Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (https://www.fodors.com/community/)
-   Europe (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/)
-   -   My bank says I can't use my ATM card in Europe (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/my-bank-says-i-cant-use-my-atm-card-in-europe-147168/)

Krista Jul 19th, 2001 05:43 AM

My bank says I can't use my ATM card in Europe
 
I called to find out how much the transaction fee would be and the woman told me I can't use it at all, that I'd need to get a Visa Check card. But on the back of my card it has the logos for Honor, Plus, and Interlink. I thought that as long as an ATM accepted these brands I could use it. Please help!!!

xxx Jul 19th, 2001 05:49 AM

Never heard of such a thing. I'd call the bank back and talk with someone else.

Bill Jul 19th, 2001 05:56 AM

"xxx" took the words right out of my mouth. "Never heard of such a thing!" You need a second opinion from someone more knowlegable. <BR> <BR>I called my bank before we left to make sure they wouldn't freak if there were substantial withdrawals coming from European ATMs, and they said "no problem" and didn't even take my information. My regular VISA card company, however, appreciated getting notice that there would be charges from Europe. They made a note on the computer of the dates and countries so their security people wouldn't have a tizzy when the charges started rolling in.

Carol Jul 19th, 2001 06:00 AM

I have read several times in guidebooks that traditional ATM cards are harder to use in Europe that Check Card (Debit Cards) I did get a debit card several years ago just for this reason.

kitty Jul 19th, 2001 06:05 AM

Before we went to Great Britain in June I also called the bank to make sure the ATM card would work. The woman I talked to also said there shouldn't be any problem but she recommended taking a debit card. We don't have a debit card and did not want to get one so we used our regular ATM card all over without any problems whatsoever. Of course, make sure your PIN number is numeric only. <BR> <BR>We also called all the credit card companies we thought we might use (VISA, American Express, and MasterCard) and they also put notes on our accounts that we were traveling overseas. We had absolutely no problems with charge cards either while gone. <BR> <BR>One interesting note, it appears that American Express adds 2% to all exchange rates so I would use this card cautiously. I didn't realize that until I got home and heard a radio talk show host talking about AMEX and some other bank cards doing that for no reason. When I got my VISA and AMEX bills I compared and sure enough, AMEX had a higher exchange rate than our First Union Visa. If I had known that I wouldn't have used AMEX at all. Oh well, live and learn. <BR>

xxx Jul 19th, 2001 06:12 AM

Be careful with debit cards, I understand they don't offer the same protection as credit cards if there is some dispute with services or goods. You might try www.clarkhoward.com for info about this.

Kelly Jul 19th, 2001 06:43 AM

Krista, <BR> <BR>Your bank in fact may be right. A couple months ago I was in Italy with my mom and she had an ATM card with the same symbols as yours and it would not work anywhere. She called the bank who told her it should be fine and gave her some bs story about how maybe the card was timing out before it could do the transaction because Italy was so far (my card worked fine)! Anyways, it never did work anywhere in Italy, and when she got home the bank told her she would need a Check Card to do withdrawals in Europe. I had never heard of anyone having this problem (except for an occaisonal machine, but not everywhere) but I have now. <BR> <BR>So anyways, I would make sure to take a backup card...

Kelly Jul 19th, 2001 06:45 AM

oh, I forgot to add that the error message my mom received was "Not valid for international transactions" and the card works fine in the US.

John Jul 19th, 2001 07:01 AM

The first time I got my Bank One ATM card, I was able to use it in australia & Europe without any problem. A couple of years later, the card would not work in european ATM machines. <BR>Later I found out from the bank that as a security measure, their computers were programmed to not allow withdrawals overseas if there had not been any recent use of the card. <BR>The next time I went overseas, I merely used the card in my local banks ATM machine just before I left & had no problems with withdrawals in Europe!

???? Jul 19th, 2001 07:38 AM

Please explain the difference between an <BR>ATM card and a debit card. Are they not the same, just a different name.

Susan Jul 19th, 2001 08:07 AM

I had exactly the same question. I have a card which I can use at the ATM or as a debit card. It's the same card. Is there something else?

