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ATM's in Europe..

5 Oct 2007 gracesc said

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I'm planning to go to europe next spring and have been getting conflicting advice about how to handle money..some swear by traveller's cheques, others suggest using the ATM's. I only hestitate to use ATM's for the following bad experience; my mom was in Italy and tried to use the ATM..it made all the usual noises it would when they dispense money but nothing came out. When she approached the tellers inside, they assured her that her account had not been debited but upon her return, she checked & her account had been debited.
Is this a common occurence? Are there places that are generally safer to use ATM's and places that I shouldn't even try? Would appreciate any thoughts or experiences that anyone can share with me! Thanks everyone! Smiler
  • 5 Oct 2007 ptooma said

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    Nothing wrong w/ having TC’s. Just don’t plan to use them except for DIRE emergencies – like you decided to cab it back to the hotel on your own and you’ve used your last 5 Euros, and the ATM just ate your debit card and your spare ATM card is at the bottom of your luggage – which coincidentally is at your hotel. I kept two $100 TC’s in my wallet just in case.

    - Vic

  • 6 Oct 2007 JC05 said

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    I never had any dramas using ATMs in Europe. Just make sure you notify your bank that youre going overseas, so they dont suspend due to “suspicious transactions”. I didnt have any TCs, although I stashed 100 euro in my passport wallet for emergencies. Credit cards are the go in Europe too.

  • 6 Oct 2007 Curtis71 said

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    If I was to do it all again, I would pre-load my MasterCard with a pile of extra money, and then take a small amount of starter cash to Europe.

    Then I would use a cash advance now and then to get more money. This way, it’s impossible for a thief to steal money that you don’t have with you! And it is really easy to keep a tiny slim credit card safe and hidden away.

  • 6 Oct 2007 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    I’m with ptooma, having TC’s as a backup isn’t a bad idea. 8 weeks on tour (roughly 135 people) and this is the drama with ATM’s I’ve seen.

    I had trouble getting money out in Norway, I was trying to take out more then my daily limit, I eventually got my money when I figured out my problem

    An empty ATM on a weekend in Egypt, I got a tiny bit of money, and another $50 debit from my account from a failed attempt – my bank credited me the money and I never heard anything back about it.

    And the girl on my tour whose bank shut down her account the day she left for Egypt because of a fraud alert. They never told her and ended up with her card eaten by an ATM. She got the card back and after a $60 phone call (which i think her bank did credit back to her) and it was working again a couple days later.

    In the future I’ll bring some TC’s as backup and some cash with me that I can exchange and maybe bring some local cash too. Oh, and my ATM card.

  • 17 Oct 2007 sharpec said

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    I just got back from the Simply Italy tour (and a few days in London) and honestly, I never had a single problem with my card and any ATMs.

    Make certain you phone your debit/credit card company to ensure they know when you are traveling. You also need to check with them to ensure that your card will work. If you have CIRRUS, or PLUS symbols on the back of your cards, they will work in Europe.
    Be aware that in many places in Europe (especially in England) you need to have a FOUR digit Pin, no larger. Also remember that you need to know your pin on your credit card to draw any money from it using an ATM – also I know in England you need to have your pin to use it during a transaction in many places.

    There were TONS of ATMs around, especially in Italy and London. I never had any problems accessing money, or using my cards.

    Hope that helps!

    Chelsea
    - Simply Italy 2007 -

  • 7 Nov 2007 angelalovestotravel said

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    Most Australian banks charge a fee to use overseas ATMs – usually around $5 a pop. Plus the conversion charge (usually 2-2.5%).

    I spent two months travelling in Italy, Spain and France using Euro denomination travellers cheques and didn’t have a problem. I didn’t pay a commission when I bought them (about the only thing I get free from my bank!) and by cashing them at American Express offices – they were Amex TCs – I didn’t have to pay a fee or commission to cash them. Some of the banks charge commission for cashing TCs. Most large stores accepted my TCs because they were already in Euros (you will have more trouble with TCs in other currencies). I did have my ATM and credit cards with me in case I ran out of money and couldn’t get to an Amex office.

  • 7 Nov 2007 Corey & David said

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    http://www.travelex.com/au/personal/CP_default.asp?content=cp

    I’ll be using one of them, kinda like a temporary bank account that u load up before you go. The advantage is u load it up with Eruos before you go so you can choose a day when the exchange rate is good.

    They also give you 2 cards encase you loose one and if you loose both they have an international number to call and you can pick up a replacement card at one of their outlets within 24 hours
  • 9 Nov 2007 QQ said

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    Does anyone bank with HSBC? They don’t seem to have any branches in Italy so what did you guys use? Other banks’ ATMs? Did you get charge with fees?

  • 14 Nov 2007 sharpec said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by QQ:
    Does anyone bank with HSBC? They don’t seem to have any branches in Italy so what did you guys use? Other banks’ ATMs? Did you get charge with fees?



    There aren’t really a lot of banks like you would think of there. There are TONS of little atms everywhere, but not a lot of big banks like we have everywhere.

