ATM alternatives

May 23rd, 2007, 07:24 AM
  #1  
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ATM alternatives

Help, please. After being assured by my credit union that I could use my debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs in England, which I did two years ago with no problems--they just informed me that for some reason they have a block on withdrawals in Great Britain period. I'm leaving on Mon so not much time to work out an alternative. I've set up a credit card for cash advance withdrawals, but would only want to use that in emergencies. Are travellers checks my only option? Any other ideas? Thanks much
SusanE is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:29 AM
  #2  
 
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Find another credit union ASAP. Some of them can accept a cash deposit (not a check) and issue plastic the same day.

Good luck.

(Don't forget to tell your ex-credit union why they lost your business.)
Robespierre is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:30 AM
  #3  
 
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Well, Amex TCs in sterling can be cashed commission-free at a branch of Lloyds TSB Bank, which has a dense branch network.
Alec is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:31 AM
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American Express does not give away travelers' cheques. They build a substantial profit into the exchange rate.
Robespierre is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:31 AM
  #5  
 
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TCs can be a pain to cash/convert; some places don't accept them and I'm not sure your exchange rate will be any better than if you converted cash.

Personally I'd rather take cash with me and convert it (no, you won't lose it) and pay for as much as I could using a credit card.
Dukey is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:34 AM
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Some financial services firms offer preloaded debit cards, but I'm not sure how these will work abroad - and I've read there can be an upfront cost. You might also go back to your credit union and find out exactly what the problem is.

It sounds like travellers' cheques for a portion of your travel money would be a good idea. You should also change some US cash to pounds before you go, or take some US cash (e.g. $100-200) to exchange at the airport on arrival.

The other thing you could do (assuming you're sure your credit card will work in the UK) is to pay some cash (maybe $250-500) onto your credit card so that it has a credit position in advance. As long as you've got a Visa or Mastercard, you should be able to use it almost everywhere for almost all of your transactions.
Kate_W is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:40 AM
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How long is the trip? If more than a few days, I'd take maybe $300/$400 in cash and use credit cardsfor just about everything. You can exchange a bit of currency in banks as you need it but really you can use cc's for any but the smallest purchases.

You may not need to exchange more than $100 or so.

You could of course open a new acct in a bank/credit union - but if you don't want to deal w/ that - just take US$ cash to convert. Travelers checks are apain in teh you know what.

(I'd REALLY be upset w/ the credit union - did they tell you why?)
janisj is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:41 AM
  #8  
 
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oh - meant to add -- whatever you do, DON"T do cash advances on your credit card unless absolutely necessary.
janisj is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:43 AM
  #9  
 
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"...pay some cash (maybe $250-500) onto your credit card so that it has a credit position in advance."

Won't work. Credit card companies charge a Cash Advance Fee on anything you draw out, and it doesn't matter if your account has a credit balance.
Robespierre is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:53 AM
  #10  
 
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Also, paying a cash in advance can have serious consequences. Many of the features you enjoy on a credit card (purchase protection, trip insurance, extra warranty on goods bought, car insurance) MAY be voided as these are offered to you because you are buying on credit. Check on it first.
robjame is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:54 AM
  #11  
 
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Robespierre:

I know there'd be a cash advance fee, but wouldn't putting cash on the card prevent SusanE from paying the higher interest rate associated with cash advances?
Kate_W is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:55 AM
  #12  
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Thanks for all the ideas. The credit union branch manager says it's a VISA network requirement, but I don't think that's the whole story. It's a 3 week trip, with lodgings already paid for. I think I'm going to try a combination of these--see if I can open an account elsewhere & get a card, if not, prepay on my credit card to use for some advances, use credit cards as much as possible and take some cash. Thanks for all your help -- between my fury at the credit union for the bad info/policy switch and my panic over the short timeframe, I was really stuck on what to do. Thanks much to all
SusanE is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:57 AM
  #13  
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Uh oh. Just read the most recent comments. Guess I'll check with the card company on advances and how that works before I make that my fallback
SusanE is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:59 AM
  #14  
 
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Kate - NO
robjame is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 12:05 PM
  #15  
 
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Is your card from the Alabama Credit Union? I see some stuff on Google about that C/U blocking card use overseas due to "fraud risk"
Travelnut is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 12:30 PM
  #16  
 
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Classic story of horse, door, barn.
Robespierre is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 12:42 PM
  #17  
 
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Or a classic story of not being able to hits a stable door at ten paces.
Padraig is offline  
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