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

Oct 13th, 2007, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Georgie girl,

You mentioned you were thinking of calling your bank and "pretending" that you were going to order euros to find out the rate. I'm sure you don't have to pretend anything...just ask what the rate is..they will be glad to tell is no secret.

I prefer the convenience in taking the euros with me...don't have to think about ATM's or anything. It may or my not cost me a bit more. Either way, it is my preference. I will use my Capital One credit card for any charges. This way has always worked for me..even when I spent a month in the south of Spain 2 years ago.

Many different ways to do things..all a matter of preference...
gracejoan3 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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As I just said in another thread, I'm in Italy now, and I've used my credit union ATM twice. They charged no fee for withdrawal and neither did the ATMs in Italy. All that was charged was a 1% conversion fee (from Visa I take it - their logo is on my card), which I see in my statement as a separate transaction next to each withdrawal. I checked the exchange rates - they are basically what I see for those days as that day's exchange rate. There is no hidden conversion fee in the exchange rate.

Again, I see absolutely no reason to have a bank and not a credit union, unless you CAN'T join a credit union (most people can somehow - some people can't). Banks offer the same services as credit unions but make about half their profits now from FEES that seem to get higher and higher every year. Why put up with it? All you are doing is paying higher fees to increase their profit and getting nothing in return. I really don't get it.

While there are few actual credit union branches I can go to in my city, I can use credit union ATMs all over the US for no fee at all: it's called the Co-Op network. At JFK airport the other day, I noticed an American Airlines credit union ATM close to my gate; since it was in the Co-Op network I could use THAT ATM for free if needed. (Too bad it wouldn't spit out Euros, ha ha!). The closest credit union ATM to where I live is not my credit union's - doesn't matter, it works just the same to withdrawal money. I do most of my banking online anyway.
Andrew is online now  
Oct 13th, 2007, 12:49 PM
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I did that a couple times, too, with BOA and had them deliver to a branch across from my office (no delivery fee).

Then I 'wised up' and starting bringing home extra euro to start my next trip. Been doing that the past 3 years or more. I actually brought home extra b/c two coworkers wanted to buy a little from me for their first day of their trips.
Travelnut is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 01:47 PM
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I checked with all my cards and here's what I found:

Bank of America
and CITI card:
3% transaction fee
PLUS 3% for cash w/d

American Express:
2% transaction fee
PLUS 3% or $5.00, whichever is greater, for cash w/d

RBC Centura Bank:
1% on purchases
0% on cash w/d

Thank goodness I'm working off cash!

JeanneB is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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I checked my MC account not at ATM machine just using it for puchases 3% fee. Amex card 2% fee. I get miles with my Master Card so it might be better using that.
mike_b12 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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1) I think the going rate approximation for CC miles is about 1/100 of a cent; so instead of a 2% fee, it would net out to only a 1.99%
2) My debit card attached to my brokerage account turned out to be:
a) zero % b)reimbursement of any excess over 1% charged by a European bank c)interbank rate as quoted on numerous foreign exchange websites, + a trivial overage ($3.81 on $4,000.00+) which was so immaterial that to me it means I was charged the interbank rate AT THE TIME OF TRANSACTION rather than the rate AT THE END OF BUSINESS DAY.
My regular bank promised 3%. So, I saved $120 just by using my black debit card instead of my red debit card.
tomboy is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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My first trip to France was in 1996. I carried some francs that I ordered fom the bank (they never charged me for the services) and some $100 bills. I dropped by any change bureau for extra francs during the trip. I looked for one that gave the best rate. There had never been any fees associated with it. I have been doing this for the next several trips until last year I decided to use ATM due to the reading in the travel forum. I was charged only $2 per withdrawal. When I was charged with the extra 2% last month, I was upset. BTW, I got all my $2 fees refunded. I called them up and told them that my limit is $1,000 per day but the ATM in Europe let me have only 200 euro at a time.
If there are no service fees for getting euro from my local bank, I might go back to my old way of carrying money with me. When I went to school in VSM, I had to have cash to pay the balance of the tuition and one month rent and that was a lot of francs. They have to kill me to first to get to my money, if they know that I have that much cash on my body. LOL.
georgiegirl is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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georgiegirl: "No fees" does not mean getting € from your bank is cheaper than using ATMs - or close for that matter. The exchange rate the bank uses for converting your $ to € will be 5%-6% worse - or eeven more.

