ATM fees - $2 + 2% - Is this the norm?

Oct 12th, 2007, 05:30 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Laidback: that's wonderful news. I have the suntrust visa attached to my checking account, so I"ll withdraw from there to cover Amsterdam & Germany. Thanks,

BTW somewhere ther's mention of discover card on this board, I read that the only cards accepted in Europe are visa & mastercard. (maybe that's just for foreigners)
virgi is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 05:35 AM
  #22  
 
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Amex becomes more popular, but still no.3
What is Discover?

In any case it has nothing to do with "foreigners" or not - if there are other American CC networks they didnīt manage to gain a foothold over here.
altamiro is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 05:38 AM
  #23  
 
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What happened to traveler's checks? (or don't places accept them anymore?) It's been a while since we were in Europe and we're going to Italy in March, so it would be helpful to know the best way to carry/get cash.
mairseydotes is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 05:44 AM
  #24  
 
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it is becoming more and more difficult to find places that will cash travelrs checks, plus the fee to buy them and cash them are even higher than using credit cards or ATMs.
ellenem is online now  
Oct 12th, 2007, 05:46 AM
  #25  
 
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>What happened to traveler's checks?

The same thing that happened to horse buggy and the telegraph office.
altamiro is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 08:16 AM
  #26  
 
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Girlonthego, credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. They are owned by their members. They offer the same services as banks but often at better rstes. On the other hand, they have fewer storefronts, so are less convenient -- if you use walk-in servces.

I've had my main account at a credit union for many years and rarely have visited the actual buildings. I do my business online, by mail and phone. And I pay my bills online. They have relatively few ATMs, so I use the convenient ATMs from another, connected credit union. I can also get money at a nearby 7-11.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 08:40 AM
  #27  
 
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thanks.
girlonthego is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 09:57 AM
  #28  
 
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yeah, Ira, that's what I was thinking but I don't think it is really that simple in one way. I think it is true that the ATm where you take out the money in Europe is the one that transmits back to the US bank how much money they are taking out, in USD. So that bank or the software on their ATM, in any case, is the one doing the conversion, not your home bank.

I could be wrong, but that is one thing my bank said, and it did sound like that could be true. I still don't believe them that they aren't getting any of this 3 pct, but I wasn't positive who was really getting it. I thought maybe there was a possibility if you don't have a Visa debit card, that the network doing PLUS transactions charges 3 pct rather than 1 pct, and they just started doing that this year.

I am calling my bank again pretending we never had our prior conversation to ask them what the charge would be with a debit card, both for purchases versus cash. If by any chance it is only one percent for cash, I'll get one and turn in my plain ATM card. I kind of doubt that as the notice I got said all foreign "transactions" with the debit card would cost 3 pct from May 2005 on, and that sounds like both ATM and purchases.
Christina is online now  
Oct 12th, 2007, 10:28 AM
  #29  
 
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There is an 'interchange' hub in the ATM settlement process, and I'm guessing that is the point where the currency is converted before going onward. (which is why Visa International has all along been charging a 1% fee). I do not think the 'home bank' is doing a thing on the conversion.

I have an ATM/Debit card that charges 1% for ATM withdrawals and 2% for purchases, for the foreign trans. fee. Other banks might charge the 3% fee for both. I am opening a Money Mkt at Capital One that comes with an ATM card - I didn't get a disclosure yet but the phone clerk told me there is no foreign trans fee for the ATM card, either. We'll see. (Plus Network = Visa)
Travelnut is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 01:16 PM
  #30  
 
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I emailed Barclay's bank in the UK to find out what the exchange rate would be at their ATMs since I have a BoA card, and they told me that *my* bank was responsible for setting the exchange rate. So, if your bank said they weren't responsible for the exchange rate, they may be lying. Surprise, surprise!
tracker1312 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 02:08 PM
  #31  
 
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We recently returned from London and was pleased with using the ATMs for cash.

My credit union told me before we left that they could not control any fees the ATM owners could levy, but we never encountered a machine that charged an extra fee, so that worked out ok.

Our own credit union charges a $1 fee when we use a non-credit union ATM, but they refunded this fee when I returned (as was promised by the credit union before I left).