    There are also tons of places to cash your travellors cheques, but be careful to shop around. Many places charge a commision – if you look around, you likely can find places that don’t.

  • 15 Nov 2007 gracesc said

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    sharpec; was there a service charge for using the little ATM’s? We have ones here that are not affiliated with any banks so the service charge is quite a bit higher than banks would charge..is it the same for those ones?

  • 15 Nov 2007 sharpec said

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    In all honesty, I dont remember if there was a service charge or not. I dont believe there was. Your bank will charge you one for using an ATM internationally, but otherwise, I don’t believe the atm itself did.

  • 16 Nov 2007 Michael_B said

    Michael_B
    quote:
    Originally posted by gracesc:
    I’m planning to go to europe next spring and have been getting conflicting advice about how to handle money..some swear by traveller’s cheques, others suggest using the ATM’s. I only hestitate to use ATM’s for the following bad experience; my mom was in Italy and tried to use the ATM..it made all the usual noises it would when they dispense money but nothing came out. When she approached the tellers inside, they assured her that her account had not been debited but upon her return, she checked & her account had been debited.
    Is this a common occurence? Are there places that are generally safer to use ATM’s and places that I shouldn’t even try? Would appreciate any thoughts or experiences that anyone can share with me! Thanks everyone! Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->



    I’ve heard far too many horror stories about ATMs in Italy than any other country. My own horror story happened in Germany. Got 300 Euro out, which was what I wanted, but upon my return home I discovered a bank in Frankfurt (100 miles away from the bank I used) charged my account 100USD. According to my bank at home, it was described as an actual withdrawal, not even a German bank charge.

    TCs work fine over there, provided you stop off at somewhere like Thomas Cook to have them converted to cash. Also, hundreds of businesses over there take Visa/MC, so that might be worth doing too.

  • 6 Jun 2008 vivy09 said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by sharpec:
    Be aware that in many places in Europe (especially in England) you need to have a FOUR digit Pin, no larger. Also remember that you need to know your pin on your credit card to draw any money from it using an ATM – also I know in England you need to have your pin to use it during a transaction in many places.

    There were TONS of ATMs around, especially in Italy and London. I never had any problems accessing money, or using my cards.

    Hope that helps!

    Chelsea
    - Simply Italy 2007 -



    Hi all,

    Just doing research on money & came across this post…and see that England (mainly) & other countries ATMs dont accept pins longer than FOUR digits…but I do have one longer would it be possible to get it shortened? As I only plant to take my ATM card & my 2 credit cards with me.

    My credit cards dont have a chip and I hear that having a chip is much easier to use in Europe then a normal swipe card….?

    But I do know to try and get a pin number on my credit card….

    I will be traveling to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stuttgart & Frankfurt.

    Please any help will be appreciated!!

  • 16 Jun 2008 gracesc said

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    Hey Y’all
    So I just got back from doing european vista (awesome, awesome time!!) and pretty much followed my own advice: took bulk money out when I had the chance (‘bout 400 euros at a time) and did not use ATM’s in Italy..couple people from tour had problems with them, especially in Venice. Didn’t take any TC’s and left an emergeny 50 euro in my suitcase (which I never needed) and all worked out well! One thing I did notice that when I was taking money out from the ATM’s, it doesn’t ask you from which account you want to withdraw from so make sure that the account you want to take money from is either the only one attached to your card or it is the primary account on your card.

    If anyone has any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask (while it’s all still fresh in my brain!)

  • 16 Jun 2008 JessiB said

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    I talked to my bank and they gave me a list of banks that they were affiliated with that wouldn’t charge the $5 processing/administrative/whatever fee. Obv exchange rates will apply, but just talk to your bank for a list.

    Also make sure you have a chequing account, savings don’t work there for some reason.

  • 17 Jun 2008 Sherbie Woo said

    Sherbie Woo
    quote:
    Originally posted by Curtis71:
    If I was to do it all again, I would pre-load my MasterCard with a pile of extra money, and then take a small amount of starter cash to Europe.

    Then I would use a cash advance now and then to get more money. This way, it’s impossible for a thief to steal money that you don’t have with you! And it is really easy to keep a tiny slim credit card safe and hidden away.



    I’m curious, what is the best or preferred type of credit card accepted in Europe? Visa or Mastercard?

    That way I know which of my CC’s to take as emergency expense only. I solely using my bank ATM card for withdrawals.

  • 25 Jun 2008 SJ said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by JessiB:
    I talked to my bank and they gave me a list of banks that they were affiliated with that wouldn’t charge the $5 processing/administrative/whatever fee. Obv exchange rates will apply, but just talk to your bank for a list.

    Also make sure you have a chequing account, savings don’t work there for some reason.



    I like the idea of asking your bank for a list. I bank at RBC, and I have a no fee chequeing account with them. I just changed my account type to a VIP account, which costs 30 bucks a month, but you don’t have to pay to use your debit card anywhere or to draw money on it. I figure I’ll use my debit card atleast 6 times in Europe in three weeks! My banker said she’d change my account back to my no fee student unlimited account rigth after my trip.

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