Debit Cards OR Traveller's Checks???

Old Apr 11th, 1999, 06:14 PM
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Debit Cards OR Traveller's Checks???

We will be travelling to Madrid and Southern Spain. What are your suggestions for receiving the best exchange rate?? Our bank cards are for Cirrus and Honor Bank Systems.
Have you seen ATM machines for these types of cards and are these ATM machines conveniently located in Madrid and Southern Spain?

Old Apr 11th, 1999, 06:51 PM
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Hi Susan -

Sorry I can't help with Spain itself, but where I've been in Europe in general (Paris, London, Brussels) we saw ATM's everywhere. Madrid in particular is a major city so I'm sure they have plenty just like cities listed above.

As far traveller's checks, I would say don't bother. Some people like them but on a trip to New York once, we couldn't find anyone but a bank that would take them. Very frustrating. Ever since, I take cash (well hidden of course) and use the ATM for extra if we need it.

When it comes to exchange rates, sometimes the difference in rates is significant, and sometimes it's not. I would certainly shop around, but, don't spend half your vacation trying to save $10 on $500 in cash.

Have a great trip!
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 02:05 AM
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Although I always take traveler's checks (about $500- $1000) as an emergency back up I have not been using them at all for years, as I have not had to. ATMs are everywhere now and the exchange rate is better (plus no waiting in bank lines to cash them or service charges added). I just end up bringing back the travelers checks and taking them next time as back up or spending them in the USA (or depositing them back into my home town bank).
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 03:39 AM
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For me traveller cheques are totally out of the question. I bought some in 1996 and have only used a few in 4 years time so that I have resold them now (at a good exchange rate!).

The easiest for travelling are creditcards in my opinion. You can use them in stores/restaurants and you can collect cash from ATM's or in the bank.

Your Cirrus card should not be a problem in Spain.
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 06:23 AM
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I have an ATM card that has the Cirrus logo on it and we used it everywhere we went in Madrid and Southern Spain. Not every machine will take the card with Cirrus logo, but it wasn't too hard finding machines that did. I don't recall there being an ATM machine in the Madrid airport so I think we cashed in dollars at the currency exchange for the taxi. You get the best exchange rate, I believe, either usig your credit cards or your ATM card.
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 08:13 AM
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Ditto with the travelers checks: I have not used the ones I've taken since the ATM machines have been reliable. I will take about $500 for emergency use. I also take a Master Card for our dining and hotels.
You shouldn't have any problems looking for ATM machines in Spain.
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 09:25 AM
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What kind of ATM fees have you all encountered? I'm traveling to Italy next month and debating this issue with my husband.
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 11:52 AM
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I have a Nations Bank card and I was charged $1.50 per transaction. However, every month I'm allowed 2 free transactions. I got money out of the ATM machines (in Italy) 5 times in a 2 week period, so that added up to $4.50. Not bad, especially since it was so convenient!
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 09:04 PM
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Susan, I've used ATMs vurtually evrywhere, including some fairly obscure little towns, in Spain / Europe. Do check with your bank about fees - after my last trip I discovered my bank had added an extra fee for interntional ATM usage.

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