Get cash from bank teller or ATM ?

Old May 19th, 2002, 11:57 AM
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Get cash from bank teller or ATM ?

Would anyone please let me know if I could withdraw cash with my ATM check card by going inside a bank rather than using an outside ATM. I'm afraid of one of them eating my card overseas and I'm left without acess to my funds. My bank won't issue me an extra card. Is this possible and would there be any extra fees?
Old May 19th, 2002, 12:26 PM
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I personally wouldn't want to waste any minutes at all waiting in teller lines in a bank while I'm on a trip, whether they can do it or not. Waiting in line would make me want to take more cash out at once, and carrying around lots of cash isn't prudent in and of itself.

The odds of the ATM eating your card are very very small, no greater than it happening while you are at home.
And just in case, you bring a back-up credit card that has a line of credit for cash, in an emergency. If you are like me and want a belt plus suspenders, I also bring a couple of hundred dollars in travelers checks just for a true cash emergency. Since I
haven't had to use them, I just redeposit them into my account when I get home.

Before you leave home find out exactly what the procedures are should your ATM card be lost eaten or stolen. Also find out what phone number to dial from overseas; 1-800 numbers can't be dialed from Europe. Some banks will only mail a replacement to a home address, which doesn't help if you are on vacation.

Old May 19th, 2002, 01:33 PM
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This has been one of the points of the debate regarding debit cards.

If you have a debit card i.e. an ATM card containing the MC or Visa logo in front then you can go into any MC/Visa bank and request a "cash advance." This isn't really a cash advance in sense of a credit card. As far as the issuing bank is concerned, it is a cash advance. Therefore they cannot charge you any fee for this whatsoever. Now in Europe this does not matter as the obnoxeous surcharges for having the audacity to use another bank's ATM are not allowable under the rules of the shared teller networks. The only fee you pay is that which your bank chooses to rip you off with. Interestingly enough, there are banks which charge for using another bank's ATM (a so called foreign ATM) but do not charge if you use the debit card for a cash advance. I'll give you an example. My Schwab brokerage account contains a debit card feature. If I make an ATM transaction, they charge me $1. If I do the same thing inside a bank branch it is free...also if I am in the United States if I use an ATM for this transaction, the issuing bank hits me with a $1.50 charge so by going inside the bank in the US I save $2.50. That is worthwhile to me. The $1.50 is, as I explained, irrelevent when in Europe as the ATM owner is not allowed to charge for use of a card issued outside that country.

Now you cannot do the same thing with a plain vanilla ATM card that is a card without a visa/mc logo on front. Those cards can only be used in an ATM.

That is one of the advantages of a debit card over the ATM card. Many others have pointed out the dangers inherent in a debit card. Namely transactions such as this or purchases can be made without a PIN number and somebody stealing your debit card or just the number can drain your account. Whether the convenience of saving a little bit of money on ATM fees is worth this danger is an individual matter you will have to decide.
Old May 19th, 2002, 03:12 PM
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Another important thing to remember to do, if you choose to use your debit/visa card abroad is to make sure your pin number is limited to four digits. European ATM's do not take a longer pin. Good luck!
Old May 19th, 2002, 04:33 PM
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Old May 19th, 2002, 06:02 PM
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Carl: Why won't your bank give you an extra card? My bank has given me three. At any rate, the chances of losing a card in the machine are very, very small, but it still does happen from time to time. But if an ATM does eat your card, having a second card isn't going to solve your problem - you're going to have to get to the root of the first problem before you can even use the extra card. In southern France a few years ago, people had their ATM cards "eaten" by bank machines - turned out it was someone inside the bank stealing them and draining the accounts. Having an extra card isn't going to protect you against that problem. Again, I stress that this was a very unusual occurrence.And a backup card can't hurt in any event. I'd go back to my bank and insist on a second card.
Old May 19th, 2002, 07:21 PM
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Some helpful hints to avoid ATM problems:
1) 4 digit pin #. Sure, some banks use 6 numbers, but every one I've ever accessed wants 4 digits.
2) Notify your bank about your travel plans. For security, a bank will freeze a card for "unusual activity"; if they know you'll be overseas, the activity won't be unusual.
3) Banks batch around midnight to 2am, which means if your bank is on the West Coast of the U.S., your bank's systems are down between 9am and 11am on the Continent - and you can't get money. Plan on getting money the night before, very early in the morning, or after 11am.

You can also use your ATM card, provided it has a Visa or MasterCard logo (PLUS or other ATM logos may or may not work), at many exchange bureaus. The one time I needed a cash advance on a credit card, I used an exchange bureau. When I got my bill, it showed the transaction as a "purchase", so I didn't get hit with the interest and charges usually associated with cash advances (this was a few years ago; maybe the credit card companies have caught on by now). Here in the U.S., I can buy foreign currency using my ATM/Visa/Mastercard card. I've never tried it overseas to buy local currency, but other posters may have info on that.
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