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wj1 Jun 16th, 2004 11:17 AM

ATMs in Brazil
In my research for this trip, I've read in a number of places about the difficulty in using ATMs to access money from your home bank account.

My local bank is Wells Fargo and the ATM card is a VISA card with Cirrus, Star, Interlink and Instant Cash logos on the back. I've used my ATM card in so many different countries that I hadn't given it a second thought until I started reading about all the difficulties other people were having with their cards.

And yes, I did try calling my bank. After 45 minutes on the phone, the most they could tell me is that "it works in most countries." Pretty helpful, huh?


Dondiega Jun 16th, 2004 01:24 PM

WJ, I go to Rio twice a year and for the most part the money I use I get from an ATM machine. In Rio there are citibank branches which are the best, I never had a problem, look at the citi bank website and find all the branches and atm's in Brazil. The other bank I have used even more through the years is the many many branches of the Bank of Brasil, they are all over Brasil as you can imagine. This one is a little tricky but I have always walked out with money. The max per transaction is $1000 reais. What I usually do is take enough cash as a backup and always use the cash from the ATM's and never had a problem. Also you can use the American Express offices they will give you the official exchange rate for their travellers cheques. Theer is a branch in the Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio. Everybody I know uses ATM machines in Rio all the time it is the preferred method as people don't like taking a large amount of cash with them anymore.

Dondiega Jun 17th, 2004 08:49 AM

Also, late last year I noticed an advertisement about the new American Express funds card. I thought it was a good idea, you load it up with cash and you can extract your cash from any ATM in the world at least that is what they had said. First I loaded it up with some cash about 2 months before my trip just to test it out, I pulled money from an ATM in the US, no problem and used it as a credit card also in a restaurant in the US. Now that I felt it worked about 3 weeks before my trip I called Amex to load the card up with more money to get ready for my trip. The money never got loaded into the card and everytime I called they gave me an empty no information message and the calls were being routed to the Phillapeans and the people knew nothing. Finally I got to Brazil and tried to extract the money that was already loaded in the card which was only from my original load not the second load which never occured. I was not able to extract any of my money in Brazil. I called the Phillapeans from Brazil, what a mess this was, what frustration this was. These people could not answer any questions, they could not help me, this travel funds card was a big mistake. I finally got my money out and wil never use this card again. Be carefull, don't get caught with this product you can find yourself without any money.

miguelgcuadra Jun 17th, 2004 10:44 AM

Do not worry, all ATM work in Brazil. When it comes to banking, Latin American is up to date. Just be sure that if you need cash, you go to ATM before 11 PM, as of precaution, all ATM are turned off at such time in RIO.(my experience in Ipanema, 3x already) Some other small towns, they are on all night long.

wj1 Jun 17th, 2004 10:59 AM

Thanks everyone. I think the info I read was probably outdated. And I'll be sure to stay away from that AmEx travel fund card!

kdm Jun 21st, 2004 06:45 PM

I too have a WFB ATM card and I used it at the Ipanema Citibank branch location without problems - the address is Rua Visconde de Piraja, 229 and the phone number is (21) 3222-9450 / 3222-9452.

Have fun :)

welltraveledbrit Jun 21st, 2004 08:11 PM

I'm also planning a trip to Brazil and have a Wells Fargo ATm/Visa card...I'm so glad to hear our bank was so helpful!

One additional thought...I'm planning to use the card at the ATM but I'm not intending to use it at hotels/restaurants where I'll use a traditional credit not debit card.

The REASON: There have been several postings about people having their credit card number "lifted" in restaurants/shops in Brazil without the card being stolen. This isn't a problem if you're using a credit card...they're not your charges and you're not liable for fraud...however with the debit card it's your money flying out of the account if this happens and that (as you can see from Wells Fargo customer service) is a different story.

Just my two cents! Thanks for your post.

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