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Capital One ATM cards

A few years ago Bank of America added a 3% "foreign transaction fee" for using their ATM card at member banks in Europe, e.g. Deutsche Bank, in Germany. There is still no fee from Deutsche Bank or Bank of Am. to use the those ATMs and the rate is still the best you can get. But the 3% fee still bugs me. I've been to Europe 35 times with over 700 overnights, so I'm pretty experienced with the whole ATM, credit card, money thing.

I've heard that there European banks where there is no charge (from either the European bank or Capital One) to use a Capital One ATM card and where there is NO 3% foreign transaction fee. Plus, the same great rate I get with Bank of America.

Does anyone have any first-hand experience using a Capital One ATM card in Europe, particularly in France (where we're planning to move next summer)?

Posted by
16609 posts

My primary ATM card is from my credit union. My back-up card is from Capital One Bank. I have seldom needed to use the Capital One ATM card and had no occasion to do so during my trip this year, but there have never been any fees assessed by Capital One.

HOWEVER, upon my return home I found in my mail a notification from Capital One. It says I will now be charged substantial fees if I use the card in a non-Capital One ATM.

I believe, but have not yet confirmed, that Capital One has more than one type of account. (I've seen references on this forum to a "Capital One 360" account, and that is not what mine is called.) I expect that I'll be able to switch to a different type of account and continue avoiding fees, but I haven't yet called Capital One to discuss that. The staff at the local Capital One office were utterly clueless about the whole situation even when I stuck the notification letter under their noses.

ATM (and other) fees have to be disclosed in the documentation received when you open an account. You need not be concerned that you will be charged unexpected fees as long as you read that material and anything subsequently mailed to you.

Posted by
157 posts

I have the Capital One 360 ATM card. I got it in late August for my trip to Europe in September and October. I used it at the airport in Frankfurt and at a bank ATM in Budapest and wasn't charged any extra fees. The conversion rate was very favorable, too. I highly recommend it.

Posted by
3126 posts

The Capital One 360 account is the one with absolutely zero fees. It is opened and maintained online, I do not believe you can get this account at an actual Capital One branch. I have had my account for nearly 20 years and have never paid even one cent in fees for using any ATM anywhere in the world. I have used it in UK, France, Italy, Germany, and most of the other European countries with zero issues. They do require a US address for the account.

The rate you pay for foreign exchange is that which you can see by looking at Google. If it says a Euro for example cost $1.10, that is what Capital One charges you for Euro transactions posting that day. The rate is actually set by Visa or MasterCard; you cannot get a better exchange rate. There is a network fee charged by Visa and MasterCard of up to 1% that some banks pass on to their customers. Capital One does not pass on this fee.

This is different than how Bank of America does this. For BofA, you must use specific bank's ATMs to avoid part of their fee. Capital One does not limit you on who's ATMs you use at all. Unfortunately, many European banks have discovered they can make money by charging withdrawal fees to ATM users. Many charge around €5 per transaction now. So be careful about that. There are other zero fee accounts (Charles Schwab I think is one) that will refund the ATM withdrawal fee.

Posted by
148 posts

just checked my CapOne 360 checking and yup, no foreign transaction fees.
this card worked great in London in June, ftr.

Posted by
9 posts

Mark (et. al.), Thanks for the replies. That's exactly what I'm looking for. Is there a way to know which European banks charge a fee to use their ATMs with a Capital One 360 card.? or just trial and error? Does Capital One pass that charge onto the consumer?

I'm thinking we'll get that ATM card and direct deposit our pensions into that account. Then get cash from a French ATM with no fee. Then deposit the cash into a French checking account. Seems this will be the best (cheapest) way to get our pensions into Euros for the long haul. I doubt (though I don't actually know) that direct deposit into a French checking account is going to get a good exchange.

BTW: I ALWAYS use a bank ATM and INSIDE the bank. I've seen too many people just hanging around the ATM machines to not be suspicious.

Posted by
3126 posts

The European banks charging fees charge ALL transactions the fee unless you have an account with that bank. Similar to how nearly every ATM owner in the US does. I don't have a list. The actual ATM will tell you it charges a fee and how much it is (this is required by law).

