The best ATM card to use in Ireland

Jan 8th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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The best ATM card to use in Ireland

As I mentioned on another thread, my daughter will be interning in Ireland from February to June. She will probably open a bank account there. But will also be using an ATM card from home. And there's a very good chance that I'll be visiting her while she's there.

When we were there last year, I ran into a few problems with DCC. And I also had one problem with a charge on our credit card. So this time, I'd like to try, as much as possible, to get cash out of ATMs and pay for dinners, etc. in cash. But we were charged some fairly hefty ATM fees by our bank. I'm very happy with our bank in every other way and wouldn't want to move our accounts. But I am considering opening another account somewhere that has better ATM cards just for traveling. I'm guessing that the national banks tend to be better for these type of things. And we will, of course, be going to the ones with branches nearby (Bank of America, Citibank) to get information from them. My daughter had been thinking of changing to a bank with nationwide chains anyway as she goes to school out of state. (Right now she has an account with a local bank here and another with a local bank there.)

But I'd really like to get some first hand feedback from people who've used ATMs in Ireland recently. I'm interested in what banks charge the lowest fees, are easiest to use, allow the biggest withdrawals per use, etc.

Lasy year we used our Capitol One because their fees were the lowest. And they were very good about handling the one dispute that we had. Despite DCC, etc., would I be better off doing that again rather than relying completely on cash from ATMs?

Thanks so much for any info, experiences, etc., anyone cares to share!

CAPH52 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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Not sure of which banks use which networks, but those on the "Plus" network are accepted in almost all ATMs.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 02:35 PM
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I think you need to shop for banks. For example, Commerce Bank which services NY, NJ, PA, VA, and some parts of FL does not charge anything, including conversion fees -- that's nothing, nadda, zilch, zip, zero -- for use of their ATM card to get YOUR money out of your checking account.

There's got to be other banks/credit unions in the US that provide similar services.

You could deposit money into the checking account for her at home. Use the low/no fee credit card for emergencies, and warm her about the DCC.
Budman is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Bank of America has a reciprocal ageement with the Bank of Ireland. You might check that out.

Slan Agus Beannacht,

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CowboyCraic is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 03:55 PM
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I use a Credit Union ATM (Visa Check Card) exclusively for withdrawing money in Ireland or anywhere else in Europe. They don't charge any withdrawal fee or Foreign Currency Transaction fee. Most Credit Cards charge that latter (basic) fee of 1.5% and add on up to 3% More. I noticed reading the small print on the latest so-called 'Privacy Notice' I received from my Chase Visa Card that Chase was bumping up their Foreign Currency Transaction fee to the maximum 3%; so, I pay for everything in Cash.

Big Bank Credit Card issuers like Chase and First USA, Citybank, etc. charge some of the highest fees: They have to accomodate Personal Account holders to call themselves Full Service Banks; but they don't give you any bargains.

My advice: open an account with a large Credit Union, get a 'Check Card' from them, and roll enough money into that account. You shouldn't have to move your Commercial Bank Accounts from your 'friendly?' Banker. Most Credit Unions even pay interest on Share draft accounts.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 06:35 PM
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Thanks, guys. Some good information here!
CAPH52 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 05:23 AM
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Our debit/ATM card is issued through M&I Bank. We used it in Ireland this fall. There was a flat fee of $2 for each ATM withdrawl plus a 1% conversion fee. There was also a 1% conversion fee on any transaction paid for with the card.

Parents' recent experience in several European countries with a Chase ATM/debit card was $3 for each cash withdrawl plus a 3% converstion fee.
xxxx is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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The EU bars banks in the EU from charging a fee for use of their ATMs (note this does not apply to the non-bank ATMs that are frequently found in stores, etc.)

So the flat fee that some US banks charge if you use an EU bank ATM is simply a charge by the bank for using an ATM that does not belong to them. There are plenty of banks that don't charge such a fee, so you might want to consider that in selecting a bank.

Any time you withdraw foreign currency from a bank that deals in dollars, there is a currency exchange. I think the most common vehicle for this are those ATMs that are hooked up to the Visa/mc network, and that network does the currency exchange and charges your bank a 1 percent fee for that service. A very few banks may not pass that charge on to you, but most do, and a large number add their own percentage to this, which can bring the charge up to 3 percent (commonly) or even more if they think they can get away with it. Whether the bank (or credit union, or brokerage)passes on this charge, and how large it is, is another thing to consider when selecting a bank.

Some banks have correspondent relationships with overseas banks, and charge no fee for currency exchange if you withdraw from the correspondent bank's ATM in the right country. You have to do some digging to find out what the right country is, and what the fees and exchange rate are if you use an ATM in the wrong country. I seem to recall that some US bank has such a relationship with some German bank, but only for ATMs in Germany; if you use one of the German banks ATMs in Italy, for example, you will be hit with fees.

Now, it may appear that a correspondent bank that charges no currency exchange fee is the best deal, but this is not necessarily so, as you have to figure in the exchange rate they use. These banks usually have a desk at a currency exchange, and do the best they can to get a good rate. However, very like the stock markets, the best prices go to those who are dealing in the largest blocks. I haven't looked up any rates, but I suspect that the Visa/MC network, because it is so large, gets the best rates (I think they bill you based on the closing rate from the prior day, and reap additional profit if they can get a better deal today on the actual exchange). A bank that does its own exchanges may do the same thing, but I would check that out before selecting such a bank, particularly given what to me is the inconvenience of having to limit my withdrawals to ATMs of the correspondent bank, in the right country.

So before depositing my fortune in a bank that has a correspondent relationship, I would want to know what exchange rates they used on specific dates so that I could compare that with the Visa/mc exchange rate. If the Visa/mc exchange rate is 1.30, increased by the 1 percent fee, that may be a better deal than a corresponding bank that has an exchange rate of 1.35.

Now, many of us are happy, for other reasons, with out current bank, even though foreign currency using their ATM card is a little more expensive. That is up to each of us, and frankly, the difference in costs is not that much for the occasional tourist. Frugal sort that I am, though, I would find the bank that offers the best rate, and open a free checking account there, to be used solely when I am overseas. You can, at many banks, arrange electronic transfers to and from such an account over the internet, so I keep in my travel account only a small amount that I can afford to temporarily lose should hackers get into the system, and transfer money into that account just before withdrawing it at an overseas ATM.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 11:01 AM
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A siempre, one with no fee(s).
mikemo is offline  

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