Please sign in to post.

What Bank-owned ATM? What Bank is preferred by those who’ve been to Prague?

Hi, I’ve learned a lot from this forum just by reading. To those who’ve been to Prague, do you have any preference as to the name of the bank that owns the ATM where you guys withdraw your Czech currency? I’m from the USA. I have a Schwab débit card of a checking account.

I’ve read that Euronet ATMs are a rip off. So what bank ATM then within the touristic center. I google mapped “Prague ATMs” and a whole bunch came up.

Thanks.

Posted by
4637 posts

I prefer Komercni bank but won't spend too much time looking for their ATM. I don't think that there are big differences.

Posted by
16824 posts

Elsewhere in Czechia Raiffeisen Bank ATMs haven't charged me any fees. I can't guarantee that it will be the same in Prague.

Posted by
5019 posts

The specific bank is not worth worrying about.

Euronet is not a bank, it's just a money exchange thing (a scam, some might say). Their machines are everywhere (saw lots of them in Poland a few weeks ago).

I would not waste my time or mental bandwidth researching brands now or looking for any specific bank when you need cash. Look for an ATM that's 1) attached to an actual bank, not in a 7-11 or other magnet, not stuck on a random wall on the street; 2) preferably inside that bank (at least inside the first door - often there will be a little "ATM room" half way between the street and the actual bank branch space further inside), and 3) not Euronet. No need to get brand loyalty beyond that IMHO.

You won't have trouble finding ATMs that meet this criteria, they're everywhere.

Posted by
20624 posts

David is correct. Remember the ATMs are there for the locals just like our ATMs in the US are there for us. I rarely look for an ATM. I let the ATMs find me. The days that I need the cash, the debit cards goes into a secure shirt pocket and we start walking. Sometime in the next couple of hours I will see a bank ATM and use it.

Posted by
176 posts

I use Raiffeisen when I can as they often allow you to choose the denomination of the notes so you don't get stuck with a CZK2000. Otherwise enter amount like 2800 to be sure of some small notes. Always ask for a receipt and keep it until you've checked your statement.

Posted by
16824 posts

I've been in Czechia for only about six days and have happily stuck with Raiffeisen Bank for no-fee transactions, but in other countries I have encountered bank ATMs that charge fees. (In fact, Raiffeisen charges in Ukraine.) Perhaps bank ATMs are not charging fees (yet) in Czechia, but I do not agree that in general any old bank ATM is fine. Not unless you like paying unnecessary fees. You have to watch everything displayed on the screen all the way through the transaction.

Posted by
11154 posts

The ATM's to avoid are Euronet and Travelex. As said above, these are not banks, and can be ripoffs. Any other ATM should be fine.

A trick I learned when researching this for my sister, who's going to Prague in a few days: If you go to Google Maps and search in Prague for "ATM nearby," you get Travelex and Euronet machines. But if you search for "bank nearby" instead of "ATM nearby," you get bank connected ATM's.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you. Great to know your real life experiences. As long as it’s a bank-owned ATM & attached to a bank, it’s fine then. I just don’t want to lose precious vacation time chasing the lowest exchange rate.

It’s about convenience. I rarely use ATMs in the US,. I use CCs on everything. I wish I can use CCs in everything in Prague or all over Europe . But can’t.

Posted by
9 posts

Like others say - you mostly need to worry about you arrangement with the bank, and not the local ATMs. And even if, than any potential issues would still be related to a particular arrangement between your bank and a local one, or a company such as Euronet (or Planet Cash for that matter).

Posted by
6 posts

Hi everyone:
Perhaps it might clear up any confusion if someone could list a few of the names of the major banks in Prague so we all know which ATM's that could be used. When I see an ATM machine I have no idea if it represents a major bank.
Thank you!

Posted by
5308 posts

One important detail -- OP will have a Schwab debit card, so ALL ATM fees charged by the local bank will be reimbursed (automatically) and so there's no need to search out a non-fee ATM, just find one with a convenient location and possibly inside the bank building.

Posted by
485 posts

We always carry two debit cards from separate banks or institutions. If one of the cards has an issue, then we have a fall back card to use. We always seek out ATMs that are attached to banks as needed.

Posted by
20624 posts

Sometimes I think we make this sound like a horrible and risky task finding the "correct" ATM. It really is not difficult. Banking services are well established through all of Europe and used frequently by the local population. Banks are prevalent (more than one) in all major cities and most of the small cities as well. So they are not hard to find. Let the banks find you. When you out and about just make a mental note when you walk past a bank. Because you will !!!! Then return at your convenience. The ATMs I avoid are all stand-alone in major tourist sites, hotels, train stations, etc., even if they are a bank owned ATM. Those are the units that have highest probability of being tampered with. AND that probability is very low.

As mentioned by others, my preference is to use an ATM inside a bank entryway or lobby. Often times the door is lock so you need to swipe your debit card to unlock the door to gain access to the ATMs. Also I like to use an ATM someone else has just used. If it works for them, it should work for me.

We carry at least two debit cards and often three. We use all cards within a couple days to just make sure all the cards are functional. What good is a back up card if it doesn't work? Then we return to the primary for the trip. "Knock on wood" -- but we have never had a card that failed or was eaten by the ATM. Have had cards rejected by ATMs. Don't know why. The first time it happen it caused a bit of panic but found that the card was accepted at the next ATM. That was more frequent years ago. Have not had a card rejected in the last half dozen years or so.

Our primary debit card is credit union that allows six free withdrawals in a month and then charges a $1 for additional withdrawals. We don't worry too much about fees since it is far cheaper than the fees once charged for TCs.

Posted by
16824 posts

Yesterday two ATMs at a branch of CSOB rejected my ATM card without even asking for my PIN. I suspect other US cardholders may have the same problem, but there's no harm in trying that bank if it's convenient for you.

In the spirit of research, today I tried two new banks rather than returning to the reliable Raiffeisen. The ATMs at both Commerzbank and Sberbank were fine, but the Commerzbank ATM wouldn't dispense anything smaller than a 500-koruna note. I don't know whether that is standard practice for that bank.

Posted by
2436 posts

just back from another trip to Prague and noticed that I have been charged a feeof 150KC for using the ATM at the airport, now I used that same ATM a few months ago with the same card and did not receive any charges, this charge was not from my bank but the ATM operator, I was also charged another ATM fee from another one when I was in Velke Popovice at the brewery there, not used that ATM before but as I have used many atm's in the CR over many years it is only on this trip that charges have been made.

Posted by
16824 posts

Yes, I have been warning about this phenomenon for two years. Those fees are cropping up more and more often. The folks who say, "Don't worry about it; any bank ATM is fine" are 1) luckier than I am, 2) not traveling to the same countries I go to, and/or 3) not using ATMs as often as I do.

Unless you don't mind being nibbled to death by the banks, you really need to read the screen all the way through the ATM transaction. Fees charged by the machine are usually revealed at the very end, often on the same screen where dynamic currency conversion is offered. There can be a lot of numbers on that screen, and it is easy to overlook the bit about the local fee.