True ATM-Debit card story

Old Jun 16th, 2002, 05:37 AM
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True ATM-Debit card story

Just returned from two weeks in Italy. I took with me 400EURO TC's (left over from convent deposit needs) and 500 Euro currency purchase prior to trip from Thomas Cook and my VISA debit card along with a couple of misc. credit cards. Arrived on a Sunday and did not try to use the Debit card. However on Monday I tried to make a withdrawal and was refused, the Bancomat telling me that my card was "not authorized for international use." Prior to my trip I had spoken to the bankcard department at my bank, checking out the issues discussed on this forum about loss of a card and unatuhorized use, etc. I told them that I would be travelling in Italy, and even went so far as to have them send me a new card, since the mag stripe on mine was getting a little worn. And yer I have a 4 digit PIN. I talked to them at least 8 times over various issues relating to the use of the debit card in Italy. I called my bank (7 hour time difference) and as it turns out (3 phone calls and most of a 20 EURO phone card) there is a significant problem with the integration of the Cirrus/Star/VISA network in Europe and many (no exact number) of bank networks in the USA, and they knew before I left that there was a strong probability that my card wouldn't work in Italy. In the end my debit card never worked (many apologizes from VISA), and I was stuck with having to get cash advances from Thomas Cook and American Express. This was somewhat inconvenient because there isn't a Thomas Cook or AMEX on every street corner, and you are limited to 230 EURO per day cash advance. I guess the reason for my post is that I see many pepole here tell other posters that there is no need to take cash or travellers checks with them, and I am here to say that I am glad that I had a source of money to fall back on during those first couple of days in Rome. BTW, the lines at FCO ATM machines were huge!! As many as 50 peolpe waiting at several we walked by.
Old Jun 16th, 2002, 06:16 AM
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That was very good advice. I had the same problem twice -- once in the south of France, where my card was repeatedly unceremoniously rejected (my husband's worked, though, and got us through); the other time was when the computers or whatever connects the plus cirrus etc. cards with the British system was down (for 2 days). Luckily in Britain, I have a friend who works in a bank and was able to find out it was a computer glitch, but those traveler's cheques really came in handy then!
Old Jun 16th, 2002, 06:29 AM
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Jim: Had a simular problem last March in Rome & Naples. I was staying near Termini and the street ATM I used in '99 & '01 told me the same thing. It had my ATM logos on it and it was working for the locals. Walked over to Termini same problem, went to another Termini ATM and it worked fine. In Naples same problem in the Centrale Train Station, walked outside and the 3rd ATM I found worked. I always back myself up with free AAA TC's and a couple of $100's in euro (small bills). Last year (Milan, Verona, Pisa, Siena, Assisi, Rome) I only had one ATM problem in Assisi and it was probably just out of money. Regards, Walter
Old Jun 16th, 2002, 06:48 AM
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Here is my story: Hubby and I were in Paris in April. Renewed old MBNA mastercard to avoid extra charges as I learned about on this board. Went to pay for a City Tour a few hours after arrival and whipped out my Mastercard only to find out I had brought my expired one. Thank goodness my husband was with me and had brought his new card. Could have been a disaster. Had however brought 500 Euro to get us started.
Old Jun 16th, 2002, 07:30 AM
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My husband and I had a similar problem in Belgium in April. Our ATM cards (we had them from two seperate banks) would just not work. We tried multiple banks over a period of several days. Thank goodness we'd brought travelers checks. Our cards worked fine once we got to the Netherlands.
Old Jun 16th, 2002, 11:23 AM
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Last Nov. as we went to check out of our hotel in Istanbul my Visa card suddenly would not work. (I had used my ATM cards the previous 3 days with no problems, other than the limit on the number of bills (20) and at an approx. 1,400,000 Turkish lira to the $, I could only get approx. $130 per ATM use. Also used the credit card with no problem.) The hotel clerk used the old credit card method and said he would call for authorization later. We drove to Greece and in Thessaloniki we stopped for gas, taking note that the gas station took credit cards as we were running low on Greek Dracmas. We were also running low on American $. We filled the car with gas and when my husband went to pay with the credit card, it would not work. We carry several different cards and none of them would work. We had some German marks, which they agreed to take, luckily for us and we were on our way. When we arrived in Katerini, Greece our credit cards did not work in the hotel, but the clerk told us that the credit card network was closed as it was a Sunday! The next day the ATM and credit cards worked? So I guess what I am trying to say is "Never on a Sunday..."
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