ATM Question

Aug 28th, 2003, 12:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 102
ATM Question

I've called my local bank and was told THEY will not impose a transaction when I withdraw money from an ATM in Spain though the Spanish bank may. Does anyone have any advice or experience with charges the banks in Spain hit you with? The logos on my ATM card are CIRRUS and NYCE if that makes a difference. Will I find these ATM machines in abundance in Spain? I don't have a credit union ATM, so can't go that route.
travlbug is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 12:45 PM
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To the best of my knowledge and to repeat what has been stated here many times, "No bank in Europe will impose a fee for using their ATM". So if your US bank doesn't impose a fee for using a certain bank, you will have no fees at all!!

And yes, you will have no problem finding Cirrus ATMs all over Spain.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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I've used my ATM card from my Credit Union at bank ATM machines in both Spain & Italy. No transaction fees were charged.
My credit union automatically charged $1.50 on each transaction but when I later called them, they credited me for the charges, confirming that they do not charge the fee on withdrawals outside the US.
It is likely that the overseas banks do cover their costs thru a very small adjustment in the exchange rate used when converting euros to dollars.
travelerone is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 06:45 AM
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I agree with the above. I just think that US banks are disclosure-happy on the advice of their attorneys, and warn that they will not be responsible for fees out of their control. But these fees from European banks, at least from my experience and everyone else I've heard from, seem to be an Urban Legend!
MaggieMae is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 06:56 AM
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The bank you withdraw from has nothing to do with the exchange rate...they deal only with local currency. To them £20 is £20....they submit the amount to the international MC (Cirrus) or Visa (Plus) system and receive their money in local currency. Cirrus or Plus converts using the interbank rate (the rate in the paper) with a 1% mark up. This is then submitted to your bank in your local currency presumably USD. At this point, sometimes banks will adjust the amount at your end. Not too often at this point on ATM transactions.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 07:20 AM
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Hi trav,

Does your bank charge a fee for out of network ATMs in the US?

If so, it will charge the same fee in Spain.
ira is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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Ira, that's not true of all U.S. banks. When I use my ATM card outside my bank's network in the U.S., I'm hit with fees from both institutions. But I've never paid a fee for an ATM withdrawal in Europe -- to my bank or any other (at least a dozen different banks in Ireland, Netherlands, France, Spain, and Italy).
Anyway, if there's a fee of $2 and I withdraw $200 or more at each ATM visit, it is still good value for the convenience.
kayd is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 09:56 AM
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Hi kayd,

I should have said "more than likely".
ira is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 10:58 AM
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xyz123 -

We had one incident on a recent trip and ATM withdrawals - our experience in France, where two people at the same ATM - I withdrew 200Euro and my friend withdrew the same amount immediately after me - when we returned home, we each had different exchange rates on our bank statements. The difference amounted to pennies (less than $1.00), but they were different.

When we made inquiry at our bank (same bank for both of us) we learned that since my friend had a different type of account carrying a higher balance, got the more favorable rate.

We've never been assessed a fee from a foreign ATM (neither does out bank charge a fee on foreign withdrawals), nor a "foreign currency exchange fee" on credit card purchases, anywhere.
Aug 29th, 2003, 11:23 AM
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Couple of points...

1. Again bank you make withdrawal from has nothing to do with exchange rate. They submit a £20 debit to the international clearing mechanism and they receive £20 credit...whatever happens after is none of their concern. International currency rates are constantly changing even within 2 or 3 minutes of each other and that might account for the slight differences.

2. Unbeknownst to you, you are always charged an international conversion fee. The international clearing house always adds 1% to the interbank rate and every bank passes along the 1% (few itemize it which was the point of the whole suit regarding credit card conversions) even if they say there is no foreign currency just means they don't add an additional surcharge on top of the clearing house.

Some banks, not many, have begun to add surcharges to converted amounts on ATM transaction but again this is done on this side of the pond after the clearing house has converted the amount. It is added on the 1% on the interbank rate but understand the interbank rate is not available to the average joe on the street; those are the amounts the banks set among themselves for millions of dollars of foreign transactions every minute of the banking day. Since you get the interbank rate with only a 1% mark up, there is nothing to complain about.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 01:08 PM
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ira: My local credit union does charge a fee for out of network ATM withdrawals in the US but no fee for withdrawals in Europe. One should verify with his ATM card issuing bank before traveling overseas to confirm if they have a fee or not.

I agree that the constant fluctuations in the exchange rate during the day are
relatively insignificant for the average traveler.
travelerone is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 02:39 PM
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Bank of America does, indeed, charge an international conversion fee when I use my debit card in a European ATM. I'm also charged a conversion fee on transactions in European restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops, etc.

And I've got my bank statements to prove it, too.

BrimhamRocks is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 05:50 PM
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We were inPortugal and Spain this summer and withdrew about $1800.00 - 250/300 Euros at a time. We were never charged a fee by the European bank, but our home bank charged $3 a transaction. This may seem troubling, but given the ease of getting money as opposed to finding a place to cash a travelers check, in my opinion it is the only way to go.

You will find ATMs (sometimes called bancomats) every where.
gpotvin is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 06:27 PM
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Even if they do charge transaction fees, they would be acceptable to me; the convenience is unreal compared to 10-15 years ago. Just go and worry about the nickels and dimes later!
dncee11 is offline  

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