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Richard May 20th, 2002 05:08 PM

Warning re: ATM cards & Credit Cards in Europe
I just got back from a 3 week stay in Europe and used my ATM card at various locations. I have been bombarded with all kinds "conversion fees" which Bank of America says was charged by the retailer. The fees run from .02 to 4.00 usd. Had I known about these fees, I would have paid in cash. I still got hit for using ATM at 3.00 per transaction! With little difference between the euro and dollar, it wasn't of benefit using my ATM/Visa bank card. Any suggestions?

Statia May 20th, 2002 05:10 PM

Richard:<BR><BR>See above thread regarding ATM's. I posted an least one that I am thinking of using. If anyone has something better, please inform. I'm interested.<BR><BR>Also, I've read that MBNA is one of the few banks which doesn't charge a conversion fee for foreign currency charged on their cards. That might be another route to go.<BR><BR>

Statia May 20th, 2002 05:12 PM

Sorry...I meant "below" thread on "ATM/Debit Question." It's somewhere on here.

Iris May 20th, 2002 05:39 PM

To Richard: traveled through Germany and France and used my ATM/Debit card. Banks overseas are not (by law) allowed to charge you for withdrawing money from their ATMs. The fees you see on your statement are strictly added by your bank. Don't believe otherwise. They will lie to you and tell you it isn't them. I know, I had to make a stink about it last year. And then I had to change banks to avoid all these extra charges.

StCirq May 20th, 2002 06:11 PM

Richard: Those are not fees tacked on by the retailer - that's not possible, as far as I know (you sign a receipt for the amount to be debited, and that's that). They are fees tacked on by your bank. Contact Bank of America and complain. My bank charges nothing for withdrawals at ATMs in Europe or for purchases using my debit card in Europe. Anyone who travels should have a card that does not incur charges.

Richard May 22nd, 2002 07:40 PM

Thank you for the very useful information. I did contact Bank of America after reading all of your responses and they have now credited my account. I was close to $50.00 in debit fees. Many THANKS to each of you!

Bob C May 23rd, 2002 06:47 AM

Bank of American has an agreement with some banks in Europe. If you use the following there will be no charge by BA.<BR>Barclays in the UK, BNP in France and Deutsche Bank in Germany. We never use the card as a debit card on vacation, only use it for ATM withdrawals which will cost $1.50 when used at banks other than the above.

Jim May 23rd, 2002 07:10 AM

Bank of America says there is no charge to their Advantage customers. You must call, however, to remove the charges when you get home. Nice and sneeky huh.

MarciaB May 23rd, 2002 08:16 AM

I had three credit cards which were possibilities for me to take on my trip to London and Paris: a Visa from a bank, a Visa from a credit union, and an airline mileage American Express. Before I departed, I called each credit card company and asked what fee they charged for foreign transactions. Surprisingly, both Visa cards had no fees (I had expected yes on bank, no on credit union). The American Express has a 2% "currency conversion" fee. It was not hard to figure out which card not to use.

Jim May 23rd, 2002 08:55 AM

Richard<BR>Aren't you the one who beat me up when I said that a traveller is going to pay for conversion, whether they use Travellers checks, credit card, debit card, buy foreign currency before they leave, etc. etc.?? I'll say it again there is no such thing as a free ride, or lunch. You will pay eventually. How much and at what point is the only question. Now where are all of the posters who said that "THERE IS NO COST FOR USING A FOREIGN ATM?" Richard's experience is just what I have been writing about the last two months and nobody would listen.

change May 23rd, 2002 09:33 AM

Bank of America, notoriously, sucks. My bank charged me $1.33 per ATM transaction and no other fees were added by anyone. Everyone I know has had problems with B of A.

Barb May 23rd, 2002 09:55 AM

Marcia--You didn't say which bank issued your Visa, but I assure you that EVERY card, no matter who the issuer is passes on the 1% currency conversion. This 1% is added by Visa or Mastercard International. The 1% is not listed separately, so usually you don't realize you've been charged. Some cards add up to another 2%, but still don't itemize it.Capitol One and MBNA do not add the extra 2%, but First USA, Citibank, and B of A do add it into the conversion price. As you noted, American Express adds 2% total(not 1% + 2%), so if you have a Delta Skymiles card, or are enrolled in Membership Miles, you may decide it's worth it for the points. I have found that the payback on my Delta Skymiles is worth it, since the program also gives some bonuses that help me qualify for Medallion level, which in turn gives me additional benefits.<BR><BR>Also bear in mind that cash is not necessarily a better option, since the cash conversion rate is rarely as good as the bank rate used to convert credit card charges. <BR>

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