atm fees with visa bank/debit card

Aug 24th, 2007, 12:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,322
no ATM can exist in a vacumn, to allow withdrawals across international borders they must belong to some kind of shared teller network. As I stated, the shared teller networks do not allow ATM operators to charge fees if the card being used in not from the country where the ATM is located...

But if they belong to (or use) another national network for clearing, who in turn use Visa or Mastercard for transactions involving an overseas card, you can get hit by an extra usage fee by the ATM operator, which will then be passed on to your card issuer.
In UK, there are increasing number of non-bank, private chains of ATMs that charge around £1.50 to £2 per withdrawal, known by names such as Moneybox, Cashpoint and Hanco, You are warned about it before your transaction goes through, so you can back off and go elsewhere. Most ATMs at motorway services are this charging type, also in pubs and convenience stores, and increasing in the streets. This kind of charging is allowed, at least in UK, because they belong to a domestic payment network called Link, which passes on the transaction made by a non-UK card (including usage fee) to Visa Plus/Master Cirrus. When Visa/Master receives it, it simply says something like 'cash withdrawal, value £102', without breaking it down into £100 for the requested amount and £2 fee. So Visa/Master has no way of knowing if their rules have been breached and so it goes through (plus 1% Visa or 0.8% Master conversion fee) to your card issuer.

Also some ATMs, not yet in UK but at some banks in Spain, for example, try on DCC (dynamic currency conversion). At least the screen gives you a choice - do you want to be charged in £ (or whatever the card's billing currency, with the converted amount shown) or in euro? If you come across one, always choose the local currency.
Alec is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 01:12 AM
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Thanks Alec...but I wonder what would happen if you disputed the fee back to cirrus/plus as a violation of their rules?

But then again there are crooks around everywhere and this, as far as I concerned, is crooked.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 04:28 AM
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Katiemay, not Christina here, but I have a free chk. acct at Compass Bank, and they do not assess any ATM fees ever.
The Visa Checkcard incurs a 1% foreign curr trans charge at ATMs and a 2% chg if used as a 'credit' card for purchases. I don't use it for purchases, instead I use the Capital One M/C which passes 0% fees for foreign curr transactions.
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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I bank at Chevy Chase Bank in Maryland. They are a very large local bank in the Washington DC area. They don't have any out-of-network ATM charges for many accounts. In fact, last winter I used one of those convenience store for-profit private ATMs in a ski resort, as nothing else was available, and they even refunded that private ATM $2 fee to me.
Christina is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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I think some are confusing the issue of using a Visa debit/bank card with withdrawing money from an ATM using a Visa credit card.

If the card deducts the money from your bank account automatically, then you are safe -- but subject to your bank fees as described above.

But if the card is one that sends you a monthly statement to be paid either in full or in part -- then it is a credit card and you SHOULD NOT use it to withdraw money from an ATM.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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very well stated NeoPatrick!
nanabee is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:00 PM
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My daughter just bought a Visa TravelMoney prepaid cash card from AAA, and it looks like if you use it on a Visa ATM (of which there seem to be a whole load - at least in Scotland where she will be) you only pay a $2 fee for withdrawals. I assume one gets the Visa exchange rate, but will check when she makes the first withdrawal.

The card is rechargeable and AAA does not charge us a fee because we have a gold family membership. So far, AAA says we can only recharge it by giving them a check or using a credit card online (which gets us into the whole cash advance thing, so that would not be any good), but I imagine there is some other way to transfer money directly - will post when I figure that out.

Seems like the best deal I have found unless you have an elite ATM card/account that rebates all fees. I will look into that, too.

Thanks for the ideas here.
ziggy99 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:05 PM
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"I assume one gets the Visa exchange rate, but will check when she makes the first withdrawal."

I think your assumption is wrong. I do know that on those cards, VISA charges 7% conversion rate on purchases. I'm not sure, but believe they add that for foreign ATM withdrawals as well.

Those VISA money cards are a BAD deal. The charge you to activate them, charge you to use them, charge you to add funds to them, and charge you an outrageous conversion rate as well as the other fees. I can't think of a single advantage of having one.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:16 PM
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Gee, I am looking at their documentation and their web site and both say they just charge a $2 charge for foreign currency withdrawals at a Visa ATM. Given that I do not see how they could charge another 7% fee, but I am sure they could screw around with the exchange rate (dirty pool, but they could).
ziggy99 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:20 PM
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Pls ignore the previous post, I hit post in error.

I read the detailed T&Cs are you are correct - they apply the wholesale exchange rate+7%, plus a $2 fee, which stinks. Or does it?

Normal exchange rate is wholesale + between 3% & 10% anyway, right? And you end up paying ATM fees anyway. So it probably is in the same ballpark as Harris' 3% fee on top of the applicable exchange rate.

As to the other fees mentioned, AAA covers all of them as part of our membership. But the 7% markup on the exchange rate does kill any significant advantage.
ziggy99 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:27 PM
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My Bank of America ATM card charges 1% which some people say is outrageous. Some ATM cards charge no conversion fee (including many credit union cards).

For purchases, 3% conversion is the most I'm aware of any card charging. A few like Capital One charges NO conversion charge at all. I'm not sure where you're getting that "wholesale rate plus 3 to 10%". Who charges 10%???
7% is indeed OUTRAGEOUS.

NeoPatrick is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:42 PM
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Okay, neop, so is the exchange rate applied to an ATM transaction always the wholesale rate in effect at the effective date, or is that rate otherwise adjusted?

My impression, from reading higher up in this thread, was that the wholesale exchange rate was normally marked up. That is where I got the total 5% to 10% cost.

Either way, thanks for the info. Looks like I will likely close the Travelmoney card, absorb the $2.50 fee and go back to the ATM.
ziggy99 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 07:45 PM
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If you close the card - you have to pay at least $15 in add'l fees. And expensive lesson - but you will know better next time . . . .
janisj is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:26 PM
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AAA counts on people making decisions that benefit AAA while the cardholder thinks they are in turn getting a good deal. Works for awhile until people figure out they've been had!
nanabee is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:37 PM
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I did not see a close fee, but I am pretty much stuck. The real story here is that my wife and daughter went to get traveler's checks, preferably in Pounds, which they did not have. But the helpful person told them this was better...

Actually I am fine. As a result of this adventure, I found a a page on that gives fees charged by different cards (search for currency conversion fee), opened a capital one credit card that will charge no fees (as everyone here had said), discovered my daughter's bank of america atm card also charges no fees so long as she uses the Global ATM Alliance (Barclay's in the UK). And I will be working on getting a no fee ATM, too.

So even if it cost me $20, I will more than save it in the next month.

Thanks to all.
ziggy99 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 05:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 150
Thanks, Travelnut. Our state does
not have a Compass Bank.
Christina, I don't know about your
bank. We are leaving on the 11th.
I feel comfortble with WaMu. For
a backup we are getting a bankcard
from my husband's bank. 1% plus
2.00 for atm with 6.00 reimbursement.
But I don't expect to get hit with
an atm charge since I never have
Thanks to all for your comments.
Katiemay is offline  

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