AAA Cash Passport Card

May 25th, 2004, 12:31 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 25
AAA Cash Passport Card

AAA offers a prepaid ATM card bearing VISA logo. The card charges a $2 withdrawal fee in addition to several other currency exchange fees. Has any one here used it? and
what is your experience with this card?
ganesansgi is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 12:55 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
I looked at it, but didn't like some of the 'features'. I think it has a limited shelf-life, you have to pay to reload it or something. The amount you can load is not very much for a European trip, imo.

I just decided to open a free checking acct that is not tied to any other accts at my bank, and get a separate ATM card for it. I will move my cash ("prepaid") into that acct for travel expenses. No fees to me unless I incur the eventual non-Wachovia ATM use fee. This is a CheckCard (Visa logo) so it can be used as a 'credit' card (as far as the merchant is concerned) for purchases as well as to obtain cash.

Should the card become lost/stolen, the damage is limited to what I put in the account (which s/b replaced eventually by the bank, as long as I report it timely), and I will not experience any disruption with my regular checking acct, where I pay bills, have auto-debits for insur prems, etc.
Travelnut is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 02:38 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,247
I'm doing the same thing as Travelnut, except I ordered a card without the Visa logo so if lost or stolen it is useless. Fortunately my bank has reciprocity with several European banks so there are no out of network fees and the card is good at all Plus and Cirrus ATMs.
jody is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 05:58 PM
  #4  
 
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This card was introduced by AMEX/AAA to counteract the near demise of travelers checks. It is just another retail product. It has limited value - BUT the one instance where it does make sense is for a teenager or one who for some reason or other doesn't have a bank account.

They can use it just like any ATM/debit card w/o having to have a checking account.
janis is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 07:50 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Figure up your exchange rate when buying the thing. I calculated it at something like 6%. You could set up a limited fund checking account with an ATM card and pay the service fees much more cheaply than you can buy one of those "you just got stuck cards."

For example, I have an account. Gave my daughter an ATM card, told her what the limits were, sent her happily off to Europe. She knew the ropes of using it because we discussed it before hand and she did not overdraw. I checked the balance a couple of times on the computer and saw that she was ok money wise the whole time.
Of course she was not exactly a kid at the time. Added maturity helps.
So the bottom line is this: I would not have one of those silly things.
How do you restock them in case of an emergency when you are over here and they are over there.

if you want it for yourself, no way.
Just use your own checking account.
bob_brown is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 06:11 AM
  #6  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,145
Hi gan,

A 6% profit on the exchange rate plus $2 per withdrawl makes this a bad bargain.

ira is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 10:00 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,425
you know, I was going to get one of these as a backup because I read about them when they were first introduced and their terms weren't so bad then. However, I have read about them online and just called their office to clarify some of the fees, and they are really really a bad deal now. For example, they used to have about 6 free ATM withdrawals before they charged a fee, and they used to be free to AAA members.

Now, they have a $5 fee to "activate" and a $15 fee to "cash out", which basically means end the card, so if you just wanted this for a single trip, you'd pay $20 in fees, in addition to the $2 per withdrawal.

They used to claim the exchange rate was like any ATM card (which I was skeptical, but never tested it, as that would mean it was virtually free), but now they admitted that the exchange rate is 7 percent over the bank rate.

This is a terrible idea now: if you just bought a $300 card for backup in case your ATM didn't work or something (which was my plan, and then I'd cash it out back home if I had leftover money), you'd pay at least 15 percent commission/fees total (7 pct exchange, 7 pct flat fees then several $2 withdrawal fees).

I guess they figured out they weren't making any money on it when it was basically free. The amount and loading issue doesn't concern me as I would use it just as a limited amt. ATM card and didn't plan to reload it. YOu can buy one up to $1500, which is more money than I have ever spent on a vacation outside credit cards.

I agree its only value now is for a gift or for someone who doesn't have an ATM card.
Christina is offline  

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