Using ATM's

Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 06:50 AM
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Using ATM's

Hi

I will be studying in Barcelona this fall. Can anyone tell me how high the ATM fees are and if anyone has had trouble using their cards? Anything I need to know or be aware of? Thanks so much
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 06:54 AM
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No ATM at any bank in Spain charges any fee for using their ATM, period.
The only charge you will have is what your own bank may charge for using an ATM at a foreign bank. Call them and find out what their charge is, and also ask if they have partner banks in Spain that they won't charge you to use.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 08:03 AM
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ira
 
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Hi brit,

>Anything I need to know or be aware of? <

Find out:
how much your bank charges per withdrawl

whether they add a fee to the exchange rate (some banks add 1-2 pts above the daily rate)

whether your card is ATM only or also a debit card: you want ATM only in case it is stolen.

The best ATMs are those located at a bank, so that if the machine eats your card you can get it back.

Don't let anyone get close behind you when using an ATM, they will try to get your pin number and steal your card and/or money. It is safer to just walk away.

No in Spanish is "No".
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 08:29 AM
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Good advice from Ira. I would add one thing. If your card is rejected by the ATM for any reason, DO NOT reattempt the transaction and insert the card again. Either use another card, or find another machine, or come back later in the day. ATMs seem to retain cards when people make multiple attempts (it happened to my wife twice).
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 09:09 AM
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If your ATM card is also a debit card it is equally safe in case of theft since neither function can usually be activated unless the person who steals it also has the PIN.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 11:01 AM
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I agree with Topman, as does my banker. I changed by card to an ATM only, no debit function and this summer had some problems with getting money from some ATMs, including some really major banks. Some European Banks are turning their ATM foreign transactions to VISA and if your card doesn't have a Visa logo on it (meaning it is also a debit card) then the ATM won't give you cash. That is true even if the ATM and your card are both Cirrus, Plus or something else. This is a relatively new development and I'm not sure if it is happening in Spain, but it definitely is in Belgium and some banks in Germany and Italy.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 11:11 AM
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TopMan
>If your ATM card is also a debit card it is equally safe in case of theft since neither function can usually be activated unless the person who steals it also has the PIN.<

I must respectfully disagree. A debit card can be used just like a CC, w/o a pin number, which is why many people are having problems with thieves charging against their bank accounts.

Patrick
>I changed my card to an ATM only, no debit function and this summer had some problems with getting money from some ATMs...Some European Banks are turning their ATM foreign transactions to VISA and if your card doesn't have a Visa logo on it ...then the ATM won't give you cash. That is true even if the ATM and your card are both Cirrus, Plus or something else. This is a relatively new development and I'm not sure if it is happening in Spain, but it definitely is in Belgium and some banks in Germany and Italy. <

What about cards with an MC logo?



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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 11:21 AM
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Ira, I can't answer the question regarding the MC logo. All I know is that bank officials in Belgium and at Deutsche Bank told me "all ATM cards must have a Visa logo to work in our machines now".

Regarding safety issue. Are you saying that if your card is stolen you wouldn't report it? If you report your debit card stolen you are free from any charges on it. At least from my bank (B of A). It seems to me if my card was stolen or missing I'd report it immediately no matter whether it was an ATM only or a debit card or a credit card. My bank official told me it was silly of me when I changed my card to an ATM only card as there was no way I'd be liable for any charges if it was stolen. I ignored him and did it anyway.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 11:53 AM
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I found a site that gives lots of information about fees and the like: www.cash-abroad.com.

As for trouble - the only trouble we've ever had was with a Capital One card several years ago. It wouldn't work in London or Paris, but would in the Middle East and in Guatemala. On our last trip to Europe, it worked everywhere we tried. Still, we don't rely on just one card.

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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 11:56 AM
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I don't agree with that line that debit cards are as safe as ATM cards because they can't be used without a PIN. The whole point of debit cards is that you don't need a PIN to use them for purchases. They have entire commercials based on the fact that no verification is necessary to use them and how that makes them quicker and easier to use than charge cards, for example.

I just used my ATM-only card in several places in Spain a few months ago (March/April this year) without any problem at all at a variety of banks' ATMs.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 12:55 PM
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Recently I have read several conjectures here about the safety of using ATM/debit/check cards (whatever you call them) that have a credit card association with Visa or MasterCard. Some posters call them "dangerous", others simply imply they are not wise to travel with.

