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ATM Fraud alert

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Aug 7th, 2013, 08:43 AM
  #1
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ATM Fraud alert

Heading for Spain soon. Local State Credit Union gave me a sheet which indicates No ATM transactions allowed or Limited Access for a number of countries. Spain is one of the Countries with limited access. I called the Credit Union and they can lift the block but I would be responsible for any fraud associated with the use of the card. They said they did this because of high instances of fraud.
So.....Would appreciate any thoughts you may have on this. Am thinking the best thing may be to just get a couple of thousand euros cash from the credit union (No charge for this service and I can return any excess I have after the trip) Will also use credit card where possible. My wife and I are seasoned travelers and have used ATMs in Turkey and Egypt with no problems. We both wear money belts so am not much worried about pick pockets.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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Hard to imagine how the locals get by. When we go we just use the ATMs like everyone else. Are their scams? Yes, all over the world people have a bunch of tricks.

I would not take a couple of thousand euros in cash (horrible idea) and I don't like the idea of money belts, the last thing you want to be is being dragged down the street by the belt as the guy tries to hack it off you.

Take a sensible amount out of the ATM each time, keep it in an inside pocket and don't worry.

Where did this sheet come from, I think they are just acting weird.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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sorry "there",

You have to remember that some serious number of Brits (10/15%) will be there over the summer and none of them would accept being told "I would be responsible for any fraud associated with the use of the card" they expect their bank to work for them not the criminals.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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I think that as long as you use an ATM that is attached to a bank branch's building, fraud is unlikely. Given the reports of pickpocketing, I would worry about carrying all the alternative cash.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 09:17 AM
  #5
 
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No charge for the service to supply the Euros but what's the exchange rate. If the rate is bad then use your credit card to get cash. Pay off the cash advance during your trip or as soon as you get home. It might be cheaper to pay a few dollars for the cash advance fee than to pay a greater exchange rate.

I don't understand why your credit union allows credit cards to be used but not ATM cards. Fraud can happen anywhere, any time.

I would not take the chance with the fraud protection unless you get third party fraud protection.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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Are you leaving soon? If you have time, consider opening a Charles Schwab account and put some money there for use on your trip. They do not charge foreign transaction fees or ATM fees and I have used my card in way sketchier places than Spain (like Romania) with no problems.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 09:38 AM
  #7
 
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<>

Thinking that this is correct.

You could look into both (1) an ATM only card from your CU, not a Visa/MC linked debit card; (2) a Cap One online money market account - they only gave me an ATM card for that.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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No ATM transactions allowed or Limited Access for a number of countries. Spain is one of the Countries with limited access. I called the Credit Union and they can lift the block but I would be responsible for any fraud associated with the use of the card.

What kind of "card"? Debit/ATM/Credit?

If Debit or ATM, do you have back up Debig/ATM cards from other banks without this kind of restriction? Even before your recent credit union surprise, you should have been traveling with backup cards from different banks. If you don't have time to open account, take USD not Euro. Why? If it works even with "limited access" without removing the fraud protection, then you have lost only a tiny float on you USD. Had you exchanged USD to Euro already, you are hit with ~10% for an event that may not happen. If you do have to exchange USD to Euro, you will probably hit with same or lower fee in Spain.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 10:17 AM
  #9
 
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Your issue is your card provider, not the incidence of fraud. They are simply saying we are not prepared to give you the service/access you would expect us to give you.

That is NOT the norm. I have never heard of any bank making such a statement for example. It seems your local credit union is just not prepared to risk having to cover any fraud you might inadvertently become a victim off.

DO NOT take cash. That is the height of foolishness. Find another card provider who does not impose this limitation.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 10:20 AM
  #10
 
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I would use another bank. Yours is being a gigantic PIA - and demanding that you be responsible for fraud is ludicrous. Is that even legal???

Have been to europe more than 100 time and never had any problems. Think they may just be too small/local and not want to handle international transactions.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 11:20 AM
  #11
 
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My ATM card from my local Credit Union had a similar situation in Spain, although I was not aware of that "limited access" you were stating. It just would not give me cash!! And I tried several banks in Spain. So for my next trip to Spain, I ordered a debit card, with the VISA logo, thinking this time it would work. Nope. Luckily, I always carry 2 other ATM cards so it was not a problem. I am just stumped because this CU card worked fantastic in any other countries we have gone to, and we travel a lot!!
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Aug 7th, 2013, 11:28 AM
  #12
 
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HAH! No *obvious* charge, maybe, but what exchange rate will they offer you? Likely a totally dreadful one. And carrying a couple of thousand euros around with you is WAY more risky than some potential ATM fraud issue.

