ATM/bank choice for London trip

Oct 24th, 2004, 03:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 129
ATM/bank choice for London trip

Hi everyone,

This post is coming from a mom taking her kids to London who a. hasn't been to Europe as an adult, b. still writes checks for everything, and c. isn't at all familiar with ATMs and doesn't use cc's much.

I hope this doesn't seem like too naive a question, but after doing a search about this subject and reading what Patrick, travelnut, and others said, I still have a couple of questions. I have begun to save for our trip next summer to London and want to be able to use those funds during our trip separately from our family's checking account. From the advice suggested thus far, it seems that I should take an ATM debit card to withdraw money and a credit card for a backup. (I would rather use the cash I will have saved if possible).

I read from an earlier post that BOA has had an increase in withdrawals from some of their ATMs, but not from within their Global Network. I went to their website to try to see if there were ATMs in London that would be a part of that and thus not incur the fee, but I couldn't find anything. I know they have an office in London, so I assume the ATMs there would fall into that category but just wanted to make sure.

I want to go and open a free checking account this week and was wondering what bank- BOA, Wachovia, Commerce, etc. would be best for convenience and to lessen the fee charges? Is there a bank that will allow you get a debit only ATM card when you open an account like that? Again, I have looked on the websites' FAQ and can't find an answer- so I thought I would ask all of you. Thanks in advance for your patience with this novice traveler!
KandKsmom is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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KandKsmom, Bank of America partners with Barclays in the UK, and there are Barclays with ATM's on every other street corner (well almost). I have never had any charge at all withdrawing money from my Bank of America checking account at any Barclay's.
I can't guarantee if that free service will continue in the future, but so far, so good. I'd suggest if your other banking is with BofA, then I'd stick with them for the free checking with an ATM -- easier to transfer money from one account to another if you need to. Also, BofA offers certain "bonuses" if you have two accounts -- check that out when you open a second one.
Patrick is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 05:27 PM
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Thanks so much Patrick. You are always so helpful and I really appreciate all of the information I have garnered from you, Mr. Haines, and all of the other kind folks on this board. I was not as worried about the fees- I expected to have to pay something for withdrawing money from abroad- it is more a question of which network the various banks had and the convenience of those ATMs! The Barclays/BofA connection sounds great and I will head over to our local BofA tomorrow. Again thanks for your reply.
KandKsmom is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 05:36 PM
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I returned last week from a 21 day trip in England and made all my ATM withdrawals from Barkleys banks.
They print on their receipts...
I would recommend withdrawing the maximum permitted when making each withdrawal to minimize ATM costs charged by your home bank.
I would withdraw 200 pounds (about about$360) each time I went to the bank.
I haven't received my BofA statement yet so I don't know what their charges will be.
However; I used 2 other banks for comparison purposes.Their charges were:
Union Bank of California
Wells Fargo
$3.00 + $3.34 for"Non-Wells Fargo ATM Transaction Fee" total=$6.64 per withdrawal.

Guess what banks I am dropping?
don76 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 05:41 PM
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don, I'm about 99% sure that Bank of America won't charge you a thing for any of those Barclays withdrawals since Barclays is one of their partners. Let us know if they do charge, as things are changing rapidly these days.

Gee, I'd run from Wells Fargo!!
Patrick is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 06:32 PM
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KandKsmom, I agree with Patrick. I deal with a bank here in Canada ( Bank of NOva Scotia) who has an alliance with Bank of America and with Barcley's in Britian. I have not paid any fees. I have never paid a withdrawl fee from either of these banks. SO I would definaltey suggest that you get a Bank of America account. Every little bit helps, and there is no sense paying fees if you don't have to. IF you are saving moeny for your trip, I would not suggest that you carry alot of money around, but rather put it in your BofA account and withdraw and amount every few days.
ALso, for interest sake, anyone going to Australia or NBew Zealand, these banks are also in alliance with Westpac banks over there.
kodi is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 03:32 AM
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Just as a point of information...

The rules of cirrus and plus prohibit banks from imposing fees on ATM withdrawals for out of country ATM/debit cards.

Thus Barclay's Bank is not allowed to impose a fee on any US based ATM/debit card no matter what bank issues it. According to some, convenience store ATM's have found a way around this rule. Also, in theory, US banks are not supposed to impose the fee on Canadian cards although some Canadians have claimed that they are charged by some banks when in the US (perhaps the way around this is to clear the transaction through some other network than Cirrus or Plus).

So for the most part, you will pay whatever your bank chooses to rip you off with from the proper fee of $0 up to as much as $5.

You can also use an internet bank as an auxillary source of travelling funding. I use USAA Bank in San Antonio Texas with an account specifically meant and set up to provide travel funds through their ATM and debit cards. They charge no fees for as many as 10 transactions per billing statement and even rebate up to $15/month in those nuisance fees banks charge for having the gall to use a machine that is not that of your bank.

Or you can try ETrade Bank on the net ( again no charge for ATM withdrawals although you need a large balance for them to waive the fees the other bank charges but as noted above this is not a consideration when travelling to Europe.
xyz123 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 04:19 AM
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Just to clarify, I am talking about my home bank not charging fees. SO if you deal with a bank that is part of this alliance, you won't pay fees from either bank.
kodi is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 04:38 AM
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I use Bank of America and I was not charged for withdrawls from Barclay's machines. I also had no difficulty finding them, in fact, there was one at Gatwick airport which I used to start my trip.

I was surprised to find Barclay's machines in Spain when I was there earlier this year. I used those and was not charged.
P_M is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 04:54 AM
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Just a comment on something XYZ123 said:
"The rules of cirrus and plus prohibit banks from imposing fees on ATM withdrawals for out of country ATM/debit cards. Thus Barclay's Bank is not allowed to impose a fee on any US based ATM/debit card no matter what bank issues it."

No high street banks in the UK charges for cash withdrawals at ATMs any more, whatever bank you are with or whatever country you are from, but obviously they have no control on what your bank will do at home. Hence the Bank of America/Barclays deal is a safe bet.

ATMs found in convenience stores are privately operated (ie not owned by one of the banks) and so charge a handling fee of about £1.25-£1.50 per transaction - else why otherwise would they offer the service?!
Kate is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 05:04 AM
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Thank you for the clarification...note that it is not just in the UK where this applies...this is a worldwide rule of Cirrus and Plus....
xyz123 is offline  
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