Is there anyone who doesn't use an ATM??

Old May 3rd, 2007, 04:51 PM
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Is there anyone who doesn't use an ATM??

We are leaving for Italy in 4 weeks and the money issue has me in fits. I have read and read and read until it has made me crazy. Problem is I don't use an ATM here in the States and husband is not comfortable opening an account just to use as ATM for money source while in Italy. 2 years ago we used a prepaid VISA card just for cash. It wasn't easy to use. The machines would deny the transaction, I'd try again, then that resulted in the account being frozen thinking it was being misused, I spent much time calling the company and explaining my dilema. Also, when we got home there was a small amount and I couldn't close it out. I lost the remaining amount, only $16.51, but it was the principle. We called American Express and they charge 2% to use it in Europe. We wil charge the big purchases, but not sure what to do about cash. We thought about just taking cash in US $ and perhaps some in EUROS. Any comments from anyone else who doesn't use ATM's???? Thanks!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 04:59 PM
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I use an ATM card, but here's a thought. Does your credit card have a pin associated with it? If yes, then use the credit card in ATM machines to get your spending cash, and charge the remainder where you can.

Now, here's the catch. You will begin to accrue interest when you use the card in the ATM machine to get cash, but this may or may not be a bad thing. My credit card charges 8.25% which is less than 1% per month. If you pay off the credit card when you get home, it will be much less expensive than taking $$$ and paying all the fees/lousy exchange rates at banks.

Again, it all depends upon your bank fees for ATM charges/conversion fees, etc.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:01 PM
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I don't use an ATM here in the States either; the ONLY time I use an ATM is in Europe.

I opened a special account with a Credit Union (no fees) that I fund just before we leave home.

It's so simple and easy! (I recall those days when we used something called 'Traveler's Checks'.)
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:04 PM
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I suspect you've summed it up:

you won't use an ATM

you don't like the prepaid card mess

I wouldn't even consider doing traveler's checks (talk about a nuisance much less the probability that an establishment won't accept them)

what alternative is there but to take/exchange cash?

BUT, you had that account for the Visa card which you ended up "closing out" so I'm not sure what the angst about having an account tied to an ATM specifically for travel is all about.

You wouldn't have to close it unless it had some sort of minimum balance requirement so you wouldn't lose any money; it is designed for cash removal.

Please reconsider and ask your husband to do so also OR let him do all the money mess and perhaps he'll change his mind.

Good luck.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:05 PM
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I don't use an ATM in the US either, but I do in Europe. I had my bank issue me the card using my checking account. There is no charge for withdrawing money. It was simple to use at the ATM machines in Europe, although I was skeptical the first time I used it, so I brought lots of cash anyway.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:07 PM
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If you do not wish to get an ATM card that is your business. Take cash or traveler's checks and exchange it there. Just be prepared to pay a lot more in fees than the rest of us. Additionally, you will not have the convenience of 24 hour access to cash. It's up to you.

I hope you will reconsider. The dollar is so weak already, and by exchanging cash or TC's you are losing a lot more. Please give the ATM a try.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:10 PM
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I've threatened him that I'm going to give up and let him do it. He doesn't buy that tactic. He just is leary of using an ATM that is tied to a bank account. The VISA card sounds like the same concept to me, but I may check the credit union to see what their rates are.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:10 PM
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You do not have a checking account in the States? If you do, just get an ATM card for it, making sure that you limit you PIN access code to 4 numbers. Use it a couple of times in the States just to familiarize yourself with the usage.

I also create a credit union account just for travel.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:11 PM
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Well before you go bravely charging ahead with an ATM be aware of how much per use your bank is going to charge you.

Bank of America now socks its unfortunate customers with a flat fee of $5.00 per shot plus a 1% fee, unless the usage is at an affiliate bank like Barclays in the UK in which case the $5.00 fee does not apply.

At those prices, exchanging currency becomes an option.

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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:13 PM
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"husband is not comfortable opening an account just to use as ATM for money source while in Italy"

WHY would you need to open a new acct? Don't you have a checking account now?? If you have a checking acct, then just get an ATM card linked to it. You can always surrender the card when you get home (though why you'd want to eludes me)

If not, then open an acct in a Credit union as Tuck suggests and you can close it or not when you get home. No other option really makes sense . . . .
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:15 PM
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brookwood, B of A gives me 3 free w/d's per month from foreign ATMs, however I didn't know about the 1% fee. I was in Israel recently and my w/d's were free, but I did notice the 1% fee on my statement. Silly me, I thought that fee had been charged by the Israeli bank. Now I'm miffed.

But here's the good news: My credit union charges a flat $1 fee per w/d, so from now on I will use that ATM card in any country with no BofA partners.

brookwood, your advice to check into fees is good, and thanks so much for the head's up about the 1% fee.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:19 PM
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Yeah, what janisj said. And read your own post - you've summed up all the frustrations of traveling without an ATM, so isn't the obvious solution to break with tradition and just get one and give it a go?

My bank charges me nothing for withdrawals in Europe. European ATMs charge me nothing for withdrawals. So what if BOA is charging a rip-off fee for withdrawals - don't get an account with BOA! Check your own bank first and if they charge a fee, look elsewhere.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:20 PM
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The problem is that he doesn't want it tied to our checking account in case of theft. A separate account, in my mind, would have a limit of $ in it and no liability beyond. I know there are fees charged for any type of transaction regardless what form we use. Just accept the fees and try to minimalize them. The alternative is not travelling abroad. NOT!!!!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:24 PM
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what bank do you have? my liability on my atm card if stolen is $50.

"chancing it" w an ATM card in 2007 is completely worth it. chk w your bank to see if theres something they offer.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:25 PM
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You are protected from theft/fraudulent use of your ATM card. Your husband's fears are not all that rational - there is a "risk" involved w/ any option, but an ATM is as safe or safer than any other way to get cash . . . . Much safer than carrying a load of cash around to exchange.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:27 PM
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Even if you lose your ATM card, it can't be used without the PIN.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:27 PM
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What janisj said again. Irrational thinking, or just inexperience.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:29 PM
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As already stated, you are not taking any risk by getting an ATM card. When I got my Visa Debit card (which doubles as an ATM card) I was very concerned about theft. Of course, the thief wouldn't know my PIN, but I was afraid he could use it as a charge card. My bank assures me that ANY fraudulent use of my card will be refunded. Please check into this.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:32 PM
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We bank with CHASE. I stopped by today to talk to them and nobody was very knowledgeable about using ATM's abroad and the fees they charge. They were going to make calls and get back to me. Its not like we live in some back woods town. I left frustrated.

janisj, Yes, my husbands fears are not rational yet I've lived with him for 31 years(we'll be in Rome for our 31st anniv.) I need to present all options to him pros and cons.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:36 PM
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fluff, I am told that Chase has some of the highest fees for ATM withdrawls overseas. Please check around for a credit union and present that option to him.
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