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atm card

i will be traveling from july till the beginning of august. I just realized that my WAMU debit card expires in august (08/08)...will this case a problem when traveling? also, I have read that the best rates are from taking money from an atm. wamu charges 1% for atm and 3% for debit card purchases.. but does anyone know if they charge a flat fee for using the atm in europe? thanks

Posted by
89 posts

I would talk to your bank about both those things. My bank (Wells Fargo) sent me my new card a couple weeks before my old one expired and deactivated my old one. You don't want to have to worry about card problems while traveling, so I would make sure everything's cleared up before you leave. They'd also be able to give you a more accurate answer on ATM/conversion fees.

Posted by
2207 posts


Kent makes a great point as ATM cards here are often linked ONLY to the primary account, whatever that may be for you. Also, he's also correct that the four digit number IS required at specific ATM's. In addition, know that ATM's often do not have the "letters" on the numeric keyboard as you do in the States and thus a code you remember by what it spells would be challenging here!

You should contact your bank and set your daily withdrawal level. It's what you can pull out in a 24 hour period and you can re-set it after you get back. We have ours very high ($2,000 a day) as that's how we pay rent - in cash. Some ATM's (Banco di Roma, for example), may limit you to 250 Euros per transaction regardless of what YOUR bank limit is - depends on their policy. Good news is that with a US ATM card, often local limits are waived!

I have Bank of America back home and they charge a flat $5 "bank fee" for any ATM transaction so we try and limit the number of transactions we have to make. Also, different ATM's here, dependent on the local bank, may also assess you a charge - separate from what your bank may charge. Ask your bank if they have any "partner banks" over here where you may have FREE withdrawals!

Italy is primarily a "cash society." Most locals SO NOT use credit cards and many hotels/restaurants do not accept credit cards - or even debit cards. The good news is that ATM's are plentiful, even in the smallest villages so you're never far from one!

We always "travel" with two separate cards on two separate accounts as cards have been known to fail... and we did not want to get stuck. Doesn't happen often, but it did to us in Venice once...

As Ayla says, talk with your bank. They do have all the info and will be very helpful. Hope that helps!


Posted by
12172 posts

Your card will be good until the end of August, so you will be okay. Ask your bank about their current charges, let them know you are planning a trip so they don't put a fraud alert stop on your card. As I recall WAMU charged a fee for using ATMs in Europe. I don't recall being charged a percentage.

Posted by
1317 posts

When I used my WAMU Gold Debit card at the ATMs in Italy (Rome & Florence) I was charged a 1.5% fee, which according to WAMU was a Mastercard charge, and no flat fee. I can't remember if the ATM itself charged any fees but I think not?