Use of ATM cards in foreign country?

Apr 26th, 2016, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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My one experience was only a few months ago. The call just went thru like it wasn't international or long distance. No operator involved these days.
suze is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 09:46 AM
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>>I only needed to use those "collect call" options twice, and both instances were YEARS ago, so my information could be out-of-date, but in both of those instances, I heard an operator as the person who answered the call if the charges would be accepted and I heard the person say yes.<<

>>My one experience was only a few months ago. The call just went thru like it wasn't international or long distance. No operator involved these days.<<

That may depend on the individual bank/credit card provider. Some of my cards just provide an 'overseas access phone #' and some still say a 'collect call'.
janisj is online now  
Apr 26th, 2016, 12:00 PM
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If you're calling from a phone booth and paying a local charge, then it IS a regular call.

I did that once from Ecuador since it was easier to pay the 35 or 50 cents rather than deal with calling collect in a foreign country. The credit card rep said "Why aren't you calling collect?"
mlgb is offline  
Apr 26th, 2016, 04:13 PM
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If you use Skype you can call the 1-800 number. Presumably the Skype look-alikes would also work.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 28th, 2016, 08:30 AM
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MIght I add. always have 2 forms of cards in case one is stolen or denied as one happened to us. Thankfully we had another cr card.
Shar is offline  
Apr 29th, 2016, 09:15 AM
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From the OP "If you need more info, let me know".

OK, your questions are virtually impossible to answer with any degree of accuracy without knowing; a) where you live and bank, and b), where you are going.

The safest way, without a doubt, is to use a specialist travel debit card which can be pre loaded with either your home currency, and some some foreign currencies usually £, $ and €. They can be topped up online from your main bank account as and when needed. If it is stolen you main account is not at risk and the only risk is to the funds already on that card. Most are "chip and pin" cards and so are very secure unless one is stupid enough to write down your PIN or disclose it in some other way. In MANY countries, in the case of fraud and, in the absence of gross negligence by he cardholder, the provider will recompense for any fraudulent action. These are readily available in the Uk and Europe but my understanding is that they are not yet common in the USA.

As has been said, previously, if cash is stolen, it is gone. That's it! Unless of course you make a claim on your travel insurance but that is likely to be subject to a max. Amount and possibly an excess. Carrying $1000 on the street!!! Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. No wonder tourists are targeted by pickpockets!

In terms of cost, arguably the most expensive way of getting foreign exchange is to buy it in your home country. The rates will invariably be worse than those employed by banks via their ATMs. Exchanging the destination country is often also similarly expensive and fraught with issues, scams and forged bills are, or should be major concerns. Banks basically don't want us to handle cash and therefore make it expensive.

The fees charge by card providers fall into three categories:

1) Percentage mark up set at a fixed amount often 2.75% but can be as much as 5% or as little as 1% charge on the the mid- market fx rate - usually VISA or MasterCard (regardless of the card provider or bank). This fee applies to both ATM withdrawals and purchases
2) A flat charge per transaction. In the case of my own cards this ONLY applies to ATM withdrawals NOT purchases.
3) Some ATM providers do charge a flat fee for using there machines. Argentina and Vietnam have particulars high fees. They often couple these with low maximum withdrawals making it very expensive. Caveat Emptor! It is however, sometimes possible to seek out a bank ATM that does not apply these onerous conditions - HSBC, Citibank and Scotiabank are usually pretty good.

Of course, all of these charges may well vary from country to country as will the consumer legislation applying to those cards.

Re contacting banks whilst overseas. If my card has gone missing or I have problem, the last thing I am going to worry about is making a collect call (in fact I thought such things disappeared in the 1980s!). Just phone them asap. A dollar here or there is nothing compared to what you could lose by delaying the call.

