Cash vs ATM

Jan 24th, 2010, 07:36 AM
  #41  
 
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Sorry you had such a hard time. But that is why I asked if it was linked checking and savings. If the savings is the "primary" you would usually be sol getting money from an ATM in Europe. Many threads have mentioned that issue. So maybe you didn't see any of them, but to say >>some of the information you get here...not all that helpful.<< just isn't true IMO
janisj is online now  
Jan 24th, 2010, 07:46 AM
  #42  
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The checking account is the primary account.
thereyet is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 07:49 AM
  #43  
 
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Thanks for putting the outcome of your initial question in the original post. This forum would be twice as valuable if all posters would do that.
bigtyke is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 08:00 AM
  #44  
 
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Just thought I'd throw my two cents in--or is that my 3%?

When I go to Europe, I ususlly have some euros from my last trip, so I don't have to get money right away.

I get the maximum amount my bank permits ($500 per day), for which I am charged $5.00. The bank always charges $5.00, no matter how much money I withdraw, so it's better to get the max.

I am a rabid proponent of wearing a money belt, so I never have fears about the security of carrying $500-$1000 in euros. I just tuck it into my money belt and I'm off.

When I charge expenses on my Visa, it costs me 3%. It's more economical to pay everything in the cash I've withdrawn because to charge $5000 in euros would cost me $150 in fees, wherease to withdraw the money and pay cash would cost $50.

In the past, I've usually charged because I use my frequent flyer card to earn miles and also because it's a simple way to record expenses for when I come back home.

However, I really think I should get an ATM card from my credit union and use it instead of my Wells Fargo ATM card. The fees would be either free or low cost.
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Jan 24th, 2010, 08:04 AM
  #45  
 
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I have to pay a fee to my *home* bank for international/out-of-network transaction when I use an ATM in Europe (but there's no extra fee on the Europe bank end).

My money strategy is to have the most options possible - some Euro in advance, USD cash to exchange, an ATM card, 2 credit cards, heck maybe even Travelers Checks stuck in the bottom of my bag for extreme emergency.
suze is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 08:14 AM
  #46  
 
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Pegontheroad - Join the credit union as they don't charge those fees and you can also get the credit union Visa card.

http://www.creditunion.coop/cu_locator/quickfind.php
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 24th, 2010, 08:24 AM
  #47  
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Thanks bigtyke.

janisj, that is why I qualified my statement with "some" of the information...not all that helpful.

I was a new poster when I started this thread, and YOU of all people should know the "search" function on this site back then didn't work all that well. It is much better today, thanks Fodors.

Yes I started several threads when I first started research for this trip...I was new, inexperienced (on this site and traveling in Europe). It is tough on this site for newcomers, there is an element of "hazing" of newcomers...or at least an intolerance.

I am NOT whining about what happened on my trip, on this thread. I am trying to understand what happened which is one reason why I am trying to provide as much detail of how I tried to do things.

So far, and I appreciate the trouble shooting everyone has contributed, there doesn't appear to be a good reason for the SNAFU that occurred on two different trips. Which while frustrating, is OK. Just seems that someone might admit that the best laid plans of mice and men...often go awry.

My personal opinion, because of our dependence on Automated tellers, the human element has been removed...opening the door to fraud, which in turn leads to remote control of accounts to defeat those fraudulent transactions...often catching the innocent in its wake.

Just saying....

Had it not been for the fact that my wife's card worked, I probably would have spent some time in front of a real person (teller) trying to figure out what the problem was. I certainly would have had no problem proving who I was when face to face with a live human being.

Maybe next time, I actually open an account at Barclays prior to my trip...with my home bank transferring funds to the new account before I ever leave home.

thereyet
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Jan 24th, 2010, 09:29 AM
  #48  
 
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If I'm reading the thread correctly, this just happened fairly recently that you couldn't use your ATM cards in Europe -- in England, Spain and France and the checking account was primary. Well, this is very weird, but you didn't mention the bank's name, unless I missed it, so maybe someone might know something about that.

