Cash from a credit card

Feb 1st, 2009, 06:48 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 7,138
Cash from a credit card

We travel with only ATM and credit cards these days, more than one of each. No travelers' checks. I'd always mentally reserved, as an emergency alternative, getting cash from a credit card.

On another thread, somebody said you couldn't walk into a bank, present your credit card and get cash without also providing a PIN. Is this true? What if your credit card doesn't have a PIN (let alone a chip)?
Mimar is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 06:55 AM
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Hi Mimar; We called our credit card company while in Europe to get a pin number when we had an ATM problem with our normal ATM card. We were able to use the credit card at ATM machines, but it is not advisable. Our company charged us interest from 'day one' when we drew money. Check with your CC company to see what their policy is. Then get your pin number while at home. In an emergency it worked for us. ENJOY Iris
iris1745 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 07:33 AM
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In Germany, many banks will not accept VISA cards any more. It has to do with fees.

MasterCard is still fine.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 07:34 AM
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Better to get another ATM card, especially with the way credit card fees are going through the roof.
avalon is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 07:38 AM
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Check to see what interest rate the bank will charge. It's usually more that 20%, and as stated, from "day one", the moment you receive the cash.

If you need cash, it might be cheaper to have someone wire you the funds, but if you're worried about possible problems with your ATM card, you might want to open a separate account and take along a back-up ATM card instead of obtaining cash with a credit card.

No matter how you obtain cash from your credit card, the interest rate will be like getting money from a loan shark, or one of those check-cashing ventures.
Robert2533 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 07:55 AM
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Hi Mimar,
I didn't have to give a pin when I got cash from my credit card. But that was here in the US.

Please be aware that you will pay exorbitant fees/interest for doing this. I got something like $200 cash from my credit card on vacation one time and by the time I received my statement and paid the new balance it was something like another $75 in interest just for that convenience.

You will pay interest from the second you take that money out, even if you pay your balance in full each statement period.

I made that mistake one time only, never ever again. I would have to be very very desperate to use this means of obtaining money.

As an alternative we opened a second free checking account this week just for the trip. My husband and I each have an ATM for both accounts so this is 4 cards total. I can move money around between the two accounts if necessary. We are bringing a laptop so this won't be done in a cafe etc.

Take care,
michele_d is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 08:07 AM
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Mimar question is so close to our experience summer 2008 experience, that I thought I would jump-in.

In preparaing for the summer 2008 trip, I went to bank and moved a couple of thousand dollars from savings to checking. [My ATM card does not access my savings accounts.] I told the custiomer rep of our plans with specifics.

When we got to Italy the ATM card worked only the first time. I tried different ATM machines, tried different banks. My credit card would get me cash but the ATM card only worked once on a 10 day trip.

I got back to the US, my bank said that their customer service rep had incorrectly handled my instructions to her.

So, have back-up access to funds when in Europe.

(Yes I could have called my bank from Italy but I took the lazy way and did not call).
Big_Red is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 08:42 AM
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I also had my bank handle my instruction INCORRECTLY. I informed my plan to my bank and they are supposed to code my card to enable foreign ATM withdrawals.

I do not trust any of my bank. I use three banks.

So I checked my card the day before my trip -- and what you know, it did not work at home. A call to the bank revealed that they DEACTIVATED the card due to a report of "lost card" dated the day I made a phone call. The customer service would not acknowledge their error and told me to wait 7 to 10 days for a new card or pay $30 plus dollars for an expedited delivery of a new card in few days.

After endless wait after talking to the call center supervisor, they finally admitted they made a clerical error and reactivated the card on the spot.
greg is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 08:59 AM
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I don't think anyone has actually addressed the real question asked, and I think the OP is not planning to do this except in an emergency already.

I don't know the answer to the actual question. I do the same thing -- take two ATM cards (two diff. accounts) and CCs. I actually do have some TCs as backup as I get them free at AAA but I don't think I used any the last time (I take them in USD, my native currency, which is why they are free).

As I recall, someone said to go into the bank in order to avoid some fee, I don't recall the real reason why you would do that rather than putting your CC in an ATm to begin with. ATMs have CC logos on the front, I assume that would work, although I've never had to do it as an emergency. I know it works with AmEx, at least they tell me it will so I assume they aren't lying. Those CC companies make lots of money off cash advances at ATMs, as above have warned, so they sure want to allow you to do it.