And while individual machines may have lower per-transaction limits, that doesn't limit the amount you can withdraw per day. If you need more you can either re-insert your card in the same machine or use another one.
janisj is online now  
Oct 13th, 2007, 09:00 PM
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It is not recommended to use a credit card at ATM machines to get euros or pounds, regardless of the type of bank you use.

Only use a bank debit card to get cash from the foreign ATM machine.

Bank of America's Debit card does not have transaction fees (the only fee you get is the conversion rate which is very competitive) if you use their partner banks such as Barclays or BNP.

nanabee is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 11:03 PM
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My Costco American Express rewards card pays between 1% to 3% back depending on the use. They charge a 2% conversion fee for purchases made overseas. So if I use it for travel or meals, it pays 2% and in effect I break even. For everyone else, I get 1% back so I'm about the same as using my credit union Visa or Euros withdrawn from an ATM at 1%. Many places here do not seem to accept my American Express card, however.
Andrew is online now  
Oct 15th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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Just as a followup, I did call back my bank and got a difference customer service agent who at least knew a lot about the topic and could answer my questions, even though it wasn't the response I wanted.

She said that my bank considered an ATM card to be a "debit card" (news to me, as it only says ATM card on it). But they do make a distinction between that and a "check card". However, she said they do assess a 3 pct surcharge on foreign transactions on both types of cards so switching to a check card wouldn't help. She, unlike both the others folks, one of whom claimed to be an expert on exchange -- admitted that my bank was the one charging that 3 pct fee and they were keeping it. She didn't remember exactly when they started charging it. I knew it was within the past year, though.

However, the think that really surprised me when I questioned why I wasn't notified, etc -- she said that there is no law that banks have to notify clients of changes in foreign transaction surcharges on ATM/debit cards. She also said there was no law that those charges have to be broken out on the statement. She said law was different on credit cards than ATM/debit cards. The prior notice I got of a foreign transaction rate increase (which referred to bank cards) was because those do have a VISA logo and can be used for purchases, and different laws cover them. I guess those laws are similar to those covering credit cards.

So, even though I have a premium bank account, she said they charge all customers now this extra 3 pct. She also said they weren't even required to put it in writing, unliked credit cards. The official "rules" on my card just say there is a foreign transaction fee and it is subject to change, but it doesn't say the actual amount and she said they aren't legally required to. YOu have to call to find out what it is, and they also aren't required to notify you when it changes.

I find that really astonishing that no state or federal regulations cover that, but she did seem to know a lot about it and at least she admitted they were the ones charging the 3 pct. So you have no way of even knowing what it is or when it changes until after you use it or if you do math on your statement.

Another odd thing, not that it matters, is she said even though I have a PLUS logo on the card, it is some network called Hogan's that is doing the network administration and she claimed PLUS wasn't part of VISA. I sure thought they were, not that it really matters, but I wonder if that's just semantics in terms of PLUS being an indepent company.

IN any case, Travelnut, I have a Capital One MM card also and it does have a foreign transaction fee. Their website even says so, although I haven't checked it in a few months. It is $2 per withdrawal ($1.50 for domestic withdrawals, I believe). It is true there isn't a percentage surcharge on that, though, but there is a flat fee. However, given that isn't a checking account exactly, I wonder if it will work at foreign ATMs. Someone on another thread said their MM ATM card wouldn't work in Europe.
Christina is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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We need some definitions! The ATM machine is simply a transaction port. It does not charge interest or make currency conversions. The ATM machine charges a use fee. As I read these postings it varies from nothing to $5. The withdrawal using a Debit/Check card just that. You are accessing your checking account. The withdrawal amount is instantly pulled from your local account. My Visa charges 1% of the amount withdrawn for this service. The amount withdrawn in foreign currency is converted to USA dollars at the daily rate.
Your bank statement notes three items:
1. ATM/Debit/Visa/Fees - 1% of the amount withdrawn in dollars
2. Othr Bank ATM W/D - The amount withdrawn converted into US dollars
3. Service Charge - ATM fee for its use
Curious? Add the three charges together and then divide that figure into the amount of foreign currency you withdrew. You will have your conversion rate as of that day. It will be less than the posted rate. Budget minded? Shop around. Each cost varies from institution to institution.
GSteed is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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>European ATMs had traditionally only allowed withdraw from checking.