Shar makes an excellent point - always have a back up card in case one fails. I would also add that it helps if the two cards operate on different networks. Travelling around South America a couple of years ago I found that even if ATMs displayed MC or VISA it didn't necessarily mean that they accepted those cards. It is possible to get a link from MasterCard , where, if you input your location, it will bring up ATMs in the vicinity that will accept their cards. Always to have an emergency fund in cash - just in case..

Apologies for the length of this post but I am sitting in a car, waiting for my wife to come out of the hairdressers, fed up playing Candy Crush and needed something else to relieve the boredom
crellston is offline  
Apr 29th, 2016, 03:11 PM
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Cash ? What is this ?

Anyway, I took money from an ATM recently and paid the same day with CC.

For whatever reason I didn't use my debitcard.
I'm European, my rate is in €, I was in China.
So result was : I took 700 RMB at a final rate of 7,01.
I used AMEX to apy the hotel : rate was 7,2
I used VISA to pay for the restaurant : rate was 7,19 or so.

When in Mexico I was smarter and used my debitcard had a better rate than the cc.

So basically : even if you use CC to retrieve low amount of cash, you lose 3%.
I checked briefly some rates at exchange booth - horrific.

So for me it works like that : I pay everything with CC and have always less than 100 $/£/€ worth of local currency on me.
Whathello is offline  
Apr 29th, 2016, 03:18 PM
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Crellston, you can get such pre-paid travel cards in the US, but the fees they charge are quite high. It sounds like such cards are a better deal in the UK.

If you have an ATM card that charges high fees for withdrawals from foreign ATMs, it's time to shop for a new bank or credit union. It is easy to find card that charge little or nothing for withdrawals and that do not charge a premium for foreign exchange.
Kathie is offline  
May 3rd, 2016, 12:32 AM
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You can't spend dollars in foreign counties, so you will have to exchange for local currency.

What nonsense is this? Lots of places outside the U.S. accept Freedom Paper. You might not like the exchange rate, but hey that's not my problem.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 3rd, 2016, 03:40 AM
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" Lots of places outside the U.S. accept Freedom Paper" . Never having heard of "freedom paper" I googled it and the only results I could find were a type of bathroom tissue and a Gambian newspaper. Do let me know which places accept that and I will pay them a special visit, suitably equipped with rolls of toilet tissue and African newspapers

Kathie - I am sure you are right. American and Australian friends have long complained of excessive charges for using their cards in ATMs abroad. It used to be the case that several clearing banks and building societies ( credit unions) completely offered fee free foreign use of cards but I think that these have all but disappeared in the UK.
crellston is offline  
May 3rd, 2016, 04:34 AM
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crellston - it really does depend on where you live ( and bank...). I am in the US and my Capital One ATM card charges zero fees and refunds the first $25 charged by foreign ATMs. My Capital One credt cards charge zero fees. Come to that, Citibank announced last year that it would stop charging foreign transaction fees, although I have yet to test that.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 3rd, 2016, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
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I use my German Debit card for Euro transactions, my Credit Union card for USD, and my UK debit card for GBP and everything else. Works well enough for me.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 3rd, 2016, 07:54 AM
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Doesn't Ecuador use the US$ ?
MmePerdu is online now  
May 3rd, 2016, 08:03 AM
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Yes Ecuador uses the USD although they mint some of their own coins and use the Susan B. Anthony coin which is a pain when you get back home and forget that they aren't quarters.

In Peru, USD is widely accepted and some employees have a choice to be paid in USD.

In Panama the USD is also used along side the "Balboa".

In my recent trip to Argentina and Chile, guides and hotels quoted prices in USD and the guides wanted payment in USD.
mlgb is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 12:07 AM
Join Date: May 2016
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Cash is easier to handle, I think. ATMs may charge you more:
But you may have spare coin and banknotes left that are too small to spend on anything. And it is easy to mug you.
adriajackson is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 12:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Cash is easier to handle, I think. ATMs may charge you more:
But you may have spare coin and banknotes left that are too small to spend on anything. And it is easy to mug you.

sparkchaser is offline  

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