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How do you use Your US Credit Union for money transactions when visiting the EU?

How do you use a US Credit Union membership to do your Financial transactions and save money when you are visiting?

Posted by
3514 posts

Andrews Federal Credit Union. Chip and pin credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

I use Charles Schwab for debit: no ATM fees, no foreign transaction fees. Not a credit union but gives excellent value.

Posted by
6353 posts

If you have a debit card from a Credit Union account just use that to withdraw funds as needed from ATMs. Make sure your CU knows where you'll be using the card and have the daily withdrawal amount increased if needed. Otherwise it's no different than using a debit card over here.

Posted by
5360 posts

My credit union has great terms for withdrawals (No use fees, no foreign transaction fee) but you need to check with yours, how they work with mine really does not matter to you.

I suspect that for you transactions will be no different so far as withdrawing money from an ATM, if you use your debit card here for POS transactions, in Europe you likely will not, just using a regular credit card for non-atm transactions.

Do be aware if you will be charged a fee, either a flat fee for use or a percent of your transactions as a foreign transaction fee. If so, then maybe using a credit card would be a better value.

In rare instances, I have seen people report that their financial institution "blacks out" some countries as fraud prevention, Spain and Italy are typically listed.

Posted by
21243 posts

Not even sure what the question is. I use my credit union debit card to withdraw local currency. It is a 1% fee with a limit of six free withdrawals in a 30 day period. One dollar per withdraw after that so not a deal breaker in any case. However, your credit union debit card needs to be branded with either Plus or Cirrus to be widely accepted in Europe. My credit union also uses the STAR network that is more common to North America.

Posted by
2788 posts

I use my US Credit Union membership to get a DEBIT CARD tied to a CHECKING ACCOUNT there. I have gone to Europe for 13 of the last 14 years and have never had a problem getting local currency from ATM machines there being careful not to use any ATMs tied to any exchange service companies. I almost always use one at a bank that is open so that if anything goes wrong, I can go inside and find out what the problem is. Never happened yet. My CU charges a 1% transaction fee for each withdrawal and even though there are no-charge ones out there, I have been a member of my CU since 1972/3 and prefer to remain there.

Posted by
18021 posts

My credit union debit card is "branded" neither Plus nor Cirrus, but it does say on the back to call Cirrus before traveling, so I guess it is Cirrus. My partner used her debit card from the same credit union successfully last year in Germany. I'm usually on a cash only basis in Germany (because places that take plastic are inherently more expensive to start with). About once per trip I use a credit card (major bank, Visa or Mastercard) for point of sale purchases (usually train tickets). I understand many of you don't like to use debit cards in Europe. If you have a credit card from your credit union, and it is a MasterCard or Visa card, it should work over there (for purchases, don't use it at an ATM).

Were you were thinking of other "money transactions"?

At 1% for currency exchange, my credit union debit card in an ATM would save me versus one major bank that had a 3% + $5 fee for ATM usage, but I never used the credit union card, because my account with another major bank gives me absolutely free ATM withdrawals.

Posted by
233 posts

I use my credit union debit card in ATMs to get cash whenever I'm in Europe. I let them know I'm going to be in Europe before I leave. There is no fee (withdrawal fee or foreign transaction fee)! It can only withdraw from my checking, though.

Posted by
21243 posts

Technically speaking you can withdraw from either a checking or a saving accounts. It just depends on what is the primary account attached to the debit card. My credit union debit card pulls from a saving account.

Posted by
1976 posts

My ATM from my credit union is tied to my checking account. My credit union has a $1 fee per each foreign transaction, which is a great deal. Aside from ATM withdrawals, I don't do any other financial transactions when I travel because I'm only out of the country for a couple weeks at a time.

Posted by
9363 posts

My credit union has no foreign ATM fee, and unlimited withdrawals. They also have online banking where I can transfer money in from other accounts, or out to my other online bank if needed. Every credit union has its own fees and options, so you need to shop around for the best deal. I never use my debit card for purchases, only to get money from the ATM.

Posted by
1217 posts

My credit union was originally a military credit union. Since their members need to be able to use their Master Card-branded debit cards to get money pretty much anywhere in the world, whether it be Greenland, Uzbekistan, Japan, Australia, etc. their ATM networks are quite comprehensive.

Posted by
9363 posts

I believe that any MasterCard-branded debit card can use any MasterCard-branded machine, military or not. It's one network.

Posted by
1217 posts

Master Card-branded is Cirrus ATM network, which really is quite global in scope.