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ATM only card in Europe

Can an "ATM" only card rather than a Debit card be used at European bank?

Posted by
7676 posts

I'm still trying to figure out the difference between a debit card and a ATM card.
When traveling, I first use a Capital One credit card for every possible purchase--including restaurants and grocery stores. You have some legal remedies and protection on credit cards that ATM cards don't get.
I use a credit union ATM with just enough money (and no overdraft protection) for anticipated cash spending money. I don't use the ATM much as I predominantly use the credit card . I also have a backup ATM card on my main checking account that I avoid using because Wells Fargo's $5 and 5% charges are excessive.
The world has certainly become very modern since I started international travel, and it's hard to believe getting money from bank machines usually works so seamlessly with my local financial institutions.

Posted by
5819 posts


An "ATM" card allows you to withdraw cash from your account(s) via an ATM cash machines. If you use the ATM operated by your financial institution to withdraw cash from your account, financial institutions typically do not charge for that privilege (at least mine don't have fees). If you use an out of system ATM, your financial institutions may or may not impose charges, and some North American ATMs charge non-customers for that privilege. (Your financial institution may also charge you a foreign transaction mark-up).

A "Debit" card allows you to withdraw cash from your account through ATM cash machines similar to ATM cards as noted above. Debit cards typically draw from your checking account. Debit cards also work like checks in that you can settle purchases from cooperating merchants using your debit card with funds coming from your checking account.

One disadvantage of using a debit card to settle payments is the possibility of a merchant placing a temporary hold on your funds as if you had made a purchase of that value. Until it is taken off, your available balance is diminished by the hold amount. And if purchases or withdrawals exceed your checking account balance you are overdrawn.