Notices

Foreign ATM fees

Reply

Sep 12th, 2013, 09:03 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 3
Foreign ATM fees

I have a debit cards from BofA and Ally, and I am going to Spain. Unfortunately, none of Spain's banks participate in the Global ATM Alliance, and so I'm trying to figure out what is the best option for cash while traveling. (I have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, and will use that as much as possible).

BofA charges a flat fee ($5 I think) + 3% (it is currently 1%, but will increase to 3% in November 2013).

Ally charges a 1% fee. However I was warned by the customer service agent that I could be charged fees by the foreign bank / ATM for using it.

Question 1) If an ATM is charging a fee to use it, it will be applied to any transaction, correct? So if I use my BofA card, it would be the flat fee + 3% + ATM fee? Or do banks that charge a flat fee somehow do this to standardize and negate foreign ATM fees (wishful thinking?)

2) Does anyone know of a resource that lists ATM fees? I tried looking at individual banks, but its difficult enough to find fee info from my bank, much less scouring bank websites in Spanish.
jk8989 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2013, 09:11 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,542
Cap One will reimburse ATM fees charged by any bank up to $15 USD/month if you open a high yield checking account. Minimum balance Is $5k, I believe.
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2013, 09:42 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 19,720
BofA has partner banks in Europe: Barclays in the UK, BNP Paribas in France, etc. Ask them if they have a partner bank in Spain. If so, there are no fees.

An alternative, which is the one I use, is to establish an account with a credit union which charges 1% on foreign credit card transactions (I get it back as the 1% back on all purchases), and no charge on ATM transactions with an ATM card. I deposit enough money into my credit union checking account only when I plan to travel abroad so that I can withdraw it as I please.
Michael is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2013, 10:30 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,703
What the above posters are not telling you Is that foreign banks do not charge you fees for using an ATM. If there are charges they come from your own bank. Shop around for a bank that charges minimal or no fees. My local bank charges neither a transaction fee or a currency exchange fee.

I had several accounts with with the near criminal BofA, that wanted to charge me exorbitant fees to use my own money. I closed all of them. I now use a Cap One credit card that charges no fees at all, and my debit card from my local bank for ATM withdrawals.
nukesafe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2013, 10:34 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
>>Ally charges a 1% fee. However I was warned by the customer service agent that I could be charged fees by the foreign bank / ATM for using it. <<

There will be no fees assessed by the Spanish bank . . . as long as you use a bank ATM and not a private one. The only fees are assessed by your own bank (US bank customer service reps almost NEVER know what they are talking about re foreign exchange/ATMs/banking)

>>Ask them if they have a partner bank in Spain. <<

There is no BofA reciprocating bank in Spain/
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 06:18 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 30,524
>>>Ally charges a 1% fee. However I was warned by the customer service agent that I could be charged fees by the foreign bank / ATM for using it.<<<

The majority of ATM's in Europe do not charge fees. Fees are established by the bank that issued your card (your bank). There are a few ATM's that are owned by businesses, not banks (similar to the ones in some convenience stores in the US) and they charge a fee. Simply use bank ATM's (they are everywhere) and you won't have extra fees.
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 06:29 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,499
The foreign bank / ATM fee charged by the foreign bank mentioned by Ally is more complicated. I had Spanish banks charge/not charge fees. The one I got hit with a fee was a Caixa Bank ATM at Bilbao airport. For the remainder of trip, I was not hit with fees, but I avoided the Caixa Bank ATMs. I was not sure if the Bilbao airport Caixa Bank ATM was an exception.
If you are transiting through an airport in a country that has BA global alliance bank, you might be able to do at least the first withdrawal without fee. For example, if I am transiting through FRA, I would always use the Deutsche Bank ATM during the layover using my BA debit card.
greg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 07:44 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 3
Thanks everyone! I don't know how many times I tried looking that up, probably just not searching the right terms, but I couldn't find the answers.

Greg - I will certainly avoid Caixa banks, just to be safe. Hopefully I will only have to withdraw money once or twice during the trip.

As many people have also mentioned, BofA is part of the Global ATM Alliance, but BofA has put coverage area limitations on all of these (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_...Coverage_Areas). None of them are covered in Spain.

However, in case anyone else reads this looking for answers instead of providing them...My sister used Deutsche Bank with her BofA card in Italy, which resulted in fees because they are only waived in Germany. However, she then successfully argued with a customer service agent to refund the fees because of the confusion. Not good to count on it, but if you are stuck taking money out and getting a fee, you may want to opt for a "partner" bank (DB or Barclays in Spain) and then you at least have a chance of arguing!
jk8989 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 07:52 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 30,467
I am sorry, but when I spent more than three weeks in Europe this past Summer and I used some Bank of America affiliates and some bank ATMs that weren't I had a grand total of $18 in fees.

There are a LOT of things in Europe that cost a lot more than that but whatever makes a major difference to you I guess.
Dukey1 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 09:23 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,190
Caxia charges an ATM fee - 3 Euro if I remember correctly.
adrienne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 10:29 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 11,447
I have never paid an ATM fee to any bank anywhere in Europe. My own bank, Wells Fargo, charges a $5.00 fee for each withdrawal, so I take $500 in euros at a time.