So,

if I notify my bank of my travel plans (dates/countries),

and if standard/common sense safeguards are utilized when using,

and if I have back-up sources of money available,

and if I monitor my account online and carry the direct-dial tel# of the bank in case of a problem,

and if my bank states:

"Are Check Cards safe:
There are various types of protection when you make purchases with your Check Card. Under federal law (Reg. E), you are responsible for only the first $50 of fraudulent charges if you notify your financial institution right away when you learn of the loss or theft. Additionally, if your Check Card carries the Visa or MasterCard logo, you are not responsible for fraudulent transactions in most cases. Bank of America goes a step further by safeguarding their Check Cards with the bank's standard in card security -

Total Security Protection: Total Security Protection is free and comes automatically with all Bank of America

Check Cards and features:


Zero Liability: if your card is lost or stolen, Bank of America reimburses you for any unauthorized card transactions up to the amount of the loss, when reported within 60 days from statement date.
Guaranteed credit: your account will be credited by the end of the next business day for unauthorized transactions if your card is lost or stolen.1
Fraud Monitoring: reviews how and where the card is being used and is designed to block potential fraud if abnormal patterns are detected.
Photo Security: puts your picture and signature on the front of the card to reduce fraud.
Verified by Visa: provides password protection to prevent others from using your card online (not available on Check Cards in Washington, Idaho and Oregon).
Bank of America Privacy Policy for Consumers: commits that your customer information will not be disclosed to third-party marketers for purposes of marketing their own products and services.

1 Claims may be filed against posted and settled transactions subject to dollar limits and verification, and must be reported within 60 days of the statement. "

... then why should the full convenience of these cards be excluded from international travel, when the risk of fraud is most likely a greater probability as used daily on the home-turf?

Just wondering. Am I living on the edge and inviting disaster? I don't think so. The greatest potential inconvience seems to be an international long distance telephone call to the bank in the event of loss or fraud. It's the same inconvenience were it to happen at home, except a free call may be the case.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 01:29 PM
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>Are you saying that if your card is stolen you wouldn't report it?

Of course not. However, do keep in mind that there may be several hours of delay between the time a card is stolen and the tie it is reported stolen.

>If you report your debit card stolen you are free from any charges on it. <

The problem is not that one wouldn't be reimbursed - eventually. The problem is that during the time that the bank investigates whether the charge was fraudulent the funds are not available from the bank account.

With a CC, one can continue to charge because the charge is frozen during the investigation, not the account.

>The greatest potential inconvience seems to be an international long distance telephone call to the bank in the event of loss or fraud. It's the same inconvenience were it to happen at home, except a free call may be the case.<

I respectfully demur. The biggest inconvenience is having a few thousand dollars tied up while the bank investigates.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 03:32 PM
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Funny Ira, it sounds like you're also talking about car insurance. I guess you always take the full insurance also, as if you had a wreck your credit would be tied up with the charges also. I suppose you've seen my posts on my recent experience.

And actually my credit card was stolen once and I didn't report it for over a day, when I discovered it. There were three charges on it made before I reported it, but they were immediately removed because I had given them the time it must have been stolen. Maybe I was just lucky, as I don't take any of those extra safeguard insurances, but that's how it worked with Citibank Master Card in my case, and that's what my banker told me would happen if my debit card was stolen.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 03:50 PM
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Hi Patrick
>Ira, ...I guess you always take the full insurance also,..<

Actually, I never do.

>...my credit card was stolen ...There were three charges on it made before I reported it, but they were immediately removed...<

That is the point of a CC. The charge can be disputed w/o affecting your credit.

>....and that's what my banker told me would happen if my debit card was stolen.<

I hope that that is so. So far, everyone I know (4)who has disputed a charge to a debit card has had the funds frozen while the bank investigated the claim.

They were eventually recompensed, but it was a bigger problem than with a CC.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 03:58 PM
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Yes, if you lose your ATM debit Visa or Mastercard, and somebody charges and it comes out of your checking account, you can get it replaced, but it is a pain in the neck.

I learned a lesson a couple of years ago when I used my ATM debit M/C at a restaurant. They took my card, swiped it in their machine, and when I put the tip on it, they swiped it again. I got charged twice. Yes, I got reimbursed, but my bank told me to check with the merchant first. That took 3 days. Meanwhile, my checking account was debited.

I finally got is squared away, but it was a royal pain in the @$$.

