Best Bank Institution for ATM Withdrawls

Old Mar 7th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Best Bank Institution for ATM Withdrawls

I've seen so many posts on how "my bank" doesn't charge a huge Foreign Fee for atm withdrawls in Europe...can someone share their experience with their "bank" and please disclose the institutions far from what was posted back in 2004 Citibank (my bank) is one of the worst banks to have Debit MasterCards with. I also have a BofA and am considering a Washington Mutual...please advise, thank you!
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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from a fodor newsletter:

Although you may not know it, many major credit cards tack a 3% currency conversion fee for all foreign charges. This fee generally includes a 1% fee levied by Visa or MasterCard; your card company passes the charge on to you. That's not small change when you consider all of the hotel stays, meals, souvenirs, and museum entrance fees you will charge on that sucker.

Best of the Bunch: Capital One
Capital One continues its popular policy of charging zero conversion fees. They even absorb the 1% fee that Visa and MasterCard charge to process purchases.

Honorable Mention: American Express
American Express, which charges a flat 2% fee, deserves special mention for its refusal to allow merchants to tack on additional fees at the point of sale, namely the Dynamic Currency Conversion fee (DCC). When you charge something abroad, you may be asked if you'd like to be charged for the amount of your bill in your home currency. The result, a seemingly tidy sum in your local currency, carries with it additional charges averaging 3-5% of the total purchase. Coupled with a credit card that charges 3% currency conversion fees, that purchase could cost over 8% more than its retail price. Always say no to these offers and always check that your bill is in the local currency -- some retailers will make the conversion without asking you first.

By charging with an AMEX card, you are completely avoiding the DCC altogether, which is just one less thing to worry about. If you're unsure if AMEX will be accepted where you're heading, Visa and MasterCard cards issued by Wachovia and HSBC only carry the 1% fee, but they're still susceptible to DCC charges.

Guilty as Charged: The 3% Cards
Several card companies pad their pockets with every international purchase you make. Be forewarned--you'll pay 3% currency conversion fees with the following companies: Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.

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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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Sorry but I need to clarify that I don't use Credit Cards for anything. I do have a Capital One but it is only used for emergencies which Thank God I haven't had in years (knock on wood)I only use debit cards for EVERY purchase. So again, I will only be using a debit card (with MasterCard logo) for every purchase/ withdrawl. I recently purchased train tickets/hotels/flights (from within Europe) and Citibank charged me a foreign fee for every transaction that I made where my USD was converted for payment in Euro or GBD. Would I have been better off with BofA or Washington Mutual?
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 07:04 PM
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I think my Citibank ATM card charges me a fair fee. I didn't used to get charged a separate 1% fee until last summer. Prior to that, I used to get interbank rates, or pretty darned close, all feeless.

But I hear Commerce Bank is a good choice, and I am considering it as my next move. Search "Commerce Bank" on Fodors, and you should find a thread from October of last year in which this was the main topic of discussion. Budman is a big fan of them, and since he lives in my metropolitan area, his information is good for my needs.

As for credit cards, there is a mistake halcyon's post from Fodor's newsletter (or maybe an update?). HSBC charges 3% for all foreign purchases made on its credit card. I know, I recently looked at my new credit card issued by HSBC and it states in bold that the foreign charge is 3%. It will stay home with my Citibank credit card when I travel abroad.

I may break down and finally open a Capital One account. No foreign purchase fee, and either rebates or miles. How can you beat that?
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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We're talking about two different things so far in this thread. A credit card charge vs. an ATM cash withdrawal. I think the OP is referring to ATM withdrawal fees.

For ATM's I think this depends on what country/city you're going to. I found it very easy to find appropriate Bank of America partner banks in London (Barclays) and Paris (BNP)-- not so much in Prague or Istanbul.

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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 07:29 PM
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My credit union charges no fee when using the ATM card abroad. It also charges no fee on the credit card beyond the Visa 1% fee.
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 07:39 PM
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Well, I use my Bank of America card and get 2 freebie off net transactions per month, including Europe.

I figure I pay 1% for the use of my card, plus a flat fee for each transaction after 2.

I avoid using this card as much as possible and use my Capital One card for virtually no additional fees of any kind when I charge. Besides, if I need to dispute the charge later, I have that option.

If you pay cash, it is over and done.

Besides, I don't recommend trying to rent a car without a credit card.

Also, I can buy train tickets in advance with my Capital One card. This often saves me money because I can take advantage of advanced purchase fares.

For example last year my wife and I took the train from Munich to Basel SBB station. The two tickets cost me €78 because I was able to buy in advance from home through my DB account. Had I waited until I was in Munich, I would had to have paid more than twice that amount.

As a result, I often use my credit card to save money by making my train ticket purchases before I leave home.

I think it is worth it.

Besides I don't like Bank of America's modus operandi and I wish changing banks was not like pulling teeth with no anesthetic.

However, if you are going to use your BOA card, at least find out the correspondent banks. Barclays Bank ATMs were/are treated by BOA as "on net" transactions.

I am not sure what the situation is elsewhere.
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