I use my Chase Mileage Plus card for most hotels, restaurants, purchases, etc., and pay no fee for that. Chase used to charge a 3% fee, but that is no longer the case.

My feeling is that when I spend $4000 or $5000 on a trip, the $10 or $15 I spend to obtain cash in Europe is a small price.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 11:20 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 19,720
It all depends on the style of travel. In our 9 weeks in Europe, we did bank withdrawals 20 times. That represent $100 if there is a flat fee of $5 imposed on withdrawals, not including added percentages (3% in the case of BofA). Small change on the overall 9 week costs, but why should the bank get the money when I can spend it on my travel costs?
Michael is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 12:06 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,428
Exactly, Michael. This is why I use credit unions instead of banks. Why should I pay a bank more than I pay a credit union for providing exactly the same service (ATM withdrawal in Europe)? There is no extra convenience or any other benefit that I'm aware of that a bank would provide.
Andrew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 12:15 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
Wells Fargo charges higher fees than many banks, but they refund mine because of the types of accounts I have.

My Credit Union charges $1

And my other two banks charge $3 and $4. I use those two just as back ups
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 01:02 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 314
Unless it has changed, BNP Paribas is in the STAR network BofA belongs to. I was in Spain a few years ago and used BNP Paribas' ATMs to withdraw euros from my BofA account without any fees.

On another note, be mindful of DCC ( Dynamic Currency Conversion ) when using your US-issued credit card. In short, the vendor will give you a choice ( technically but in reality, ive seen some who dont even ask, they just make the choice for you ) of paying in their country's currency or in US dollars, with your credit card. You should always opt to put the charge in local currency. By allowing the vendor to convert your purchase to USD, they will do so using their own conversion rate which is not the official exchange rate and is always less than the official rate. I was recently in Amsterdam, Germany and Poland and found that the practice is prevalent in Amsterdam but did not encounter it in Poland and Germany.
flyme2themoon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 01:56 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
In response to the above, be aware that visa/mc rules prohibit a merchant from applying dcc unless the customer agrees to be ripped off. Some do. Many don't. Instead they present you the sales slip with the amount in local currency and the amount of your currency and quickly try to get you to sign a statement on it saying you were offered the opportunity to pay in local currency (even if you weren't) and agree the conversion is final. When you see this, tell the merchant no way Jose, my name is Tucker not sucker. Usually they have some lies ready for you such as well you are being charged in euro, your currency amount is being shown for your convenience (then why do I have to agree the conversion is final), they have no control over it (a lie; the terminal tells the merchant to ask and push one button if the customer agrees to be ripped off and a different button to process the charge in local currency), that it is the same thing and they are using the same rate the bank does (a lie), that your bank charges fees for conversion to even it out (what you don't or may not know is that those near criminal banks that charge foreign transaction fees will charge you anyway as it's a foreign transaction fee , not a foreign conversion fee). If all else fails, and the merchant refuses to do it properly, do as I do. Don't offer to pay cash (an absurd way to do business in the 21st century); simply circle the amount in local currency, ross out the statement about accepting the conversion, cross out yur currency amount and write local currency option not offered and initial. Then tell the merchant you will be disputing the charge when you return home and do it. They will be subject to a charge back and enough charge backs may result in a penalty from their credit card processor. This is like a malignancy that is spreading through the travel world and must be stopped immediately if not sooner.
xyz123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 02:16 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 314
XYZ is spot on. The most popular lie I heard in Amsterdam recently from the sales clerk is "I have no control over that" - I swipe the card and it's automatically converted. FWIW, when I first encountered this practice some 4 years ago in Beijing, China, I called Cap One and disputed the difference from the unauthorized conversion, cap one gave me credit for the whole purchase amount which is something I did not expect, after all I did make the purchase and received the goods and services. Unless there are other overarching reasons for this so called Dynamic Currency Conversion that I am not aware of, the practice should be stopped and made illegal. It only benefits the vendor who swiped my card who already made a profit from the transaction and is not really giving me any additional service that I requested or wanted. I have a calculator and a currency app, I can figure out my USD equivalents and conversions on my own.
flyme2themoon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 03:12 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
>> BNP Paribas is in the STAR network BofA belongs to. I was in Spain a few years ago and used BNP Paribas' ATMs to withdraw euros from my BofA account without any fees. <<

nope - not in Spain. Maybe years ago -- I don't know about that. But BNP Paribas in Spain is specifically excluded from the BofA list of countries w/ reciprocal

This wikipedia link spells it out easier than the BofA website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_ATM_Alliance
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 03:24 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
You have to be in France in order to use a BNP ATM without the usual $5 transaction fee. There are several BNP branches and ATMs in the Pays Basque.
Robert2533 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2013, 03:50 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,542
I've encountered the DCC while withdrawing cash at bank-owned ATM's in Spain! Process in Euros or USD? Choose the Euros button!
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:40 AM.