Never use your debit card for car rentals, hotel reservations, or restaurant charges. They put a hold on your funds (debit it from your account).
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 04:20 PM
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So Ira, let me get this straight. You worry about someone stealing your debit card and possibly the bank not honoring your call and holding some of your funds for it, but you DON'T worry about driving, having an accident and maybe $10,000 put on your credit card that you have to pay and wait three or more months to get straightened out.
I don't know about you, but I think the risk of having an automobile accident in Europe when driving is far greater than the risk that someone is going to steal my card and charge something before I can call the bank. From my personal experience, it know it is a greater risk for ME.

And I'm sorry I didn't read KS452's post before my last comment. Yes, I bank at Bank of America and that is exactly what they told me. Why shouldn't we believe it will work that way? We're not talking about a credit card here, or MC or Visa policies. We're talking about our own bank's policies which they have spelled out pretty clearly to their customers. My bank officer says it happens a lot, and they DO NOT freeze funds. I really trust him more than the rumor mill.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Patrick,Platzman,Ira, et al
I am more confused than ever.
Can anyone explain what the difference is between an ATM card and a debit card.
Example:I haveWellsFargo
"Gold ATM & Check Card".
I intend to use this card as a Credit Card to rent a car in England. This is a VISA card.
During my trip I intend to use this same card as an ATM card to withdraw cash from my Wells Fargo checking account.
I also have a backup ATM only card from Union Bank Of CA in case my Wells Fargo card gets swallowed. The Union Bank card on a separate checking account bears the Cirrus,Maestro and STAR emblems and ,of course, can only be used to withdraw from the UB checking account.
After reading all the previous posts describing a debit card ,including WWW.cashabroad.com,
I thought 'I gotta get me one of them fancy debit cards that all them smart folks got'.
I hot footed it down to BofA and asked
for one (theirs is free).
I asked the clerk to explain the difference between an ATM and a debit card and she couldn't.
What exactly is a debit card?
CONFUSED!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 07:09 PM
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Well, first of all most ATM cards are also debit cards. The idea is that the card is directly linked to your checking account (or possibly also to a savings account in the same bank). When you draw money out of an ATM, it is immediately taken from your checking account balance. If it is also a debit card, you can use it for making purchases in stores or restaurants. When you do so, that amount is also immediately taken from your checking account balance.

Now, don76, I can tell you this. If you use that Union Bank ATM only card at a Deutsche Bank in Rome or Venice, or at any bank in Belgium it will almost surely not work. Even though it says Cirrus and the machine may say Cirrus, if it does not have a VISA symbol on it, it will not work at those and I'm sure some other banks. Not a big problem since you have another alternative, and there are always lots of other banks where your card will work.

For years I had a B of A ATM/debit card, but I never, ever used it as a debit card. When the controversy came up about the "unsafeness" of traveling with a debit card I switched mine to ATM only so it couldn't be used for purchases in the event it was stolen.

I've never understood using a debit card, but I know they are popular. The way I look at it -- why would I want the money to come out of my checking account right away, when if I used a regular credit card, it might not be billed to me for almost a month, and then I have another three weeks to pay it with no charge and no interest. I'd rather keep my money for the extra six or seven weeks, thank you.

But after my odd problems of finding this very new situation with some European banks switching over to requiring the debit function if you are using an ATM, I will be changing it back, especially since my bank has made it clear there is NO risk to me for doing so. Christina, I realize you and many others have had no problems with the ATM card only -- I didn't either for a couple of years. And this year when I did have the problem, I could find another bank where it would work. But it is clear that it is a growing trend for that Visa requirement on ATM's and we are likely to see more of it all the time.

Hope it's clearer. Now for the exact way that ATM-Check card works, someone else will have to explain that one.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 08:27 PM
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Patrick
I think I finally understand.( I'm a little dense).
I can use my combo CC/ATM card as a credit card or,
I can use my card as an ATM for cash.
I can either charge a purchase to my credit card ,or, as an option, use it as a debit card to take funds
directly from my checking account.
If I charge the purchase to a CC I have 30 days or so before I have to pay ,and I have CC protection if I am improperly billed and don't want to pay.
If this is correct I cannot see why I would want to debit my account for a purchase.
I will continue to use my CC for purchases and my ATM to obtain cash.
Thanks
Don

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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:22 AM
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I use a B of A ATM/Debit card. I like others worry about the card being stolen and being used as a Credit Card. So I had the bank set the daily charge amount at zero. Just as you can set the daily withdrawal limits from an ATM you can also set the daily charge amounts. So I now have a VISA ATM card with the both the Debit and Charge functions closed down.
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