ATMs, CCs and the euro

Feb 13th, 2005, 12:11 PM
  #1  
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ATMs, CCs and the euro

Does anyone have advise as to which bank here in the US is best to use with ATMs in Europe. So many fees and etc. Any credit card companies better on exchange? At least we don't have to hit one upon arrival in a new country since the euro is used. I heard your pin # also needed not to start with a one - is that true?
Sammie is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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I only have the USAA M/C and have been told that it's one of the better ones. They all charge a 1% conversion fee, but some charge up to 3% transaction fee. USAA does not.

I never heard about the pin # starting with a one, but I have heard about the pin # starting with a zero, but I can't either confirm or deny.

Check with your bank and ask them what their fees are.
Budman is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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You are right - I just got a notice from my bank that they were going to charge 3% plus some other small print. Can't remember what they said about ATM charges. Don't want our dollars eaten up by fees, would rather spend them eating on vacation! Never heard of USAA - is that through a regular bank?
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Feb 13th, 2005, 12:32 PM
  #4  
ira
 
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Hi S,

The bank-owned ATMs in Europe do not charge. The independent ones are marked and the fees are shown.

As Budman notes, all currency transactions have a 1% fee charged by Visa or MC. Amex charges 2%.

Any other fees come through your bank as "out of network" or "transaction" fees.

MBNA doesn't add a fee.

ira is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 12:36 PM
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I've used Schwab Visa and Salomon Smith Barney Master Card in UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Netherlands. Neither one charges a markup; both assess a $1 transaction fee
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Question:
Robespierre, let me see if I understand fully what you are saying.

With your two credit cards, do you pay the bank wholesale rate of exchange plus a flat $1.00 per use fee?

If so, that is probably a better deal than MBNA which assesses a charge of 1% of net purchase amount.

A €500 bill would be charged 1% of that or €5, which right now is about $6.50.
You would pay only $1.00.

Of course a €25 still get $1.00 added on, if I read and interpret correctly.
So the breakeven point would be to average $100 per cc use??
bob_brown is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 04:08 PM
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ira
 
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Hey Bob,

All currency changes that go through Visa or MC have a 1% fee.

ira is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 04:13 PM
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Hey, Bob,

I always got 100 £, €, or CHF at a time. The fee was always $1, and the rate was always Interbank.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 04:36 PM
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That is a better deal than what I have.
Must one be a brokerage customer to have that type of arrangement with whomever?

I will sometimes draw out 800 chf in Switzerland to pay the rent. I usually pay 1% as near as I can tell. If you pay $1.00 per, then that is a very good deal.
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Feb 13th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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I was told at a DeutscheBank that if there is a VISA symbol on the ATM, then there will be a 1% conversion fee for all euro withdrawals from US bank accounts. I have no reason NOT to believe that. VISA services charges an automatic 1% on all credit card transactions in Europe, why wouldn't they also charge that 1% on all ATM withdrawals that they handle?
Patrick is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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Check with your bank...the EU banks charge no fees. BofA charges no transaction fee if you use specified banks..i.e. BNP Parabis in France and I have the other list somewhere!Patrick, do you know the other banks? I think it's Barclays in the UK
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Feb 13th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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Yes, Barclay's BNP, and Deutsche Bank are the ones I know that work with Bank of America and so they won't charge a fee for withdrawals. But that still doesn't mean they don't charge a 1% transaction fee if it is handled by Visa Services, which mostly they are. That 1% is pretty hard to see, as the daily rate may vary by that much anyway, so without it being itemized out it's pretty near impossible to know if you are or are not getting a true interbank rate.
Patrick is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 04:57 PM
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Thanks, Patrick. I swear I am going to write that down on the cc number list I store in my computer. For some reason the only one I truly remember other than BNP is Scotia...and I don't even know what country that is for! 1% I can eat!
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Feb 13th, 2005, 06:03 PM
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Robespierre, my dear, your Schwab card is in conjunction with MBNA, so you get charged the 1% Visa fee and nothing extra because MBNA doesn't rip us off (yet). You will never see the Visa fee.

Your SmithBarney card is in conjunction with Citibank, and I garonteee you that you are charged not only the 1% Master Card fee, but an additional 2% Citibank conversion surcharge, both of which you will never see. If you question this, I urge you to call your SmithBarney number (though often the agents don't know what you're talking about).

Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

But wait! I am talking about credit card charges. My experience with ATMs is limited because I have a credit union card which I disassociated from Visa because I didn't want a debit card.
LVSue is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 06:13 PM
  #15  
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Thanks everyone this is such good information! The research begins.
Sammie is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 06:44 PM
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LVSue, I can show you receipts from ATMs in Europe showing that day's rate (which you can check on the ECB site), and the corresponding line items in my statement. If they're charging something, it's hidden pretty well.

By the way, Schwab is through PNC Bank, not MBNA.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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R, I think we are talking apples and oranges. I was referring to CC foreign conversion charges. I'm in the dark about ATMs.
LVSue is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 04:29 AM
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Sue, make sure you get a pin number for your credit card before you leave. The ATM's in Europe will not charge you a fee to use. You will get a 1% conversion fee when you use your credit card in the ATM, plus, your bank may or may not add additional fees, in addition to the interest for a cash advance.
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Feb 14th, 2005, 04:54 AM
  #19  
ira
 
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May I suggest that the important point is not whether one pays Visa or MC a 1% fee ($10/$1000 withdrawn), but whether your bank charges $5/withdrawl and/or 2% "conversion fee"?

That can add another $40.

ira is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Ira, you're going to get the 1% conversion fee whether you use a VISA/Mastercard Credit Card or a Debit Card, or an ATM card. That conversion fee is rolled into the exchange rate.

Any additional fees/interests is dependent upon your bank, credit card company, credit union, etc. Call them to find out what fees/interests they will apply to your transactions.

The European ATM's will not charge you anything to use.
Budman is offline  

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