I have only an ATM card (no debit card, which someone above said you need for Italy and Portugal) and have had no problems using it in England, Spain and France. So that's why I think it must be your bank, or maybe your card is real old and worn out? It just doesn't make sense. Given that your wife's card worked on the exact same accounts, that seems to be the answer, I would think.

I have had problems using my ATM card once, and that was in Austria. Couldn't use it anywhere in the country at any ATM, even though I could and did use it in other countries on the same trip. So there was something funny going on with Austrian banks and the network my ATM card uses (STAR and I think PLUS). That was some years ago, however.
Christina is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 09:39 AM
  #49  
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The bank was Washington Mutual (formerly Great Western) on the first trip, and was bought by Chase prior to the second trip.

Fairly big banks I would say...right behind BofA and Wells Fargo, no?

As I mentioned above, the card worked fine on return to home. On the second trip, I had a very new card...with visa logo (debit card vs ATM) with all the network logos on them.
thereyet is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 10:25 AM
  #50  
 
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Question - from what I have gathered, it is obviously best to use the ATM for the most favorable exchange rates, fees, etc. I have Bank of America and the only alliance they have is in France. So, all the other countries I visit I have to pay $5.00. Do you think I should:

1) Get a Capital One card. Does it really have NO fees?
2) Open up a Compass Bank checking since they state that they don't charge any ATM fees anywhere and suppossedly have some of the best exchange rates.
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Jan 24th, 2010, 10:54 AM
  #51  
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Good questions JillD. I have no idea though. From what I gather, the most savvy here pretty much agree that there will be fees, one way or another.

Don't suggest traveling with cash though...that will bring out some fascinating responses.

thereyet
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Jan 24th, 2010, 11:15 AM
  #52  
 
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I have an ATM card from a local credit union. The fees are $1.50 per withdrawal. I've used it in many countries without a problem.

Compass sounds like a good deal.
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Jan 24th, 2010, 11:29 AM
  #53  
 
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Here is a good website to see all the fees -

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-ca...-fees-1276.php

It looks like Capital One is the the only card who doesn't issue fees (besides Discover but won't work in Europe.) However, I don't want to open a credit card (can ding your credit score) so I might see if I can get a checking account with them. I assume their debit cards don't charge a fee either??? Does anyone know?
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Jan 24th, 2010, 01:01 PM
  #54  
 
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Charles Schwab check card also has no currency conversion fees and refunds the fee for getting cash at any ATM that charges for out of network use.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 01:10 PM
  #55  
 
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I just consider that the bank charges are part of my personal security and if Im robbed which has happened to me that Im only out a few days worth of cash.
fetadaddy is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 01:45 PM
  #56  
 
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Wow! So, why doesn't everyone who goes overseas just get either a Capital One card or a Charles Schwab check card? No fees!
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Jan 24th, 2010, 03:24 PM
  #57  
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We took Capital One CC on both trips. Didn't know about Charles Schwab check card, no one here recommended it at the time. Maybe it didn't exist?
thereyet is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 03:38 PM
  #58  
 
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>>>Fairly big banks I would say.<<<

Size doesn't matter. My credit union is very small and I've used my ATM and credit cards for years with no problems.

>>>I have only an ATM card (no debit card, which someone above said you need for Italy and Portugal)<<

My card is ATM only and works fine in Italy.

>>>As I mentioned above, the card worked fine on return to home.<<<

Your bank blocked overseas purchases no US purchases.

>>>It looks like Capital One is the the only card who doesn't issue fees<<<

Most credit union cards don't have fees either. Your link only compares cards issued by banks, not credit unions. All credit unions issue their own branded Visa and Mastercards.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 24th, 2010, 03:47 PM
  #59  
 
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Good to know Kybourbon! I will be signing up for a Charles Schwab Check card this week. Who wants to pay any fees? I sure don't. Has anyone has an experience with this card in Europe?
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Jan 24th, 2010, 04:29 PM
  #60  
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The CS check card fee rebate is only for 6 transactions or $9.00 per month which ever is less. And they can cancel the benefit at any time.
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