ATM Alert-Please Read!

Apr 29th, 2002, 12:34 PM
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A lot of the confusion on this thread is due to the fact that what Europeans generally call a "credit card" is not a credit card at all. With the exception of Amex, Diners and the like, there is no credit or grace period. It gets debited to your checking account at once. You never get the option not to pay, as in the US. You already did!
Apr 29th, 2002, 02:11 PM
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I understand what you're saying. I never use a Visa card for a cash advance as the fees are stagering. I don't think you understand what I'm asing so I'll try again. I use my ATM (without logo) for lots of everyday purchases at the grocery store, post office, pharmacy etc. and often get cash back as well. This is all done on my ATM card (without logo) why would I have any need for an ATM card with a Visa logo?? (I have a real Visa and American Express credit card I use as well....but sometimes it's just as easy to use my ATM so the money comes out immediately and I don't have to pay a bill in a few weeks). Some people are writing as if you can't make purchases with a straight ATM card and this just isn't the case. The only difference is that instead of just swiping, I do ALWAYS have to enter my PIN. Do you understand my quesiton? I'm not sure why anyone needs the kind with the logo if they have other REAL credit cards??
Apr 29th, 2002, 03:30 PM
Tom from Sacramento
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No matter what, ATMs or debit cards are the best way to get cash in Europe. You get a great rate of exchange. Take the precautions and go for it.
If you use alphabetical letters for your pin, be alerted that European ATM machines do not have letters on the keys. Figure out the number before you go.
Apr 29th, 2002, 03:49 PM
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Dear Mustbedumb:

I explained it up above. Many merchants accept debit cards with logos such as NYCE or Maestro at POS terminals and you can do exactly what you said i.e. pay for groceries and even get cash back at some groceries. Some banks charge each time you use a debit card at a POS terminal.

You cannot go into a bank with such a card and get a cash advance which as I described above is a cash withdrawal. You have to use such a card at an ATM as it only works with a PIN number.

Visa debit cards usually have the name of one of the shared teller networks such as Maestro or NYCE. They can be used exactly like ATM cards at POS terminals. You swipe the card and enter your PIN number. They can also be used just like a credit card at non POS terminals where you swipe the card and sign an invoice slip. As some of the posters have pointed out, this can lead to rapid emptying of chequing accounts if such a card is stolen or compromised as no PIN is necessary.

For the most part, POS terminals do not work for American debit cards in Europe. When you go into most merchants, your debit card is treated as a credit card and a signature is required. For the most part, other than to access ATM's, you cannot use the plain vanilla ATM card.

As I pointed out, about the only advantage of debit cards is that you can go into a bank branch and use it to withdraw cash as if you were making a credit card cash advance. This is a signature transaction, not a PIN transaction. For the most part, you cannot go into a bank and use your ATM card to withdraw cash. You can only use it at an ATM.

Maybe that clarifies it.
Apr 29th, 2002, 04:33 PM
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I second Jeff's reply. In some place in Europe I feel much safer (and won't have to worry about the ATM machine eating my card)if I can go into a bank to withdraw cash with my Visa check card.
Apr 29th, 2002, 05:30 PM
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Thanks Jeff for the clarification. I appreciate that. For our purposes, we have no need to go into a bank for cash. We each have 2 ATM cards (incase one is lost, doesn't work or becomes demagnatized) that we use to obtain locacl currency. We use our AmEx or Visa for large charges like hotels, etc. For our needs, the ATM without the logo suits me fine. Thanks again for the explanation.
Apr 29th, 2002, 05:49 PM
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I wish you'd all get a grip!!!!!!!!

Take care of whatever you have!! You all walk around expecting gypies, beggars and thieves!

Know where you are and what you are doing!

why don't you all stay at home and chill out by the BarBQ..and leave traveling to those who can handle it.

I'm sick of what to wear,what to take,what colors,which hotel, where to go..I want to hear what you did, where you went,whatever Need advice on hotel or restaurant ..fine..but why all these scare rumors and supposed difficulties?