I would put my money elsewhere. Join another credit union that actually has reasonable policies. Yours is a piece of work and sounds totally unfamiliar with international banking.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 11:30 AM
  #13
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Thanks to all for your responses. We recently changed from a bank to the credit union which may be the problem. Will also have credit cards from Capital One just in case the ATM and debit cards do not work. I do think we will have the credit union lift the block and hope for the best - will have some cash as well. We have never been pick pocketed, they may give a tug but if there is a problem the thief will let go and run - too many much easier targets. We were in Russia a couple of years ago and the tour guide said not to keep your wallet in your pocket, of course two guys did and they lost their wallets - common sense helps a lot here just like New York or any big city.
This forum is so valuable, thanks again.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 12:15 PM
  #14
 
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"No charge for the service to supply the Euros but what's the exchange rate. If the rate is bad then use your credit card to get cash. Pay off the cash advance during your trip or as soon as you get home. It might be cheaper to pay a few dollars for the cash advance fee than to pay a greater exchange rate."

Getting cash on a credit card is another incredibly bad idea. They start charging you interest from the moment you take the cash on top of which you pay a fee AND a get very poor exchange rate as well. Use a CC for purchases only.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 12:23 PM
  #15
 
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...last thing you want to be is being dragged down the street by the belt as the guy tries to hack it off you. .....

That is ridiculous !!! It is obvious that biboburgler has no idea what a money belt is or now it is used. Makes you wonder what else he knows or doesn't know. Keeping money on an inside pocket is only one degree better than putting it in your hip pocket.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 12:31 PM
  #16
 
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<< Getting cash on a credit card is another incredibly bad idea. They start charging you interest from the moment you take the cash on top of which you pay a fee AND a get very poor exchange rate as well. Use a CC for purchases only. >>

Wrong. It depends on your banking institution. I do not get charged fees for getting cash with my credit card nor do I get a poor exchange rate. I do pay interest from day of transaction but I can create a transaction and transfer funds to pay it off in the same day thus spending pennies.

Unfortunately you did not read what I wrote. I was suggesting that if the OP does consider taking the offer to convert USD to Euros and the exchange rate is bad he has another option - to get cash using a credit card.

I've only had to do this once or twice when the ATM machine did not accept my ATM card. My finances charges were 60 cents and that is because I forgot to pay off the transaction immediately - I waited 2 weeks until I returned home. If I had transferred funds to pay the cash advance immediately then my finance charges would have been a few cents.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 12:34 PM
  #17
 
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Well, a couple of years ago my credit card (an Italian issued Citibank, now Barclaycard) was cloned. I found a bogus € 150 or so charge coming from a toy shop somewhere in Spain. I had been in Spain (namely in Santander) a couple of days about six months before, so I assume it was the place where the cloning happened. A police report was filed and in a few months I got reimbursement.

So, fraud happens. My advice: look for another card issuer. Frauds should be dealt by issuers and their reinsurers, not by customers. Also, use ATMs in indoor bank lobbies, they are too difficult to tamper with.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 01:27 PM
  #18
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My credit cards are issued by Capital One which is a great company. They will put your picture on the card and I have never had to pay for charges I did not make. Only charge for cash advances is the interest which starts from day you get the $$.
I always use ATMs that are in banks if possible and am also aware of possible card copy problems.
No charge to get or return euros and the exchange rate was $1.32 to the Euro when I got some cash about a month ago. The rate seems to fluctuate between $1.28 to $1.33 so seems they don't try to make any $$ on the transaction.
Again, what a great site - where else can a traveler get such great and quick advice.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 03:24 PM
  #19
 
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It sounds like you have a couple of good options with the credit card and cash exchange. Enjoy your trip!

BTW - Caixa bank does have an ATM fee for using their machines. I think it was E3 which is a lot. If you are going to use ATM machines walk to the next block and find another bank that doesn't charge a fee. This is the only time I've encountered a European bank that charges to use the ATM.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 04:09 PM
  #20
 
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I've been in Spain twice in the last year and was never charges an ATM fee by any bank, although I can't remember which ones I used. I thought it was illegal for an actual bank to do that in Europe. But maybe because Caixa is some cooperative or something they can (I think they are a different type of entity than a regular bank, not sure).

I think credit unions can be more picky about some things than regular banks, although I hvaen't heard this particular story. It doesn't shock me, though, they really don't care that much about international travelers much.

I would think it is a pretty safe risk, but to be honest, not sure I'd take it myself. There are other places to get ATM cards that don't have that option, even without switching banks. For example, I have a separate Cap One money market account that gives me a second ATM card (in addition to my regular checking account) and they don't have any limits on its use and no foreign transaction fee. I don't think there is a very big minimum to open one of those.

My nephew had his debit card cloned once (he thinks at a gas pump but isn't sure) and he didn't even know it for a while, there are skimmers on machines, and while the risk is low, I'm not sure I'd take it myself. I've never encountered the issue, though, so it is hypothetical for me.
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