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Debit/Credit Cards in Turkey

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Apr 29th, 2010, 10:28 AM
  #1
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Debit/Credit Cards in Turkey

I contacted my bank today to ask about using my debit card to charge a hotel in Turkey for Sept. They said due to recent fraudulent activity, the charge would be denied and that the card was not valid in Turkey. This is a separate account I opened just for travel because they don't have additonal fees.

I then contacted Capital One and gave them the name of the hotel, the dates and the city. They said they could not guarantee that the credit card would go through. Said "try it and if denied call us". I asked about using it as a debit card while there and what the fees would be. The rep said fees are nominal and whatever the bank at that end charged, but Capital one did not have an added fee.

It makes me very nervous that I could get there and all cards could be denied. A couple of questions:

1. Is there another credit/debit card I should acquire that is guaranteed to work in Turkey?
2. Has anyone used Capital One credit card as a debit card and if so, were the added fees nominal?

Thanks
Jackie is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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First off, I do not think it is possible to use a credit card as a debit card -- i.e. -- withdrawing money from your checking account unless you have a checking account with Capital One. You can get cash from ATM with a credit card but it is cash advance (loan) and fees and interest start with moment of withdrawal.

Second, debit and credit are two different creatures. I think you are confusing the two. I don't know how a debit card could be used to charge something. At least I cannot do that with any of my debit cards. I can use my debit card to pay for something but it is a direct deduction from my checking account. I am guessing that a debit card at an ATM will work fine since it is your money at risk and not the credit card company. We have used our debit cards in Turkey with no problems BUT that was a couple of years ago and things may have changed. Our experience with Capital One (our main travel credit card) is no fees beyond the small network fee. And the same for our credit union debit cards.
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Apr 29th, 2010, 03:12 PM
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Sorry, I wasn't clear. I do understand the difference; I just used the wrong terminology. I tried to prepay for the hotel with my debit card. Following is the email I got from the bank when I wrote to let them know I would be using the card in Turkey.

Thank you for contacting us regarding the use of your debit card in
Turkey. The use of the card is not permitted this country due to an
increase of fraudulent transactions originating from there. We truly
apologize for this.

So it appears that I can neither pay for my hotel, nor use it as a debit card.

It was the person I spoke to at Capital One who said I could use my credit card to get cash from the ATM with no fees. That's the part I need to do more research on. Now, I'm waiting to hear if my credit card to pay for the room went thru or not.
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Apr 29th, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Yes, you can use a cc to get cash from an ATM, but even if there are no additional fees the "usual" fees approach usury. Interest starts to accrue - usually at an exorbitant rate - the moment you withdraw the cash. Unlike using an ATM card, where you are simply withdrawing money from your account, you are taking out a short term loan at high rate of interest. Better to just use a credit card to settle your hotel bill. Using the cc that way there is probably a foreign conversion fee assessed but interest accrues at the usual rate and with the usual grace period and not immediately at the higher cash advance rate.

Ask your bank if the card you currently have (presuming it is a combo ATM/debit card) will work as an ATM card in Turkey. (Mine did, no problems) If not, and if you do not want to use a credit card, ask your bank for an ATM card that is NOT a debit card which will work for ATM withdrawals. [Back when ATM's were new this is what everyone had. The addition of the debit feature started when Visa and MC figured out how to make a profit by providing this service. That's why debit cards usually have one of their logos.] Such a non-debit ATM card allows you to withdraw funds from an ATM that is on the network (Cirrus, Pulse, etc.) but not to use it at a point of sale for purchases. Not every ATM will be on your network, but there are enough that are that you should not have a problem. There are still fees, but much less than getting a cash advance on a credit card.

You would not be able to use the ATM card to pay for your hotel or other purchases, would need to go to an ATM and withdraw the cash to pay. Be aware that there are daily limits on the amount you can withdraw so a major item (like hotel bill) may require making multiple withdrawals.
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Apr 29th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Last summer in Turkey I used my Capital One Visa with no problem at all. As mentioned, I had no trouble making cash withdrawals from most ATMs with my Chase Debit/Atm card. It didn't work at one ATM, but then I realized the ATM wasn't part of either the Cirrus or Plus system.
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May 3rd, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Just a follow-up--Seamus, I did ask about an ATM card without logo and they said they had such a card, but that it still would not be accepted in Turkey. They did say they would pass my request along to the local branch and see if restrictions could be lifted. I wrote and told them it was an account specifically opened for travel and that I'd be looking for a new bank. They wrote back today and said they would make an exception and I can use the card. I learned it pays to push back!! And, to start asking questions early.

I am in the process of charging one the hotels on my Capital one Card. It hasn't yet appeared on my statement, but neither has it been denied.
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May 3rd, 2010, 04:10 PM
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Congratulations on your persistence, Jackie. Remember to get a number to call your bank in case you run into problems - the toll-free 800 number on the back of your card will not work om overseas. Most banks will give you a number that you can call collect.
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Sep 12th, 2010, 07:08 PM
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I have used my personal Capitol One credit times for many years in Turkey without any problem. As long as you let them know in advance that you will be using it abroad and give the names of the countries visiting you'll be all set. Great card because no fees and no commission on rate of exchange and I have also done very well on the exchange rate.
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Sep 12th, 2010, 07:10 PM
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Also you can get $500 per day from ATM's with Capital One - Chase charges an exchange rate fee and transaction fee - I know that one of their charges is $35 plus the diff in the exchange on day charge compared to day of purchase.
On back of the Cap.One card there is an int'l number to call if any difficulties - it is a collect call - so easy.
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