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overthetop Jun 8th, 2006 03:49 PM

ATM problems w/ WAMU's new gold debit Mastercard in Spain?
I was recently on another travel website and was reading several disturbing posts from Washington Mutual customers who have had problems accessing money from the ATM's in Spain and Italy with their new gold debit Mastercard.

Given that my trip to Spain is fast approaching, I would like to hear from those of you who have used your new debit card from WAMU with or without a hitch.


enzian Jun 8th, 2006 04:00 PM

I don't know about the new one, but my old one didn't work in France last summer. It did work in Switzerland.

You probably should call WaMu and ask them about it.

overthetop Jun 8th, 2006 04:18 PM

Oh, believe me ........ I spoke to the online bankers, four different representatives at my local WAMU and they all echoed the same script: "our card allows you to access money worldwide."

WAMU's previous VISA debit card has the Plus, Interlink, and Star logos on the bank (indicates specific network). The new MC debit card only has the STAR logo on the back. Again, I was assured that I would be able to access money at any ATM that had a CIRRUS or Maestro logos. Still not convinced, I did a bit more investigating,and found out that apparently,the STAR network cannot be used abroad!

Again, I'm hearing one thing from WAMU, another from those folks who have recently traveled to Spain and Italy who have experienced problems ....... If anyone knows anything, I would love to hear about it.

enzian Jun 8th, 2006 05:24 PM

Hmmm....I'd love to hear too. I only take my WaMu debit card as a "backup" (my credit union card ofers better rates), but if it doesn't work, then it's not much of a backup.

Are the problems you have heard of only in Spain and Italy?

vedette Jun 9th, 2006 06:14 AM


dsquared Jun 9th, 2006 06:20 AM

Enzian, as a long-time WAMU customer, I laughed when I read your comment about calling them. They used to have wonderful customer service, but now you get bounced from dept to dept and they all read off scripts.

As for the new debit card, I was told by WAMU that they forced us all to switch as it was "better" for us......the Spain and Italy scenario sure doesn't sound like it is. Has anyone had trouble using it is the US or Canada?

JandaO Jun 9th, 2006 06:33 AM

your report proves that this forum is invalueable. I just got the new WAMU gold Mastercard, I had no idea that there would or have been any problems using it in Italy. I will call the bank and talk to them this next week.
Before, when going to Europe I would call the bank several weeks prior to my trip and tell them that I would be in Europe. I didnt have any problems before.

Thank you for your post. You may have saved me alot of problems. :)

Robespierre Jun 9th, 2006 06:39 AM

Putting your card in an ATM and getting money out is The Only Truth.

All else is prophesy.

enzian Jun 9th, 2006 06:48 AM

Dsquared---you are so right about the customer service. WaMu used to be our little hometown bank (I live in Seattle), now that they are a very big bank things are different. I've actually never tried calling them---just go into the branch 2 blocks from my office when I need to. I haven't received one the the "new" debit cards, though---I should find out about that.

So is the key in what symbols are on the back (Plus, Cirrus, Interlink, etc.)? Which ones are necessary for the cards to work in Europe?

wren Jun 9th, 2006 08:17 AM


vedette Jun 9th, 2006 08:55 AM

I just checked on the WaMu website and it says that you can get cash at any ATM that displays the MasterCard, Maestro or Cirrus logos. Of course, the WaMu card doesn't have Maestro or Cirrus on the back, but Star. I don't recall ever seeing a European ATM with a MasterCard logo on it, but I might not have noticed anyway.

hopscotch Jun 9th, 2006 01:50 PM

As I recall Mastercard goes under the name Maestro in Europe. Instead of interlinking red and orange balls it uses interlinking blue and red balls for a logo.

My Mastercard debit card from Union Bank of California has only the Star brand on the back, no Cirrus etc. I was able to draw money from cash machines in the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, and Lithuania in January, but was thwarted in some other places which I forget now. I'm used to having stuff not work now and then but it never dawned on me that the reason could be that those machines would not accept Star. I always carry a few ATM and CC cards plus a cash reserve so I was never in trouble.

susan001 Jun 9th, 2006 02:08 PM

I just received my new gold MC debit card from WAMU and was alarmed when I saw that it only has the "star" and no "interlink" symbol on the back. Trust me, I had major problems with my Wells Fargo card last summer. I called my bank long distance and a customer service rep. told me I was having difficulty at Italian ATMs because they require the interlink symbol on the card. I cancelled my account when I got home and opened with WAMU (they originally issued a dark blue card which had the Interlink symbol). This is not a good sign, folks.

Thanks to the original poster for bringing this to our attention.

wren Jun 9th, 2006 02:28 PM

I am really concerned about the possibilty of our ATM card not working this summer in Germany and Italy. The problem is we won't know if we have a problem until we get there, which is scary. I assume to get more than one ATM card, you must have more than one account. Anyone who has advice would help.

catama1 Jun 9th, 2006 03:54 PM

I just came back from Italy and Croatia.........had NO problem using my new WAMU gold master card/debit card. Both my husband and I used them in many different banks.

vedette Jun 9th, 2006 03:57 PM

Glad to hear it catama1. But to be on the safe side, I just opened an account at Bank of America.

susan001 Jun 9th, 2006 08:18 PM

That is good to hear, but just to be on the safe side, Wren, carry a back-up card. I will never go to Europe again without 2 debit cards from different banks.

wren Jun 10th, 2006 04:49 AM

I guess I am going to go to the bank bright and early Monday morning, and open up a new does seem like a good insurance policy to prevent a possible disaster!!!

partyteacher Jun 10th, 2006 05:00 AM

This is my biggest fear for our trip to Ireland. We leave on Wednesday. I too have spoken with WaMu both in person and on the phone and they assure me that ALL their Mastercards are linked to the Cirrus/Maestro system even though those logos are not displayed on the back of the card. If the debit card doesn't work, is it possible to just go into the bank and withdraw cash directly? Several of our B&B's only accept cash. What is the best way to get cash if our debit cards don't work?


overthetop Jun 10th, 2006 10:00 AM

Good Morning All!

It's wonderful to hear that someone did NOT have problems accessing their money from an ATM while abroad.

As far as I know, the logos on the back of your card (STAR, Interlink, Cirrus, etc.) indicate what system can be used. So, like many of you, when I saw my new MC from WAMU with just the STAR logo, I began to ask questions. Unfortunately, WAMU's stock answers do not make me feel terribly secure. As with the rest of you, I do not want to find myself in Spain without being able to access my money.

I was planning on going over to Wells Fargo and opening an account with them because their VISA debit card offers more than just the STAR logo (I know it has the PLUS logo ....... not sure about the interlink?). Someone mentioned having problems with Wells Fargo? Please tell me before I head over there on Monday. I was also considering Bank of America, but have heard others have problems with these people too. Can anyone speak to this? Actually, I've NEVER had problems with WAMU before and the only reason that I'm considering Wells Fargo or B of A is just to secure a back up check card.

Thank you all for responding -- This is the BEST and most informative travel website! Again, would love to hear if anyone has used their WAMU MC in Spain with or without difficulty.

Take care.

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