Your bank (Capital One or any other) cannot do anything about the fee charged at an ATM by the ATM owner (unless if is one that refunds ATM fees). It shows up apart of the transaction amount. So if you get €100 and they charge €5 for ATM access fee, your statement will show a transaction for €105. Your bank will know that the €5 is the fee because of how the information is sent to the bank for authorization.

Posted by
5017 posts

Shop around for a good credit union. I have a couple. Both charge zero fees for anything I ever do (no minimum balance, no fees for any routine things, no fees for any ATM usage, no foreign transaction fees when using my ATM card to pull money from a foreign ATM). There are plenty of zero-cost ATMs (zero cost as long as you don't do foolish things like bounce checks).

Pulling cash from your home account when you are overseas, you may (usually will) be charged something by the company (bank or loan shark) that owns the ATM you use. If you are smart about using bank ATMs, that's usually a small fee; minimize that by pulling larger amounts of cash less frequently.

There will always be a small conversion fee changed (it's often hidden, but it's almost certainly in there). VISA, which most banks/credit unions use to process foreign transactions, charges a flat 1% fee for this. That's what my credit unions pass along. They use the interbank currency conversion rate, which is as low as it can get. So basically, I pay 1%, with zero other fees (unless dinged by the foreign ATM owner).

I doubt that getting money overseas can be any cheaper than this. There are plenty of credit unions that work this way (although not all are so good; you need to ask the right questions and find someone who can give you reliable answers, which may or may not be easy).

Posted by
16609 posts

It's trial and error to find an ATM that doesn't charge fees, though the prevalence of ATM fees varies by country, and France is not one of the bad ones (so far). If the ATM itself is going to charge a fee, it will be disclosed during the transaction, typically after you indicate how large a withdrawal you want to make. Read all ATM screens carefully, because that notification may be buried in a screen full of text that also offers you the horrible option of conducting the transaction in your native currency, thereby locking in a truly dreadful exchange rate.

Posted by
2924 posts

I also have a capital one 360 card , and a TD bank card - no fees . In any event for the few transactions I generally make at European ATM's ( four , on my last trip , this past Autumn ) I don't really worry too much , if there were to be a fee or two , or perhaps three .

Posted by
5239 posts

Dutch, check with your U.S. bank to see what they would charge for inter-bank transfers between currencies -- it would seem to be more efficient to avoid hand-carrying Euros from an ATM to deposit in your French bank, and would provide a better electronic trail.

Posted by
9 posts

Laura, I've done that for HomeAway rentals and between the fees and the lousy exchange rate that isn't an option for exchanging thousands of dollars per month into Euros for a year or more. I've move to AirBnB for short rentals (1 month or less) where I can use a credit card with no fees and a good exchange rate. And yes, for us one month is a short stay. We are retired.

Posted by
6540 posts

I switch on a credit union ATM card only when we travel internationally. My Wells Fargo ATM comes with a 5% charge and $5.00 transaction fee, so I only carry it as a backup. Wells wonders why customers don't care for their bank.

Posted by
3320 posts

I used my Capital One ATM card in September all over France and didn’t have any fees. I used it at the Credit Mutuel Credit Union that I saw frequently in France - no issues with transactions.

Posted by
570 posts

Dutch,
There are many France-based American expats and French people who participate regularly on the France section of the RS forum. They will have lots of advice and experience to share, perhaps you should also post your questions there. Particularly since the context of your questions is your upcoming move to France.

Posted by
13909 posts

Here's what I know, FWIW. I opened a Capital One MM acct about 10 years ago because they didn't charge forex fees for ATM withdrawals. Their policy also stated that they'd refund any fees charged by foreign banks. Though I have occasionally paid $4-5 fees, mostly in Southeast Asia, I never bothered to try to reclaim them. I usually check the actual forex rate I get against the xe.com mid-market rate and it's always been within 1%, sometimes even less that the market rate - I assume it's timing differences, since xe.com is continually updated and the bank rates are set at intervals. The only place I remember getting burned on the rate was in Morocco.

