ATM in Russia - Does It WorK?

Feb 4th, 2002, 07:51 AM
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ATM in Russia - Does It WorK?

MDM - Thanks for the info. about ATMs in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. Did you find ATMS only in the bigger hotels? What about banks - are there one or two you recommend for reliable ATMs?. Are there any ATMs on the street as in the US and Europe? Did you have to select a new pin before you left for Russia? Is there a local fee, plus your own bank's fee? Am I correct in thinking it is cheaper to get cash from an ATM than by using a VISA? And I have read that ATMs in Russia give both rubles and US Dollars - true? Finally, were there situations where you paid in US dollars, for example, your guides? And did you pre-pay the guides, before your trip, or each day, or at the conclusion of your trip? Do they present you with a written bill? And did you tip your guide and/or give a gift? Thanks very much.
Feb 4th, 2002, 08:52 AM
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Feb 4th, 2002, 09:06 AM
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Great questions and I look forward to the response. Relevant to me, too---going in a couple months. The only info I found about ATMs (granted I have just begun looking into it) was on the State Dept. web site. Mostly cautionary comments.
Feb 4th, 2002, 10:02 AM
Marc David Miller
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In Moscow and Petersburg ATMs are pretty available==often, though, I used the ones next to banks for fear of the machine eating my card. As long as you have a four-digit pin, you do not need a new pin number. I don't remember what the local fees were, but they weren't too high. I assume that it is cheaper to get cash from an ATM rather than using VISA/AMEX at a bank. Some, but not many, machines give US Dollars as well as rubles.

I paid the guides at the end of each day, the private guides never gave be a bill (and I didn't ask for any). This time I might pay the guide in advance a bit as I am asking her to do a lot of work for me before I arrive, but then it there is a problem of wiring money to Russia (costly). They generally take either rubles or dollars-no difference (although I suspect if it is a larger amount they would prefer dollars).

I always gave my guides at least a 20% tip (their rates are quite low). I consider their contribution to my trip to be incalculable. As for gifts I think money is by far the best thing to offer, unless you know in advance any special item for them.
Feb 4th, 2002, 03:34 PM
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I read that it was safest to use ATMs in banks, I found one on Nevsky Prospect in St. Pete and it worked fine, no extra withdrawals when I got home. It is true that you can withdraw both rubles and US dollars. I accidentally hit the US button and a US $100 bill popped out.

I have a 4 digit PIN which worked fine, didn't get charged a local fee, just the one from my bank but that probably varies by ATM.

The guide we used accepted US dollars, extra charge if we used our credit card. If you arrange in advance, ask them what they would prefer. We paid our guide (actually someone else from the company)about 2/3 of the way through the day, only used them for one day. They did present us with a written bill. We did tip our guide, we asked in advance and the tour company said that money was better than gifts as they can get almost anything in Russia. We also easily used USD at the market behind the Church of the Spilled Blood.

If you get money out using your Visa card, it is a cash advance and you pay interest on it. Don't think the exchange rate should be any different unless the credit card company charges conversion fees. Not sure how my bank calculates the conversion rate, might be a fee stuck in there somewhere but not so much that I noticed.

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