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Which bank/ATM card works best in Europe?

My boyfriend and I both currently use a local credit union and I would like to put in a modest ($2000) into a national bank for our upcoming European trip in case there is a problem with our credit union withdrawls. Does anyone have any suggestions on which bank is good for this purpose only?

Posted by
4555 posts

You might want to check with Bank of America. They have agreements with several international banks so you don't get dinged extra fees. Those include Barclays in the UK, BNP Paribas all over France, and
Deutsche Bank in Germany.

Posted by
8975 posts

As long as your credit union is affiliated with one of the major networks, you won't have any problems. I also belong to a small credit union with one branch and have never had a problem withdrawing money anywhere in the world, including locations in rural China.

Posted by
11 posts

I have found that it is a good idea to contact your bank before you leave for Europe to alert them, that you will be making withdrawals from your bank card. With identity theft issues, if your bank identifies unusual activity or your card you possibly could have a frozen card until you contact them.

Posted by
18 posts

Also, make sure that your pin number is only 4 digits!

Posted by
334 posts

We use a Credit Union ATM ("Plus" system) with no problems in Europe - 4 number pin. We haven't yet been charged a fee either there or here (I check the conversion periodically to see if it's imbedded in the exchange rate, but have been pleased to get really good rates - every little bit helps, especially with the Euro rates). On the other hand we have a "back-up" ATM from World Savings that will charge a fee plus 1%. I don't like it, but in a pinch figure it would work.

Posted by
1 posts

I just made a reservation for a hotel in France...which was processed by a company from Turkey. When I checked my card account on line, I had a note: Possible fraud alert, call customer service. So I called but I couldn't understand the fellow in India and he couldn't understand me!

Talked to an American the next day and got it straight.

I read somewhere that Capital One was the best card to use for buying things, their fees are lower,while some charge as much as 3%.

Also, when you withdraw money, make sure it's at a bank and not one which isn't affiliated with a bank.
They could well have the ability to get your pin as well as all the other info on the metalic strip.


Posted by
705 posts

I have a credit union account with a Visa card attached and have had no problems at all anywhere I have travelled. I have another Visa and a mastercard that are bank affiliated (one US based the other Asian based) and charge overseas fees and transaction fees and other such fees, bit of a shock when you get your statement. My Visa linked to my credit union does not charge any other fee. It's just like a normal transaction. Admittedly I'm not in the States but banking seems to be universal now. I'd ring them and ask their policy. Also definately tell them you will be using your card more than usual or else they may decline it.

Posted by
24 posts

When in Germany I always use ATMS found in most post ofices. Fees there are always the lowest.

Posted by
1455 posts

I use the Credit Union and found the fees to be better than a bank. My CU charged me $1 fee only if I withdrew more than 5 times a month. Since I was only in Europe for 2 weeks, I withdrews 2x's (big increments) and got no fees.
Plus I paid my meals, etc using my ATM as a debit Mastercard, and used the cash for taxi's, bus, or things which required cash.

Only stay with the "name brand" banks in Europe when withdrawing. Avoid those independent Kiosks in the middle of no where, or stand alone in the convenience store.

Posted by
2 posts

I also am looking for a bank to keep an ATM accessible euro account. all the ones I have seen have big fees. Any one have an account like this?

Posted by
1167 posts

It seems that in general the credit unions charge smaller ATM fees than do the banks. If you feel the need for a second card you might want to open an account at a different CU.

Posted by
1568 posts

It is my understanding is that your 4 digit pin number must not begin with a 0.

Notify your bank in advance when you are leaving and your return date. Also, notify them each country you will be visiting.

My bank told me had I not informed them - they would have put a hold on my ATM card.

Enjoy your trip