Art Jul 19th, 2001 08:13 AM

An ATM card only works in ATM's or special machines as in super markets who have the setup. A Debit card can also be used as a credit card to make purchases, except the money is withdrawn immediatly from your account. You won't get a bill. The charges will show up on your next account statement. <BR>Regards, <BR>Art <BR>

Dave Jul 19th, 2001 08:18 AM

I use my ATM (First Union Check) card in foreign countries for currency withdrawal without telling my bank, and there has never been a problem. <BR> <BR>Amex charges a 2% tranaction fee for purchases, and my USair Visa charges 3%. Check with your card co before you leave.

michael Jul 19th, 2001 08:24 AM

when i was in europe my citicard atm worked, but you need to make sure your pin is only a 4 digit number.

xxx Jul 19th, 2001 09:09 AM

Basic ATM, shamelessly copied from www.ricksteves.com <BR> <BR>Common in most of Europe, cash machines are quickly becoming the standard <BR>way for American travelers to change money. European ATMs work like your <BR>hometown machine and have English language instructions. An ATM withdrawal <BR>takes dollars directly from your bank account at home and gives you that country's cash. Your account is billed in dollars at the "wholesale" rate, which is alwaysbetter than the travelers' checks rate. Many travelers are doing entire trips on ATMs and give this method rave reviews--and never stand in a bank line. <BR>Know your personal identification number (PIN) and confirm with your home bank <BR>that it will work in Europe. Ask exactly where, with which systems, what fees, and <BR>on what machines. Since European <BR>keypads have only numbers, you'll want a PIN with numbers and no letters (derive <BR>the numbers from your hometown bank's keypad). There are two dominant ATM <BR>systems: Plus and Cirrus. Those traveling with a credit card for each of these <BR>systems (you'll see the Plus or Cirrus logos on your Visa and MasterCard) double <BR>their cash advance options and avoid a little running around. Ask your banker how much you can withdraw per 24 hours and what the charge is for using a foreign ATM. For the location of CIRRUS ATMs call 800/424-7787, for PLUS call <BR>800/843-7587. The glory days of the ATM may be numbered, as bankers are learning they can add a 2 percent or so fee. Be sure to understand the latest fees.

???? Jul 19th, 2001 12:29 PM

Art <BR>Possibly the ATM card and Debit card is strictly for the US. In Canada our debit cards (aka ATM card) work on both ATM machines and in stores which are set up for debit. In all cases your funds are drawn instantly from your account.

christina Jul 19th, 2001 01:10 PM

hmmm... I thought virtually all VISA etc cards had a 2 pct or so transaction fee, there's nothing unusual about AMEX ( or whoever someone mentioned), unless that's a transaction fee in addition to the normal 2 pct or so conversion fee. Anyway, I have had trouble using a basic ATM card in Europe that had plus/honor on it also (it would never work in Austria, about half the time in France) and I got that exact same message about not authorizied for international transactions (which was hooey, it worked in France same week). However, now that my bank reissued my card and I think it IS a debit card, not just ATM (although I've never used it that way), I have not had any troubles, so your bank may be right, at least don't count on it working. I have no idea what a check card other than a debit/ATM cards, there are too many terms here for me. (i know someone probably said above but I can't remember)

CardUser Jul 19th, 2001 04:06 PM

Christina: <BR>No, not all banks charge the conversion fee. Some banks are now charging a 2 percent or more conversion fee. Most banks(so far) give you the "bank rate" of exchange and you only pay the out of network ATM charge($2-3). And some banks charge an "international transaction" fee (eg$3) every time you use your credit card. It helps if you can figure these charges out ahead of time rather than be surprised when you see your statement when you get home. These fees can add up to quite a bit.

Jody Jul 19th, 2001 04:54 PM

You have spent all this money to go to wherever in europe, you spend on hotels, food, tubes and train ,car, clothes whatever.WHAT is 2 or 3 dollars in the terms of convenience?

ingrid Jul 21st, 2001 08:07 AM

Could it be that you only have a savings account with them? That explained why I couldn't withdraw money from an ATM in Italy. With my bank, you need to have a checking account.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:35 AM.