ATMs & Credit Cards: Minimizing Fees
Throughout Europe, cash machines and credit cards are the standard way for American travelers to change money or pay for services. You get a much better rate than with traveler's checks but you do pay a fee, usually to your hometown bank or to your card issuer. And ATMs may not be as good a deal, as some overseas ATM vendors and US banks add a 2 percent or so fee to each transaction. How do you minimize fees when using ATMs in Europe? Are they still the best way to change money? Also, any comments about minimizing extra credit card foreign currency conversion fees?
Please Note: ATM and Credit Card fees change frequently. Contact your bank or credit card company for exact, up-to-date information before your trip.
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Charles Schwab is a fantastic card. You do not pay any ATM fees anywhere in the world, plus a great exchange rate too. Also, if you are purchasing rail, theatre tickets, etc. use the card and again incur no fees and receive a very favorable exchange rate. For example, I just purchased London theatre tickets for the Book of Mormon at the Delfont Mackintosh Theatre. The intra day bank rate was $1.5704 and when I checked my bank statement (online) I received $1.5770 per pound. Less than one cent difference. You won't get this from other banks and they will also ding you with a "Foreign Bank/Transaction" charge on top of it.
Phoenix, AZ USA 06/15/2013
Chip N Pin Cards
Andrews Federal is the only place I could find to get a true Chip N Pin card. Most banks only offer Chip N Signature cards. One complaint about Andrews though..beware and apply for Credit Card months before you travel!!!!! I applied back in March 2013... here it is end of May and still no card. Am being told it's being processed but could take 3weeks for delivery since it is manufactured in Canada. That puts us to late before we leave to have the cards. The problems has been, you must become a member of the bank 1st, then apply for card. Then they send out documents via email for you to sign and I didnt' understand that both me and my husband were sent 2 seperate emails with places for our signatures. I assumed mine was the only one sent and thought it curious when I was the only one made to sign. Sent it off anyways, no follow ups from them or anything. Called back 2 weeks later to learn my husband had an email too (went to spam). Once I signed it and sent it off I guess it was approved finally. But Andrews has no communication with you and it's all on your end to make sure the application and cards are being processed. Call them weekly!!!!! Just disappointed that they didn't contact me in anyway to let me know status of application.
Newburgh, IN USA 05/29/2013
Spanish Exchange rate
In just took cash at an ATM at BBA Bank in Sevilla Spain and there does not appear to have an addition to the exchange rate. I was Charged $326.00 for Euro 250.00 that is $20.00 less than a similar transaction @ Banko Popular.
CLIFTON PARK, NY USA 02/27/2013
No fee atm
Capitalone360.com (formerly ING) NOW has a checking account that bears a little interest plus has no foreign ATM fees. (Mastercard applies a 1% fee for any charges outside U.S., regardless of currency). It's an on-line only bank so it has to be connected to an existing bank account.
Toledo, oh USA 02/21/2013
BoA Travel VISA Card has the EMV chip
I strongly recommend using the Bank of America Travel VISA Card. Aside from a favorable exchange rate the card does not charge a currency exchange fee PLUS the card now has the EMV chip. Most helpful for Metro and vending machines that take credit/debit cards. See Rick's book for an explanation on the EMV chip.
Boynton Beach, FL USA 01/31/2013
free ATM withdrawals
I always use when my Charles Schwab debit card whenever I travel anywhere in the world. They offer a interest free checking account. Plus you can withdraw from any ATM in the world for free (Schwab will reimburse the fee at the end of the month). Finally, Schwab gives you the inter-market rate on your transaction, so you'll know you will have the better conversion rate.
I know other banks do this, but I really love the Schwab service.
Also a credit card with 0% foreign transaction fee is helpful.
SF, CA USA 01/30/2013
I just contacted Capital One to obtain a debit card from them. Due to their merger with ING Direct they are not currently issuing any new accounts. However, ING Direct does seem to be offering a similar product. Their Electric Orange Checking account supposedly offers no ATM or transaction fees except for the usual visa transaction fee. On the phone I was quoted that fee by an ING representative as .002% or 20 cents on $100. Sounds too good to be true. By the way, ING direct is only an internet banking site...no branches. They transfer funds from your present checking account. This may be a good way to go. Curious if anyone has used this.
How to find a Bank of America ATM in Italy
With your internet connection go to BNL.IT. Then click on "BNL PRIORITY". On the next page click on "PRENDI UN APPUNTAMENTO". This will bring you to a series of three drop-down boxes where you enter your location by Regione, Provincia and Comune. Once you enter that info click on the "CERCA" button. There you will see all their branch locations in that locality. Simply click on the "BANCOMAT" tab at the top of the page to see all the ATM locations along with a map!
Weston, MA USA 01/03/2013