ALl my CCs have PINs, and I have a Visa, MC and Amex, I don't know why you can't get one. You may even have one and not know it (I think some of my CCs gave me one as a default, I remember the letters). I think last time I was going to Europe last Fall, I wanted to make sure I had a PIN with my Amex, so I asked them what mine was as I didn't remember getting it in the mail. I think they claimed I didn't have one as a default, even though I had on my last Amex, go figure. But they easily gave me one that I requested when I did.

I don't really know why one would want to walk into a bank instead of using the ATM to begin with. Bank hours are a lot less, after all, and you may have to wait in lines and perhaps have communication problems. I can't believe any CC would call that a charge instead of a cash advance by doing that, as it is still cash. Maybe it had to do with avoiding the few dollar ATM transaction fee, I don't recall. In any emergency, that would be the last of my worries and I think I'd rather use an ATM than deal with bank personnel.
Christina is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Hi Mim,

I suggest taking $1000 in USD TCs as an emergency reserve.

If you don't use them, you put them back in your bank account when you return.

ira is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:32 AM
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As mentioned, cash advance on CC is a rip off to be avoided unless absolutely necessary in an emergency situation.
Something else to add to trip planing is to ask your bank for a number you can call from overseas. Most US banks list a toll free 800# on the card itself, but these will not work from overseas. Not sure if it is common practice, but my bank (Chase) has a regular US telephone number at which they accept collect calls from overseas. I only had to use it once a few years ago but it was very helpful. In that instance, the ATM card they swore should work never did, and they instructed me to use my CC to get cash and they refunded the fees.
Seamus is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:35 AM
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why "No traveler's checks"?

In an emergency, TCs are a much better option imo than taking a "cash advance" on a credit card.

TC's don't expire. You can tote around the same $500-1000 for years if you never need to use them.
suze is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:47 AM
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>In Germany, many banks will not accept VISA cards any more.

I don't feel the Sparkasse Dinslaken-Voerde-Hünxe qualifies as "many" ;-)
I wouldn't know where Dinslaken-Voerde-Hünxe is located anyway. Somewhere up there in Prussia?
logos999 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:52 AM
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Every "VISA" customer of the Sparkasse Dinslaken-Voerde-Hünxe has to surrender his Visa card to the bank (or destroy it) to get a Mastercard.

Fortunately my DKB Visa still gets me cash without any fees anywhere else.
logos999 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:59 AM
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My credit card requires a pin number if I want a cash advance.

I have to laugh though at all the grief a few here put me through a few years ago when I said I don't use an ATM in the UK. Look at the problems listed here people have had with ATM cards & then multiply it by 10 using a Virgin Islands bank ATM card.
Carrybean is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 11:22 AM
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When I go overseas, I leave my itinerary with my bank. I also have the e-mail address of the person at the bank who handles ATM business. She said if I have a problem I can e-mail her (without giving actual card numbers). Because of the time difference, this seems like a good plan.
Marsh is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 03:03 PM
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Yes, I did know about the interest rates for cash from a credit card. But I'm only talking about a real emergency.

I don't think all banks will cash travelers' checks anymore, especially those in small towns. And certainly not hotels or shops. And I like not having to guard the travelers' checks.

Actually I prefer an ATM card that is not a debit card, i.e., will not work as a credit card. If the ATM won't give it back, it's of no use to anyone else.

It's just that we have 4 credit cards and 2 ATM cards. It's hard to remember all those PINs. Not to speak of my assorted computer and web site user names and passwords.

What about an AmEx card (the Costco version)? Could I get cash at an American Express office?

P.S. We pay those credit cards off every month -- online from our credit union account.
Mimar is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 11:30 AM
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Maybe I'm missing something here... but how is keeping track of Travelers Checks for an emergency, any harder or different than keeping track of a credit card?
suze is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 03:36 PM
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I've used a credit card in ATM machines in France and Italy w/o a pin. A long time ago (mid 1990s) the bank tellers directed me to the ATM machine for a cash withdrawal on my credit card rather than doing the transaction inside the bank.

The fees you pay depend on your credit card. I use one from a credit union and there are no additional fees for cash advances. You do have to pay from day of withdrawal but it was only a few dollars (2 or 3 dollars) on a several hundred dollar withdrawal. I paid it off the day I got home by transferring funds so I only used the cash advance for a couple of weeks at most.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:48 AM
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Well, suze, I'm already taking the credit card. And using it to charge things. The travelers' checks are an additional item, one I will be unlikely to use.
Mimar is offline  

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