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ATM charged exessive fees for cash withdraws abroad

ATM charged exessive fees for cash withdraws abroad

Old Mar 27th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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ATM charged exessive fees for cash withdraws abroad

Hi,

I noticed that my ATM card w/ my local county credit union charges excessive fees for withdrawing cash abroad -- like $6+ per transaction. The card says Check Card / Debit w/ a Visa logo on it. I called the bank and they confirmed that there will be fees charged.

(But, wasn't there a class action lawsuit against Visa about such charges in the past?)

Anyone know of other less rip-off options for withdrawing cash abroad?

I could open an account w/ some online bank that you know of that could give better cash withdrawal
rates.

Thanks.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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Check out the exchange rate they use too. That's where they can really get you. On the other hand if their rate is favorable it may be worth it to use them, just withdraw less often.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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I would look into setting up another account with a different bank -even if it is just for your trip.

My bank charges 1% of the withdraw amount on foreign transactions and no extra fees such as not using my bank's ATM. I only withdrew cash once a day so the overall charges were minimal.

Generally speaking you'll get the best exchange rate using your ATM card.

You might look into Capital One bank - there are lots of posting about how their credit cards don't charge extra fees so their bank accounts might have the same deal.

There was a class action suit but I'm pretty sure it was brought because Visa (and others) were charging fees without the card owner knowing about the fees up front. I'm sure it is now disclosed on all statement.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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The lawsuit concerns hidden costs of using credit cards, not ATM withdrawals. It resulted in the banks having to disclose the fees for internaitonal use of the credit cards.

Banks that issue ATM cards, credit cards, or Visa/MC branded debit cards pretty much charge any fees they want; it is up to the consumer to find out what the bank charges.

For example, my bank charges a per-transaction fee of about $4 for use of the ATM card outside its network, but since that bank is convenient for my everyday routine, and I only make 3 or 4 foreign withdrawals a year, I consider that $15-20 cost a reasonable price for convenience at home and away. (And I make sure they have no opportunity to charge me their exhorbitant overdraft or late payment fees.)
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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That's true, my bank just raised my fees to 3 pct of the amount for foreign ATM withdrawals last year, I was really mad (at least there is no other fee at all, though). They did it on their debit cards, also, and told me even though I only have a plain ATM card (one without a Visa logo, I cannot use it to buy things), they raised it for them also, to match the debit card raise. Only they didn't inform me of it, because they said by law they only had to inform debit card customers. I am still thinking of contacting the state banking regulators over that one, as I find it hard to believe they can just change fees without notifying customers.

IN any case, the lawsuit was about credit cards, but had to do with non-disclosure of the fees, not that they can't do it. A lot (most) US credit cards charge a fee now, they just itemize it on the bill better.

A $6 ATM card transaction fee is the highest I've ever heard, actually. I suspect that is their fee for you to withdraw at any ATM other than their own, isn't it? Even in the US? Perhaps you've just never done it except abroad.

Credit unions often have lower fees in other ways, so maybe they do somehow incur more costs for you to do that than a regular bank would. I don't know.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 04:00 PM
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I know that USAA federal Savings Bank charges no fee for using any ATM anywhere in the world ,and will reimburse up to $15 a month for any fees charged by the host ATM that you may accrue.

I think Schwab also has a similar deal.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Just checked with Bank of America this week. They said they will charge $5 per transaction for out-of-network ATMs. If I use my debit card (with Visa logo) to purchase something, I get charged the standard 3%, just like using my regular Visa card.

By the way, the CSR (and their website) did not list any partner banks in Italy, but I thought I saw some listed here before. Anybody with BofA have ATM experiences in Rome to share?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 05:46 PM
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My HSBC bank card charges no per-transaction fee. It does claim to charge the standard 3% conversion fee, though HSBC seems to shop for the best rate. On the transactions during my Italy trip last month, the rtes were closer to 2% of the average interbank rate I could find for the same dates.
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 07:32 PM
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In addition to Capital One, Fidelity Investments claims to have a debit card that is "fee free." I have not put it to the test in the field in Europe yet. Going on the old systems analysts maxim that no system works until it has been proven to work, I will delay judgment until July.

I carry a Capital One credit card that so far has served me well.

When I am out of the country, I keep my pieces of Bank of America plastic stuck in the back of my passport case for use only in desperation. I don't leave them home, but they are certainly the last resorts!! I look at them as doomsday backups.



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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 07:54 PM
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My Wells Fargo debit card charges a $5.00 fee for each withdrawal, so I withdraw the maximum amount each time.

My Mileage Plus card charges about 4% per transaction for each foreign charge I make. I collect frequent flyer miles, of course, but I really need to look at how much those miles cost me.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 01:38 AM
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ATM machines are 'stand alone' businesses. Each may charge a different fee for using it. Machines in Poland charge me $2 per transaction. This cost has nothing to do with the fees the network serving my bank charges and any fees my bank charges. All conversions will be at the 'buy' rate. Some banking organizations do not regularly deal in foreign currency or such debit card withdrawals. Visit you bank and get the fees explained. Please remember that such fees have to be assessed if that service is to be offered.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 01:58 AM
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It seems thjat there are a lot of ATM problems.