I don't know about "European ATMs" but in Germany, if you open an account it's just this - one account (checking). Not two. If you want savings account you open it separately, and usually you have either no card for that account at all (only access via counter or online/by phone), or you have a separate card for that account. Since 99,99% of the customers of an average ATM are in this or similar system the software assumes that there is exactly one account to the card.
I have had an account in Canada for a few months, and when I first withdrew a money at a local ATM I was baffled - what is the "checking or savings" question supposed to mean? I only opened one account! I understand the insecurities now...
altamiro is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 01:22 PM
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Thanks for the info on CapOne, Christina... I was hoping the ATM card would be as 'good' as the credit card... but I'm opening the MM anyway, b/c they're offering a good rate and no minimum balance reqs. I'm going to 'store' my travel money there. I can transfer it online to another bank for access by debit card (1%, no atm fees).
Travelnut is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Okay, I am satisfied now. After talking with the bank pretending to order 800 euro today. The rate is 1.46. Delivery fee is $15. Total $1,183. Last month I made 4 withdrawals totaled 800 euro, with $8 + 2%. It cost me $1,159. I saved a whopper of $24. I will quit reading about the ATM fees and will accept what my bank does to me unless I open a credit union account and apply for a credit card from Capital One. Thank you for all the comments.
georgiegirl is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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GSteed, I believe you are wrong on some of your facts that you said needed to be clear. No, ATMs do not usually charge a use fee in Europe, so that isn't so. I've never been charged one. And, as I said, my bank statment definitely does not itemize foreign transaction surcharges that are a percentage added on to the amount. All it does is say the amount they took out of my account in USD (and the flat transaction fee which is $2 at my bank for some customers, but not me, is itemized separately, but that's true for use of any ATM not their own).

That was one thing I was so astonished at in my last post -- my bank saying there was no legal requirement they itemize those for ATM/debit cards nor that they even tell me in advance when they change. I would actually like to pursue that with my local govt. representatives as, if that is true, I think there should be some laws passed to change that. It also doesn't make me feel very good towards my bank, whom I liked, as even if it isn't a law, why wouldn't a bank notify customers of fee changes just to be a good bank and have good customer service?

As this agent told me, what is legally required in terms of statements and notification differs for check cards (or those with Visa or MC logos) and regular ATM/debit cards.
Christina is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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georgie girl, i have not followed all the posts carefully, but i noticed yours and wondered did you actually pay $15. to have Euros delivered?
We always go to an ATM machine in the country we are visiting (the ATM's are everywhere - even in the airport when you first arrive).

We withdraw the amount of Euros we want for free. I can't understand how you would pay so much money.
Bank of America debit card has partner banks in Europe (Barclay in England, BNP in France, etc) and if you withdraw from those banks there is no additional charge to withdraw the money you need.
There is a conversion fee from B of A in the states but it is always a competitive exchange rate.
nanabee is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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capital one debit card is also a good one to use and it is even better than b of a.
nanabee is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 03:02 AM
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I am wondering which banks everyone uses? I have heard Bank of America, but not too many others for comparisons. I know credit unions vary from area to area. Does anyone use wachovia?
I have friends that have capitol one and were blocked in Europe even after they had called to tell them they were going. They have had the card for 10 years, but have not been able to cancel the card this year. They have also experienced fraudulent charges on their cards this past year. I know they are the best rate, but I am looking for an alternative that maybe only charges 1%. I am also thinking of opening an atm account at a different bank than my own. Just an account with a small amount of money to withdraw from. That is why I am thinking Wachovia or BoA.
Any positives or specific names??
girlonthego is online now  
Oct 17th, 2007, 04:56 AM
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Here is what the Wachovia "check card FAQ" says:

<>Can I use my Check Card in foreign countries?
You can use your Check Card to make purchases at millions of locations all over the world. You can also withdraw money at more than 1 million ATMs in 162 countries. Money will be dispensed in local currency. An International Service Assessment (ISA) fee of 2% will be applied to each international transaction.

<>Are there transaction fees for using my Check Card?
No, there are no transaction fees; however, as with the ATM Card, foreign ATM fees still apply.

I use a Compass Bank debit card. This is a regional bank, southeast US I guess, and they do not charge ANY fees for ATM withdrawals and do charge 1% foreign trans. fee from ATMs and 2% for purchases.
Travelnut is offline  

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