is uncommon in Asia, but common in the US.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 01:16 AM
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The US bank that charges $5 per ATM transaction is Wells Fargo, so don't use your WF ATM card if you have one.

I also recommend HSBC online savings account. BEWARE: HSBC takes 4-5 business days for transferring money in or out of your account.

If you are just going to HK, just use cash. HK is safe, and there are many foreign currency exchange shops.
j_4tay is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 04:29 PM
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Capital One is one of the few US cards that does not charge the extra 3 percent. I dropped my Citi and other cards in favor of the Capital One.

kudzu is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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hello kethie. (or anyone that may be able to help

I finally saw my new statement which now shows in detail every single forign fee I pay and I'm shocked. I may go back to HSBC. can you tell me where the information about foreign fees is located I cant seem to find it.
and how easy or dificult was it to open the account
orgy7 is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Yup. I'm canceling my citicard because of the transaction fee of 3%.

My Paypal charges 1% transaction fee for foreign purchases and I can almost stomach that...but will probably search for a card that doesn't charge the fee.

zengeos is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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Orgy, are you in Thailand right now or the US? The situation for opening an account at HSBC in Thailand may well be different from the US.

In the US, you open an internet savings account by filling out forms on the internet. I seem to remember that I also had to fax a copy of my driver's license to them. I waded through pages and pages of disclosure statements, but ultimately called and asked about exchange fees. I was told that there were no exchange fees, and my experience with them indicates that is true.

You can also open an account with HSBC in person at a branch, but it isn't an internet savings account with the great interest rate. Others have reported that other kinds of accounts have different fees, so be sure to ask.

At this point, I'm using my HSBC account for all ATM withdrawals in foreign countries.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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Kathie - I have had an internet savings account with HSBC. I recently talked to their representative over the phone. I was told that most probably I will not be able to withdraw money from a foreign ATM machine with my debit/ATM HSBC card linked to my online savings account. By the way, I live in the US. So the representative suggested that I opened an online checking account (linked with the saving account) so I can withdraw money from foreign ATM machines with my HSBC debit/ATM card. Do you have online a savings or checking account with HSBC?
lxchiang is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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That's very odd. I have an online savings account with HCBS and had absolutely no difficulty withdrawing money in both Thailand and malaysia in November. I did call them (as I do all my banks and credit card issuers) to let them know my itinerary.

I'd call back and talk with another rep.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 02:38 AM
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thanks for all the info, good stuff.

I've checked out capital one, but they do seem trgger happy to nail you on some other charges. I've also checked out the HSBC card I kind of like having everhtying linked. (if I open online account)

the link posted in this thread shows HSBC charges 1-3 % depending on card. HSBC offers a card that gives back 1% on every purchase so dosn't that offset the charge? but I get the feeling this card is the one that charges 3% .

KATHIE I cant get a creditd card in thailand. im still a US reisdent and pay US taxes and the whole bit plus I'm no where rich enough to be able to use offshre banking.
orgy7 is offline  

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