Canadian debit cards

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Sep 23rd, 2003, 11:24 AM
  #1
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Canadian debit cards

Any Canadians out there who have recently travelled in Fiji and Australia and used a debit card for purchases and/or cash withdrawals at an ATM? Also wondering about cashing American Express travellers cheques (in Canadian funds). My Visa charges 3.5% currency exchange on every transaction, so wondering what is best to use. Thanks
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 03:41 PM
  #2
LN
 
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You might check around for a Visa with no charges for currency exchange. I don't know if it's still true but Bank of America didn't charge when we went last year.

As for the ATM card - that would probably be tied into whatever servicer your card uses CIRRUS, etc.
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 05:22 PM
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Hi:

I'm Canadian & will be in New Zealand in 2 weeks am planning to only use my ATM card. Its been about 3 years since I last got travelers cheques & even used a Barclay's ATM in a small town in Kenya (since Barclay's is aligned with my bank, ScotiaBank, I only paid the exchange rate for forgien currency transactions or forgien ATM charges so was cheaper than haveing use the CIBC ATM next door to my house).

In New Zealand (& Australia) ScotiaBank is aligned with Westpac, so I plan our looking for their ATM (I got an address list from the Westpac web site of their addresses in all of the places we are staying). And the VISA web site has a world wide ATM locator showing lots in Fiji.

Hope this helps.

Z
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Sep 24th, 2003, 06:44 PM
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I'm Canuck and was in OZ last March, used ATM,s all over with no problem. You just have to make sure it is for your system ie. Cirrus etc. Some are not si won't work.
I have used ATM's all over the world with very few problems and generally find I get the best rate, most convenience. Have'nt used travellers cheques in years - why bother? With a credit card or two and ATM card you can go anywhere.
I usually get some local currency in Canada before leaving from AccuRate. They usually have decent rates.
Bon Voyage.
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Sep 24th, 2003, 06:50 PM
  #5
MD
 
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Both my wife's Royal Bank and TD Bank ATM cards worked in New Zealand a month and a half ago for ATM withdrawl. She didn't try EFTPOS (debit at the register). As long as it's part of the "Plus" network you should be OK.

I assume that would go for Australia too. After all they worked in France, Italy and Britain ATM machines.

We have the 4-digit PIN, which I have heard mentioned is a necessity in Europe. Don't know about the other side of the world.
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Sep 24th, 2003, 10:56 PM
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Christo:

Since you use AccuRate, I assume your from the Ottawa area - they arn't bad (I'd tried the ones in Toronto but they gave a very poor exchange rate & charged a 3% service fee).

But last year when I was planning for a trip to Kenya I found info on the 'ABM Global Aliance' vias ScotiaBank -http://www.scotiabank.com/cda/content/0,1608,CID4710_LIDen,00.html

I found that so convienent (& no transaction charges with a 'partner' bank) & got so used to then using my ATM card that I no longer even bother to get forgien currency, just us the ATM (the VISA site even provides an airport map for major cities that I've found to be extremely accurate).

But I've always got a 'backup' to my ATM card by 'prepaying' my VISA with what I used to take in travelers cheques (so while both are dead money, as its prepaid), having a positive balance on my VISA means no interest on cash advances (& if I don't use it for cash advances, much of my hotel expenses are paid for when the next bill comes in). I've chosen that method rather than having my VISA linked to my back accounts, as my bank indicated that there is a good chance that if I reported my ATM card lost/stolen when I'm out of Canada all ATM access to my accounts would be denied for security purposes.

Later,

Z
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Sep 25th, 2003, 05:37 PM
  #7
MD
 
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3.5% on exchange??? What VISA are you using?

CIBC Aeroplan VISA gave NZ dollar at about 1.212195 per $CDN on Aug. 8th. The internet currency converter tells me the rate was 1.23133; just under 2%, assuming the internet was correct.

I would never use a VISA and bank account/ATM from the same bank anyway, because if you are in an arguement with them over charges, the card agreement says they can take assets from your other accounts.
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Sep 26th, 2003, 06:35 AM
  #8
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The 3.5% is a service fee charged by
CIBC Aeroplan gold for all transactions involving currency exchange. It has nothing to do with the rate of exchange between two currencies. Sorry for the confusion.
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Sep 28th, 2003, 03:53 PM
  #9
MD
 
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No... I think you mean your card.

My CIBC Aeroplan VISA charges about the same as the exchange rate (see numbers in previous post). There are no additional service charges fees, or anything. The rate fluctuates from day to day following the currency rate, to the 4 digits.

For ATM withdrawals, the fee was $3.00C, which for an international transaction wasn't bad. There is no detail on the exchange rate, but it appears to be in line with the VISA rate.

The exchange rate for the ABM C->NZ was 0.82735, or 1.2087; for VISA at the same time (transaction posted the same day) it was 1.206832. Pretty darn close...

I have seen comments on various other forums (esp. European) about this fee. While Canadian banks love to stick it to us in service fees, I have never seen a 3.5% service fee. I think what marginal profit there is, the banks get from the buy/sell spread of about 2 cents.
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