I opened the account after learning about it here on the forum. Within a few years, Capitol One stopped offering it fee-free account, but continue to honor the existing ones. I don't have a clue what their current policy is.

When I first got the card, the terms were no-fees for foreign withdrawals; fees for w/d from non-Capitol One ATM's in the U.S. AFAIK that continues.

In Spain this year, I used a random bank ATM that wanted something like €7 transaction fee, so I cancelled, went to another bank's ATM and got the cash without a fee. The same thing happened in Portugal a few months later.

Posted by
16609 posts

Chani, check with Capital One to be sure you are still grandfathered in on the no-fee deal. Per the letter I received, I am not. I think we may have the same account. I set mine up in person (not online) in 2015.

Posted by
1499 posts

Dutch,
We moved to Italy 16 months ago. We have an online Capital One account and get reimbursed if there are ATM fees. We auto deposit money into that account monthly. Capital One will not send a debit card to an address that is not the address on your account. My husbands card was eaten at a bank ATM in France, and we just waited until we had a friend who came to visit bring with.

Recommend a second bank account with ATM as a backup. The fidelity cash managment account reimburses ATM fees. Both Capital One and Fidelity do not charge foreign transaction fees.

We also have a Chase bank account that our house rental income gets deposited to, and pay US bills and reoccurring monthly credit card charges.

We pay our rent via TransferWise. Other bills we pay in Euros (cash) at the Italian Poste. We do not have an Italan bank account and have not needed one.

Make sure you set up accounts so you can transfer money between accounts depending on circumstances.

Posted by
2762 posts

Is there a way to know which European banks charge a fee to use their ATMs with a Capital One 360 card.?

I can only speak as to France, but no bank I've used there for 30 years has charged a fee. I've also heard some people flatly say that no French banks charge an ATM fee.
As to US banks and ATM fees, I used to rely on my BOA card until they added the 3%+$5 charge. Since then I've used my no-fee TD Bank card. They will also refund a foreign ATM fee, but that's only occurred in Canada at a non-TD machine..

Posted by
16609 posts

Europe is awash in fee-charging ATMs. It's getting worse every year. I can't say that I remember encountering an ATM fee in France, though I don't keep track on a country-by-country basis, I just cancel the transaction and walk to another ATM. Perhaps there's a local law or banking regulation that prohibits fees charged by ATMs in France. Believe me, that is not the case in most countries these days.

Posted by
203 posts

If you open an account with Charles Schwab there are no foreign transaction fees. Also, all of the ATM fees are reimbursement to the account. We do not have a local branch but will be opening an online vacation account .

Posted by
4777 posts

I was going to chime in about Schwab as well, I have one, can't say it is any better than the Capital One 360, but features fee reimbursement and other qualities. You may check with any existing investment accounts you have, Fidelity and some of the other ones have similar checking accounts.

I also use a Credit Union ATM, but I like the Schwab account in that I can save up travel money, it is isolated from my primary account, and the Schwab account has a high withdrawal threshold ($1000/Day) plus the fee reimbursement. It is my primary for travel, with the credit union as back-up.

I would also suggest looking at your Credit cards, I now charge more on trips than use cash, so for me, a no FTF card is important. As a bonus it is also a Chip and Pin with Pin priority, it too is used almost exclusively for travel. Other cards get used daily to build miles and rewards.

Posted by
2 posts

I have a capital one 30 account and used it for my two month trip to Norway and Sweden. No foreign transaction fees, I was able to use it on ATMs and at stores. No problems.

Posted by
628 posts

We use Charles Schwab as well as referenced above. I like them because my card has a different card number than my husband’s card in case one card is compromised. We Capital One as our back up card when we travel. We’ve enjoyed using both companies and haven’t had any problems.

Posted by
1 posts

Does anyone know what the daily limit is for the Capitol One 360 account is? We are doing a cruise in June and I've booked several private excursions that require payment in cash at the end. My concern is not being able to take enough out per day.

Posted by
3126 posts

I suggest you contact Capital One for the answer to that question. Only they will know absolutely.

What I found in my banking notes:
Withdrawals from an ATM made using a 360 Checking Card are limited to $1,000 per day.