AAA Travel Cards

Mar 27th, 2007, 04:55 AM
  #1  
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AAA Travel Cards

There has been some discussion on another thread about the use of AAA Travel Cards (issued by Visa) for withdrawing funds from ATMs in Europe. When the AAA Travel Card website offered no explanation of any currency exchange fees, I emailed the contact line for AAA, and asked specifically what the exchange rate would be when withdrawing funds from a foreign ATM. Here is the SHOCKING answer.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thank you for your e-mail regarding foreign exchange fees.

When using a AAA Visa Travel Money card overseas, if the card transaction is made in a currency other than that loaded onto the card the amount will be converted to the currency on the card. The exchange rate used is the wholesale money market rate or government mandated rate in effect on the day that the transaction is processed, increased by 7%.

We hope that this information is useful to you, however, please do not hesitate to contact us here again should you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely,
(Name witheld, as I did not ask permission to use it).
PrePaid Card Team
Global Customer Operations
Outsourcing
Travelex
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So for those of you considering getting these cards (that also cost to buy, cost to add money to, and cost to close out) I'd think twice unless you really enjoy throwing money out the window!

And just to further clarify, I have replied to that email saying that I believe I understand but would like further clarification that the 7% applies to ATM withdrawals as well as to purchases. It would seem so, but I also could see how "transaction" could be defined strictly as purchase. I will post here when I get a reply or confirmation on that issue.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 05:01 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 54
WOW!! Sadly I have already purchased this card and loaded money onto it. I had no Idea that it was that high. I am going home, and reading the fine print. This is sad because if you market the card as good to use over seas, then you should state clearly all the transaction fees that apply. We are leaving today, and cannot do anything about it, but I will let everyone know my thoughts about the card upon our return.
caltobello is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 05:07 AM
  #3  
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caltobello, I'm really sorry about that. I'm wondering if you can access funds through a regular ATM from your own bank account and "save this card" or get money from it in US dollars before going and put those dollars in your checking account. I don't believe there are any such fees connected with getting dollars from it, but I'm not going to guarantee that.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure how the accounting is shown when you use that Travel Card. It would be nice for all of us, if you document the usage of the card -- noting when you used it and how much in foreign currency the withdrawals or purchases were. When you get back we could easily go back to that date's exchange rate and see what you were charged. I'm not sure that they are required to list those charges separately like credit cards are now required to do.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 11:42 AM
  #4  
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Interesting that I got a pretty immediate email the first time, but my further request for clarification about it applying to ATM as well as purchases has so far gone unanswered.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 12:00 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 659
We used this travelcard a few years back and the one thing I remember is that if you withdrew all the money on the card they charged you a ridiculous fee of something like $15.
I would never use this again.
tudorprincess is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 12:06 PM
  #6  
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Yes there's a cost to close out the card of $15. If you spend all to below $15, you lose the balance or else you pay money to put more money onto the card, unless you can find something to purchase for exactly the amount you have left on the card. Takes some planning!

NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 12:08 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5
Well, if it turns out you can't use the card in the US, you might save it to use in a country where the currency is US dollars, like Ecuador.

macdougal28 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 01:23 PM
  #8  
 
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If you call their 800 number to get your balance remaining on yourcard, there is a fee deducted from your balance....TORA TORA TORA
steamer is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 01:30 PM
  #9  
 
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I knew these cards were a bad idea but I never knew exactly why. Thanks Patrick, for doing the research for us!
suze is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 02:09 PM
  #10  
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steamer, are you really serious? They charge you to find out your balance? That is just so hard to believe.

Next you'll be saying there is a $2 per time charge if you take it out of your wallet to look at it.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 02:17 PM
  #11  
 
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I guess this is like checking the balance on my pre-paid cell phone: dial the number, lose a minute
FainaAgain is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 02:18 PM
  #12  
 
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Hi Patrick, I am glad you started this thread as I cringe when I read posters saying they are thinking about getting the AAA Travel Card. You had warned me about this some time ago..something I never forgot. I sincerely hope anyone that is thinking about obtaining the AAA Travel card sees this thread of yours.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 02:21 PM
  #13  
 
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I learned that several years ago and posted it in a couple threads on here by now, if you search, it would probably be available. It's not a bank ATM card, so that shouldn't be too surprising, it's a special product aimed at travelers and you pay for it. They aren't going to give away anything for free. That's about the same rate as on their travelers checks if you want to buy them in euro, so it shouldn't be a surprise.

Yes, it is indeed for cash withdrawals. In fact, when I called, I think they had two different rates for purchases versus cash, and there was some different kind of fees, also, but I can't remember the details. I think maybe they dropped one of those products, also.

In fact, I think their rates are higher for cash withdrawals than for purchases, and it's not so bad if you buy something.

This information has been posted on this board various times when someone asks about this card, I believe. The extra fees can be high, but can be avoided in some ways, as I recall (eg, if you cash it out in person at a AAA office, you can avoid some other fee to cash out the card).

Here is one thread discussing it where the info. I had learned from AAA was fairly detailed:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...2&tid=34598823
Christina is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 02:23 PM
  #14  
 
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<<< Next you'll be saying there is a $2 per time charge if you take it out of your wallet to look at it. >>>

No that's the Ryanair travelcard - only it's £2 or €2
alanRow is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 04:38 AM
  #15  
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OK, this morning I have received a DEFINITIVE reply from AAA Travel Cards to clarify the 7% charges. Here it is:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thank you for your reply.

The 7% currency conversion applies to both ATM withdrawals and purchases. There is no variation on this according to the type of transaction that you are making.

We hope that this answers your question, however, please do not hesitate to contact us here again if you require any further assistance.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:14 AM
  #16  
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To the top as it is worth repeating if it saves one person from their "hidden" charges.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 9th, 2007, 01:31 PM
  #17  
 
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topping
kayd is offline  

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