The exchange rate the credit union used was $2.03 for each pound - I don't know whether that included an additional charge or adjustment to the official exchange rate because I don't know what the exchange rate for that particular day was anyway. But it seemed pretty fair, and I am satsified with going this route (ATM).
Jolie is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 02:18 PM
  #32  
 
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"I think it is true that the ATm where you take out the money in Europe is the one that transmits back to the US bank how much money they are taking out, in USD. So that bank or the software on their ATM, in any case, is the one doing the conversion, not your home bank."

Nope - that is not how it works. The bank in Europe is dealing in the currency of the country you are in at the time. That bank is not telling anyone how many US$ or AUS$ or ¥ were withdrawn. Only how many € (or £ in the UK)
janisj is online now  
Oct 12th, 2007, 02:25 PM
  #33  
 
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Our credit union in Canada charged us $3 per transaction (no matter how big or small) + whatever the daily exchange rate was. My husband and I each had a card on which there was a $1000 per day limit (we had this raised before we left - however most ATM machines in Europe wouldn't let us take out this much per transaction, so it wasn't that useful.) If we were 60+ the transaction fee at the credit union was waived.

The Royal Bank was $5 + exchange rate, regardless of age.

I'm amazed at the variety of the fees charged. No wonder people are confused.
rickmav is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 02:43 PM
  #34  
 
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Do you guys have the Travellex Cash Passport?

It works like this - just say you want 1000.00 euros. That will work out to roughly $1570.00AUD. You are charged 1% of $1570.00 i.e. $15.70. Your card is loaded up with the 1000.00 euros then you use the card at any ATM to withdraw your cash. You are then charged 2.20euro per withdrawal.

You are issued with two cards (1 spare) and it works with a PIN.

This means you can buy your euros when the rate is good and you don't have to worry about the exchange rate for the rest of your trip. They also offer the card with Pounds and US Dollars.

If you have funds left over when you get back there are no charges to withdraw and close off the card.

This is not a charge card however, just another means of having cash on your trip.

I tend not to use my charge card overseas as all up with the transaction fee and the conversion fee it works out to about 4% - ouch!!

You might not believe this but my bank cannot offer me a card that allows me to withdraw my cash from my savings account overseas.(It is the 21st century right???)
stormbird is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 08:11 PM
  #35  
 
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Strombird, you really do not understand how the system works. It is not your bank that prohibits you from withdrawing from your savings it is the ATM machine. European ATMs had traditionally only allowed withdraw from checking. I think that may be slowly changing. During this past summer we found two ATMS that permitted withdraw from savings.

Second, not familar with your card but my experience with preload cash cards in the US is not good. High fees -- roughly 10 to 15% mostly buried in the exchange rate. And some difficulties find ATMS that would accept the prepaid cards. I would not recommend any prepaid card that could be obtained in the US.
fmpden is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 08:21 PM
  #36  
 
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Hi fmpden,
Thanks for that heads up - I had no idea that it was the account rather than the card that was the issue. In the past I have always bought my foreign cash before leaving and have not up til now, had the need to withdraw money overseas.

I'm going for a bit longer this time and don't want to carry around too much cash.

I'll look into the cash card a bit more but I just assumed that because you are buying euros you would be buying them at the normal rate. Anyway, I'll check it out a bit further.
stormbird is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 03:51 AM
  #37  
 
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I'm considering just getting enough cash for my trip before I leave home & save my ATM card in case.I can just ask the reception desk to put the cash in the safe while I'm out during the day. This sounds like the best way to avoid excessive charges. Now all I need to know is, where is the most favorable place to exchange the USD? At the airport?, & should I exchange all at once, or do it in each country? (Germany, France & Amsterdam)
virgi is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 04:41 AM
  #38  
 
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virgi: That is a terrible idea IMHO. There is no "most favorable place to exchange the USD"

Use your ATM card - honest, it is the cheapest and easiest way to get money.

Carrying cash, pre paid cash cards, cc advances, travelers checks -- all will cost more than using an ATM card. Even w/ the fees.
janisj is online now  
Oct 13th, 2007, 05:02 AM
  #39  
 
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really helpful information- thanks!
trautmak is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 12:29 PM
  #40  
 
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Virgi - buying currency in advance from the USA will cost around 5-7% markup. Using a bank ATM, even with a 3% foreign trans fee, is less that buying in advance. If you don't have a bank that does *not* charge $$ for using another ATM, FIND ONE. There are plenty out there. Compass Bank, Capital One, probably credit unions...
Travelnut is offline  

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