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ATMs vs. Credit Card for purchasing power

ATMs vs. Credit Card for purchasing power

Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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ATMs vs. Credit Card for purchasing power

I've been reading and reading and reading Fodor's postings and now I need to ask -- is it more economical to use one's charge card or -- is it more economical to use ATM for Euros and pay in cash.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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for me this year was the first time credit cards were better on the bottom line

previously for years ATMs were better, but now my ATM issuer charges 3% plus a flat ATM transaction fee (no charges from Europe on such fees - only what your local bank charges)

now most credit cards have moved to a universal 3% fee and that's it - so the difference is in the ATM usuer fee - about $5 in my case each time you withdraw money

exchange rates used by both are similar

some cards, like Capital One i guess don't charge anything

and ATM cards all have whatever bank they're thru charges so just call you ATM bank and credit cards and ask what the charges are.

And once in Europe beware Dynamic Exchange or whatever the term is when they write your bill up in dollars and not euros, pounds, swiss francs, etc. - then you probably will get a much poorer exchange rate than if the credit card company converts it from local currency to dollars.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:24 PM
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And i may add that some hotels, etc. may have a surcharge for using credit cards so then using cash would be better.

ATMs hooked to checking accounts or which are debit cards work always IME - those to savings accounts may well not

In either case tell your ATM bank or credit card bank which countries you are going to so they don't block the transaction for security reasons

I also tell them now that these are the only countries i'm going to - this after reading that in Italy somehow they had readers of some type - crooks did to get you ATM number and PIN and then had charges coming in from Romania.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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It depends on your provider. I pay no fee for the ATM and 1% conversion on the credit card, which is refunded by my provider as part of the general "appeal" of the card--1% refund on all purchases. That being the case, I can use credit card or ATM card as I wish.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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<<< so the difference is in the ATM usuer fee - about $5 in my case each time you withdraw money >>>

Bank of America? If so do a search for "Barclays" on this forum where you'll find out how to avoid that $5 fee
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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for me this year was the first time ATM cards were better on the bottom line

previously for years credit cards were better, but now my cc issuer charges 3% the ATM card is cheaper. My credit union does not charge for foreign ATM usage - only the 1% levied by Visa.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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<<< previously for years credit cards were better, but now my cc issuer charges 3% the ATM card is cheaper >>>

It means the CC company now shows the conversion fee as a separate item rather than including it in the exchange rate
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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Yes, cc issuers now must show the 3% as a separate transaction.

I've tracked to the penny my conversion costs on about 10 previous trips over the last 4-5 years, and since about the last 2yrs credit union ATM without any forex fee is better by 2% over my cc's.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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If you use your Master Card to get cash from an ATM machine you are getting a cash advance - and the minute you make the transaction you will be accuring interest on the cash as a loan (anywhere from 18-24%) and the loan charges begin immediately.

If you have a bank card such as Bank of America (which I only use for travel purposes) it can be used as an ATM card with their "sister" banks such as Barcly's Bank, and many, many other banks worldwide without fees and charges.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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Also it is cheaper to use your Master Card for a purchase directly rather than getting cash from the ATM using the MC they paying for the service with the cash.
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