AAA Visa Travel Money

Aug 6th, 2005, 01:17 PM
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AAA Visa Travel Money

Has anyone used this debit card before? Likes? Dislikes? I've gotten some information regarding $4.95 charge for AAA members for the card, $2.00 for international cash wishdrawals. $350 limit of cash/day. $2000. purchase limit/24 hours. What I've not read is, do they charge you a fee for purchases? My Chase Visa told me today they charge 1% per cash withdrawal and 3% for purchases! If the AAA Visa is less than that, I'm going that route. Does anyone have more information?
Austriabound is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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No - this card and the similar AMEX sponsored ones are not a good idea for mist people. They MIGHT be useful for a teenage w/o his/her own bank account.

But for others the card is a huge rip off. The use of travelers checks has fallen off so much that the companies are pushing these products to make up for the lost income.

You will be charged to open the card, to load it w/ your own money, to add more money if needed, to get money out of an ATM, to make purcahes w/ it -- AND even to withdraw any money left over after your trip.

Just use your ATM and credit cards . . . .
janis is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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Who are "mist people" ?

That should read " . . .not a good idea for most people"
janis is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 01:47 PM
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Janis is correct.

Why pay someone to access your own money when you can get it from an ATM for less?

Why pay to put money into a debit card when you can use a credit card?

ira is online now  
Aug 6th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Now AAA is following Amex. Stupid idea!
francophile03 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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The Travelcard is a VISA product - various outlets offer it, ie. Amex, AAA... not new... too many fees (they charge to put the money AND to take the money out, and everything in-between).

Just open a checking acct, get a free Check card, and fund the acct for travel purposes. Limited risk, same benefit as above ripoff card, and FREE.
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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Actually, I think AMEX followed AAA on this one -- not sure, but I think they had it first. I think the AAA card is really a Visa product which they added when they started using Visa for their travelers checks instead of Amex.

Aside from the charges you know about, which I think the worst is the $5 fee just to get the card (you can avoid the cash-out fee if you do it in person)--I think they do indeed have a hefty markup on the exchange rate. You should ask them that, I did, and that information was posted in some other thread on this topic which should be found in a search.
Search on AAA cash passport and it's the second post.

They have two different types of cards, as I recall (one for ATM only and one that can be used for purchases), and the markups vary a little on those two, but they are 5-7 pct for cash ATM withdrawals. The name you are using is the higher one, I think--they have "cash passport" and "travelmoney" products or something like that.
Christina is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Hello, Austriabound. I can't say much that hasn't already been said. I hope you are convinced by now. All of these people who have responded to you are regulars on this board and they are very experienced travelers. Please take this good advice and stick with your ATM card and your usual credit card. You will not benefit from the travel money card.
P_M is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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It works fine, we found, but as other's have said, it's added costs make it a worse idea than your own debit card (if you have one). Generally you can get a free account at a bank if you shop around, which was a great idea by Travelnut.

The AAA card, as I said, would work pretty much like any Visa, exceot with a lot of fees. We found the same with the Amex card (except more limited choices for ATMs as well). We'd only taken it so that we had a backup. We'd just changed banks and weren't getting a warm fuzzy that they understood we were going to be overseas and using our regular card. When they said "well, as far as I know, it oughta work", we decided to get the backup card! Didn't need it though, so I guess they were right.
Clifton is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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as long as you have a normal bank account with an ATM card attached to the checking account and a credit card(s), there's no reason to go this route. Way WAY too many fees and little benefits.

If for some personal reason you don't have/want an ATM or credit cards, I'd go with ye ole fashioned cash & Travelers Checks combo rather than this card.
suze is online now  
Aug 7th, 2005, 09:04 AM
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oh, I don't know about that -- if I really did not have an ATM card and couldn't get one, I think the AAA cash passport card would be a better idea than cash or travelers checks. It will be easier to use at an ATM than finding an exchange bureau with good rates, and the 5 pct markup will be lower than exchanging cash or travelers checks.

The $2 ATM fee isn't too different than a lot of bank ATM cards, and you can avoid the other fees, as I recall (you can avoid the original purchase fee if you buy one for $300 or something like that, which you would want, anyway). I'm talking about the one that is solely at ATM card, as the one that can be used for purchases (Travelmoney) is the worst deal for cash withdrawals and if you have a credit card, you don't need it for purchases.

I think those are better than the Amex ones from what I've read, and as someone above said, easier to use.
Christina is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 10:16 AM
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I agree that traveler's checks (especially in Austria) would be worse than the AAA card. A few years ago when I was waiting for a hard-headed member of my travel party to exchange cash at a BankAustria branch, the teller told me they charged $8 PER CHECK, regardless of the amount.
So if you gave them a $20 check to cash, you would pay the fee plus the lower exchange rate. You'd probably net less than half of that $20.
platzman is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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OK, good warning... I have only used TCs on especially long trips and never got dinged with that type of fee ($8 per check!), this was in Switzerland.
suze is online now  
Aug 7th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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I should emphasize, though, that the BEST backup is to open a second free checking account with a bank in your home town, and obtain a VISA or MC debit card.
As Janis already said, the pre-paid cards with all the fees are only useful if you can't open a bank account.
platzman is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 05:27 PM
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Thank you all very much for all of your insight! I am staying with my ATM and credit card. I knew I would get a lot of good info by asking on this site.
Austriabound is offline  

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