Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > The Old ATM Question Ally Bank Debit Cards in Europe today
Notices

The Old ATM Question Ally Bank Debit Cards in Europe today

Reply

May 25th, 2013, 12:24 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 84
The Old ATM Question Ally Bank Debit Cards in Europe today

Hello,

My friend and I will be traveling in Spain (Madrid and Galicia) and England (London and surrounding areas) next month.

My question is whether the Ally debit card is accepted by most ATMs in London and Madrid. The Ally debit card is MasterCard, but it does not have a Cirrus logo.

I know that Ally no longer reimburses ATM fees abroad. That's not the question.

My concern is whether the card works on all (or only some) ATMs in Europe. I would particularly like to hear from people who have traveled with the Ally card in the past two years or so, but all advice is welcome.

It would be a major hassle to get to Europe and find that my card didn't work. (It happened once before with a major US bank card. It wasn't fun.)

Thanks,
FerrisFar is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 01:32 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,897
Interesting question...my debit card, issued by a US bank, is also MasterCard and doesn't have a Cirrus logo either. I live in the UK, use the card regularly for ATM withdrawals, and it has been accepted by every ATM I have tried it in, both in the UK and in other European countries. That doesn't mean yours will work, but mine certainly does.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 01:42 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 30,545
I would be more concerned about having money in Ally bank. I'd never heard of it and looked at wiki. Doesn't sound good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ally_Bank
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 01:45 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,897
Just looked it up...apparently Cirrus is operated by MasterCard, so all MasterCards by default should also be Cirrus.

http://www.mastercardbrandcenter.com/us/moreabout/
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 04:11 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,345
<>

"Should" doesn't get the OP the certainty he needs.

To the OP: First, call your bank and find out. If not, immediately switch to a bank that you can actually use. Cap One offers online banking and others do too. So do credit unions, which are far less expensive on foreign exchange transactions than the average bank.

Second, check the back for a Plus logo - that's the other major cash exchange but I think it's run by Visa.

This is evidently a common issue - I checked my various cards and just over 25% of them have a Cirrus or Plus logo on them but I'm thinking each would work in an ATM . . .
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 04:21 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
My VISA debit cards no longer carry the Plus or Cirrus logos and we've never had a problem using any major bank ATM in Europe. Just be sure your bank knows you will be using the card while traveling in Europe, otherwise it will be blocked.
Robert2533 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 05:51 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,882
>>Just be sure your bank knows you will be using the card while traveling in Europe, otherwise it will be blocked.<<

And sometimes even when you DO notify your bank, it may be blocked.

I notified each of my banks that I would be in the UK from April 21 - May 10 and the very first time I used one of them it was denied. That is another reason I carry multiple ATM cards to multiple banks/accounts. When I got home late at night May 10 there were multiple calls (like 8 or 9) on my answering machine from the bank and its fraud service, each more urgent than the previous one insisting that I contact them immediately. They eventually froze my account - not just for overseas but for domestic use as well pending my contacting. I blew a gasket - "Read my file - does it not specifically state I would be in the UK yada yada??" "Yes ma'am, it does however you did not tell us you would be in Scotland" I kid you not !!

I received a VERY apologetic phone call from my branch manager the next morning.

Be sure you know the access phone number from overseas (the US 800 number won't work and there is often a collect call number they will provide you)
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 10:11 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 84
Thanks all. The bank told me the card would work in Europe. But so did my big national full service bank eight years ago and there I was in Heathrow without a debit card the ATM would accept. It was a Visa and apparently the ATM in question only liked MasterCard.

The Ally card would be my second debit card. The other card is a Visa. There would be no point in taking the Ally card if not having the Cirrus sign limited international use, so I am glad to hear others have MasterCards without Cirrus on the card.
FerrisFar is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 10:40 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 31
My Ally card worked in ATMs in London (Heathrow and banks) last year without a problem.
Cosmia is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2013, 12:56 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,897
"Should" doesn't get the OP the certainty he needs.

How could I give the OP that certainty? It goes without saying the OP should check with his/her bank rather than just take the word of someone replying on a travel forum. Judging from some of the other replies on this thread even that sometimes doesn't work. ;-)
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2013, 09:54 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,882
>>It was a Visa and apparently the ATM in question only liked MasterCard. <<

That is almost certainly NOT the reason your card didn't work. It was more likely a problem w/ your own bank -- either it blocked your card/account or perhaps its system was down at the time.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2013, 12:06 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,306
I had a customer today from the US. No chip on the card. So it was swiped. However he needed a PIN number. He said he did not have one So the transfer failed.
We use 4 digit PINs here.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2013, 12:55 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,897
Why did he need a PIN? When my US card is swiped I merely sign the receipt. The only time I need a PIN is in an ATM machine. Occasionally I run into a sales clerk that doesn't know the procedure, though.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2013, 11:21 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,306
Why? because the machine asked for it. One cannot override the security!
If the machine does not ask for a PIN that is fine. But then here in Spain you will need to show ID.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 27th, 2013, 12:27 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,897
Did you insert the card into the machine the same way as a chip & pin card, or did you swipe it on the side of the machine? I use both types of cards, and the procedure for the two is different.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 27th, 2013, 01:13 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,282
Did you know the least commonly used PIN was recently found to be 8086, and PINs 1234 and 1111 account for 17% of all users? Fascinating.

Hands up everyone who uses their year of birth.
sofarsogood is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 27th, 2013, 12:30 PM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 84
I wouldn't use my year of birth--too obvious if someone stole my wallet which has drivers license (with dob) as well as cards. I use the last four digits of my childhood best friend's telephone number. I don't remember my own number from that time period, but my friend's number stuck in memory.

Regarding why the ATM at Heathrow didn't work that time, all I cared about was that it didn't work and that I ended having to get the money through a Mastercard credit card. Later in the trip my Visa debit card worked fine. Probably Janisj is right and it was just a fluke, but because of the timing a very inconvenient fluke.

You are all correct about the importance of checking with one's bank. I'm asking for personal experience in addition to asking the banks though--just in case.

(Thanks, Cosmia for telling me your Ally card worked.)

F
FerrisFar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2013, 08:51 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 3
Hey FerrisFar - Have you gone to Spain yet? I also have an Ally card and am curious if it will work (I'm only going to Spain, so it doesn't help that it worked in other countries).

Also, what fees were you charged? I have BofA and Ally. BofA charges a flat fee ($5 I think) + 3% of the total (its currently 1%, but will increase in November 2013 which is before my trip). According to Ally's customer service, they only charge a 1% fee, and no flat rate fee, but warn that foreign ATMs may charge their own fees. I would think if foreign ATMs are going to charge a fee, that will apply to any card used - BofA or Ally, on top of whatever my bank is charging, right?
jk8989 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2013, 10:38 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,882
jk8989: see the responses on your own thread
janisj 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 04:06 AM.