Grow up or stay home! Figure it out...Momma said you are a big boy now!!
Apr 29th, 2002, 06:04 PM
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By the way, Mr/Mrs. Know it all, this did happened to me when visiting Chicago. My wallet was stollen and my ATM card was used. Lucky for me, I was very low on cash in my account so the thieves couldn't spend much before the card got rejected. You don't have to be out of the country to find yourselve in a mess like this. I filed a police report and told close friends and family, but I admire someone like Mary who uses this forum to give sound advise to help others. Don't ever presume it can't happen to you.
Apr 29th, 2002, 06:26 PM
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Thanks for the alert. When my bank was taken over by another bank last year, I was issued a new ATM card by the new bank. It was a debit card with a Visa logo. I told them I did not want a debit card as I only use it at the ATM for cash withdrawals. I was told that this is what this bank issues, there's no charge for the debit card, I can just use it for ATM withdrawals, and the PIN is needed for its use. This post has opened my eyes. I went to the bank today and insisted on an ATM card (with no debit capabilities) and they are reissuing it with no problem.
Apr 30th, 2002, 08:35 AM
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I just posted on the similar thread, too, my thanks for all of you that went into detail about ATM theft.

While I am protected by my bank for any amount stolen over the first $50, one of the posters was right that the bank would have to freeze account activity for the 2-3 weeks it would take to investigate the claim.

There are advantages to the ones with logos. At my bank for my type of account, the VISA-logo one inccurs few to no transacation charges; the non-logo card does.

Still, I decided $1.75 in transaction charge for $300 in Europe is worth it for the peace of mind.

So here's my plan of action: I'm ordering a non-logo one for use in Europe, but will continue to use my regular one here.

No matter what, it's worth a call to your bank to check out all the details.

Thank you, Mary, and thank you everyone else for pushing us to close a loophole in our security.
Apr 30th, 2002, 09:24 AM
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Although I only use my ATM card (without logo) at one or two gas stations, I've never incurred any fee for using it there?? Of course, my straight cash withdrawls are only at my own banks (Wells Fargo)so there's never a charge. I've never used mine for regular shopping like many of you but I've never incurred a transaction fee when used to purchase gas. Must depend on the merchant and/or the bank.
Apr 30th, 2002, 10:29 AM
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When i was first offered a debit card, I read the small print carefully. My conclusions: debit cards do not have as many safeguards and protections as EITHER credit cards or ATMs. Therefore, I have kept a plain old Visa credit card, that does not work at ATMs, and a plain old ATM card. I don't know whatehr the rules have changed, but until I'm sure that they have, I feel safer, if a bit old fashioned, doing things this way.
Apr 30th, 2002, 10:47 AM
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Carol: Most of us never requested a debit card per se. For our ATM card, we were issued one, without our request, one that had the MC or VISA logo.

And that's what's causing the problem.
Apr 30th, 2002, 11:50 AM
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Here are my two questions. Anybody know the answers?

1. What's in it for the banks? Why are banks issuing ATM debit cards without the request of the customer? It would seem that the banks might prefer the credit cards be used so they could charge interest.

2. Does anyone know whether a debit card will max out at if the checking account is empty, or will it trigger the overdraft protection on the checking account? Is so, then one might be at risk for hefty charge-backs to the credit card account that backs up the checking overdraft protection.
Apr 30th, 2002, 11:53 AM
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I have a perfectly good ATM card which the bank tried to replace with a VISA logo'ed debit card. After reading all the fine print, I also noticed that my ATM card would be cancelled within 30 days of activating the debit card. I have yet to use it, and have been getting $5 rebate offers on first use from the bank. Guess those cards must be a moneymaker for them.
Apr 30th, 2002, 01:32 PM
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jjj -- is someone holding you down and forcing you to read these posts? You need to get a grip! Ignore any post you do not want to read; maybe you have ODed on Fodors and need to take a break.
Apr 30th, 2002, 02:38 PM
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Bank of America issues a debit card with a photo of you on the card.
Makes it very difficult to use if stolen.
Apr 30th, 2002, 04:14 PM
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Not if all you have to do is swipe it through one of those machines for merchandise or cash.
Apr 30th, 2002, 04:44 PM
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You're right Dallas. I've used mine all over the USA (haven't been to Europe yet)and it is very rare that the card leaves my hand...swipe and go, 99% of the time, maybe once in a great while someone has asked for I.D. but seldom and never at a gasoline station do they run out and ask for I.D. If it had a picture, I'd be the only one to see it.
May 18th, 2002, 10:15 PM
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Well,we just returned from 3 countries in Europe...France,
Switzerland and Italy, I'm happy to report that we had no trouble using our
ATM card whatsoever...even in tiny towns, and (like others) shortly before
departing the USA on April 30, 2002...we too changed to an ATM without the
Visa/Mastercard logo. All you need is your PIN (4 digit) and hopefull you will
have no trouble whatsoever. We had a glorious, though some rain, vacation
and obtained cash easiliy in each country we visited. Don't hesitate to convert
your ATM with peace of mind, no problem without the logo as the bank may
lead you to believe..?? MerrilyS.

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