I avoid all that, as I always get my euros before I leave the US. The rate never seems excessive to me, and is certainly the most convenient way..at least for me. I have my bank ATM card with me..for emergency need, I guess. I was near an ATM once and wondered if it worked..I tried it..voila, it worked! I also remember very high fees for my trial 50 euros!!

I take euros and 3-4 credit cards. I only use the CapitalOne card, as it has no charges for exchange. I just used it with PayPal rental payments and the exchange rate used was even less than was expected.

I prefer the simplest and easiest way to do everything..just my way...
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 02:32 AM
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3% is not a "standard" conversion fee. 1% is the standard. Then your individual bank may choose to gouge you an additional 1% or 2% (or according to at least one response above) 3% to embellish their profit margin. Then your bank may also choose to rip you off with a per transaction fee ($6 is absolute robbery) on top of that.

Fortunately, we pay only the 1% with no transaction fee--so far. Though financial institution greed knows no bounds, so I won't be shocked if I receive notice of fee increases in the mail someday soon.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 02:47 AM
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I should add that even the 1% standard is not always standard--some banks don't even charge that for ATM withdrawals, and at least one credit card company absorbs that cost as well for charge purchases.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 03:05 AM
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Hi J,

I works like this:

The ATM gives you cash (Euro).

If it is a bank-owned ATM there is no charge for the service.

If it is an independent company, they have a notice as to how much they will charge you.

The ATM computer 1 tells the Visa/MC or Amex computer how many Euro you withdrew.

That computer 2 converts the Euro to USD at the interbank exchange rate for that day.

Visa/MC adds 1% for the service. Amex adds 2%.

Computer 2 tells your bank's computer 3 that you should be debited a certain amount of USD.

Computer 3 may then add up to 3% "conversion fee" + an out-of-network fee.

Keep in mind that most car rental firms will not accept debit cards. They want a credit card.

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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 04:13 AM
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You have the solution yourself...find a bank to open an account strictly for travelling...

I use USAA for this....I keep $1.01 in the account (they have no minimum for fee free traveling) and before a trip I can transfer money through my bill paying service (free of course) for the trip to the account and I have the ablity via the internet to replensih the account with transfers if I underestimate the amount I need.

When I get home, the excess money goes back to my real checking account leaving $1.01 in the account.

Piece of cake.

As noted, European banks are prohibited from charging fees on their end to international cards but this does not apply to some independent machines not tied in to banks...in the USA, USAA reimburses you up to $15/month as noted for ATM withdrawals from banks that charge fees for having the audacity to use their machines (a rip off fee if I've ever heard one)..

But the real secret is to use a Capital One credit card for everything everywhere credit cards are taken no matter how small the purchase; unfortunately the visa/mc reg prohibiting merchants from setting up minimums for use of a credit card apparently do not exist in Europe but many places don't have minimums...I can go a week in London and perhaps only spend £5 or £6 in cash depending how many pints I want to drink in pubs...but the places I frequent, not expensive, all take credit cards with no minimums (such as Pret a Manger for lunc or many of the grocery chains such as Tesco or Sainsbury which have lots of sandwiches along with a variety of soft drinks)....
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 04:21 AM
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As noted, European banks are prohibited from charging fees on their end to international cards but this does not apply to some independent machines not tied in to banks
Not to hijack but I'd like some more info on this.

I know most banks don't charge out of network fees but is custom or legislation?

UK banks certainly experimented with out of network fees for a while and stopped when the public kicked up an almighty fuss.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 06:38 AM
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We found that using a AAA atm card was the best choice.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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I was the one who said my bank charged 3 pct on ATM withdrawals, which they do, but it wasn't on top of any 1 pct, it was the total. I do not think the small amount (perhaps 1 pct) is always Visa/MC, though, as my ATM card is neither. I do think I was charged one pct or less before this raise but my network is STAR or something and that is what is notated on the account as where the fee came from.

It is pretty common in the US for banks to charge an out-of-network fee for ATM use -- to others who use their machines, and some banks add on their own charge, also. My bank did formerly charge an out-of-network fee of $1-2 any time you made an ATM withdrawal at any ATM other than their own, even if down the street. That bank could be charging you, also.

Maybe some US banks have been getting away from those fees, I don't know, but I know mine did rescind that out-of-network transaction fee (which was $2) a couple years ago. They just then added on that whopping foreign transaction percentage in 2007.

I don't actually see anything as bad about some bank charging me for using their ATM when I don't have an account there than for my own bank to charge me some bogus conversion fee. Those ATM machines do have some maintenance and capital costs, after all. Of course, if they are really funded by the networks (Visa, etc), then they are getting paid for them.

US banks are prohibited from charging ATM fees to foreign ATM cards, also, there are signs on the ATMs saying so.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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This rule about the banks not charging foreign ATM cards the fee for having the audacity to use their ATM comes from the shared teller network rules...and let's be clear...cirrus is part of the mastercard network and plus is part of the visa network so if you use either cirrus or plus you are using either mastercard or visa networks on your end...in the USA there are several local networks such as STAR and NYCE but they don't operate outside North America.
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