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Berlin: Bank of America ATM PIN - How Many Digits

Guten Tag:

Is there anyone on this forum who regularly uses a Bank of America (BofA) ATM card in Berlin or Germany?

If you are willing, please tell me how many digits the PIN must be, assuming I go to BofA's partner bank, which
is Deutsche Bank (DB).

I am really confused on how many digits my Pin must be. I have tried calling the banks. BofA is hopeless; a human that
answered the Deutsche Bank phone was pleasant but did not know how it works in Germany.

The DB website was showing four digits; last year, I think BofA was telling me six digits. That is why I am trying to find an
actual person in the US who regularly goes to Germany with a BofA ATM card and uses it.

Posted by
4862 posts

I have used a B of A Debit Card to withdraw cash from my account on Kurfuerstendamm in Berlin many times, most recently Septenmber 2017. My pin has always had 4 digits. Note that B of A now charges you 3% to access your own money!

Posted by
3458 posts

Four!

Most cards do not give you an option. 95% of the cards in the world have 4 digits. My BOA card worked fine with a 4 digit PIN not starting with a zero.

Posted by
16847 posts

I don't use a BofA debit card, but I do use a 4-digit ATM PIN all over Europe, including in many branches of Deutsche Bank.

Posted by
4862 posts

Lovetotrav, B of A told me years ago that my ATM only card would no longer work outside the country. So I reluctantly allowed them to give me their new standard issue, a debit card. Your last post brings up many complex issues not in your OP. Have you used your card in Europe before?

Edit: What happened to your 3:07pm post?

Posted by
91 posts

Tim:

Thank you for your prompt response.

Terminology can be very confusing and tricky.

I have a BofA ATM card. It actually says ATM card on it. I also have a BofA/Merrill Lynch (BofA/ML) credit card/debit card. BofA/ML is the same company.

I use the credit card all of the time, which never requires a PIN. And, I believe, I always have the "debit side" of the card "disconnected."

With respect to the credit card/debit card (cc/dc), I do recall getting a notice that the bank will charge 3%, etc., if I were to withdraw cash. The bank is somewhat treating the withdrawal like a loan, and that is why I was hoping NOT to use a cc/dc.

I am hoping to use my ATM card only. I thought I was being told the ATM card would be free; i.e., (1) No transaction fee because I am using a partner bank; i.e., Deutsche Bank. (2) No 3% fee because it is not being processed by VISA. The transaction is between the bank and me; i.e., no middleman - VISA.

Let us see what additional information other ATM card users may share with us.

Thank you.

Posted by
91 posts

Tim:

re: My disappearing post -- I went in to make small editing adjustments, etc, and I accidentally deleted it.

I found your second post very interesting about what you were told about the BofA ATM card.

For my prior travels to Europe (Dublin and Paris), I did not use ATM cards or machines. My hotels would always take my credit card or, for Paris, the hotels were prepaid on Expedia or Orbitz. For Dublin, my hotel would always act as my banker. When I ran out of Euros, I would give the hotel US dollars and they would give me Euros.

For Paris, I brought with me a large amount of Euros.

Since everyone on the travel forums (including Rick Steves) seems to say bring a minimal amount of Euros with you and just withdraw from the ATM as you need cash, I am trying to get up to speed with the "in thing." For this upcoming trip, I am trying to avoid carrying so much cash and I am also preparing myself for Berlin being a more cash-intensive society. So, I have never yet used an ATM in Europe.

So far, all of my European hotels have willingly taken my credit card, and I anticipate I will have no problem with my Berlin hotels.

Posted by
4700 posts

When you use an ATM, there are three things to consider in regard to cost:

  1. Fee charged by the ATM's owner (usually $0 in Europe but can vary - I've never been charged a fee).
  2. Fee charged by your bank or credit union
  3. Currency conversion fee (percent)

It seems if you use BofA ATM card at DB ATMs, you might avoid the #1 and #2 fees.

The currency version fee? Just because Visa is involved doesn't mean it's 0%. In fact, typically it's a minimum of 1%, unless Bank of America is eating the cost. (Highly doubt it.) I'd guess they are charging you 3%. The fact that credit unions usually charge 1% or even 0% sometimes is a big reason I am no longer using a big bank. (Plus I can use my credit union ATM card at any ATM I want and still pay no fees at all - don't have to go hunting down a specific partner bank ATM.)

A 4 digit PIN should be fine for ATMs in Europe.

Posted by
560 posts

I used by BofA debit card at Deutsche Bank ATM; my PIN is 4 digits. I did not have to pay a fee for using a different ATM as DB and Bof A are partner banks. But I still had to pay the exchange fee which you have to pay anywhere you obtain foreign money.

Posted by
4700 posts

padams:

I used by BofA debit card at Deutsche Bank ATM; my PIN is 4 digits. I did not have to pay a fee for using a different ATM as DB and Bof A are partner banks. But I still had to pay the exchange fee which you have to pay anywhere you obtain foreign money.

Right, but that exchange fee varies depending on the financial institution - typically between 1% and 3% (sometimes 0% because your bank or credit union absorbs it as a benefit to their customers). It won't make much of a difference compared to the total cost of a trip to Germany, but if you will need to take out a lot of Euros to pay for lodgings in cash or something, the difference could add up.

Posted by
4862 posts

LTT, you have a few more issues to consider, many of which you might find using this board's search box:
No ATM fee difference between ATM and same bank's Debit Card account withdrawal!
(I get the idea that you don't have a Revolving Credit Card.)
Foreign transaction fees 0-1-2-3% and on ATM vs your Credit Card
Local credit card acceptance trends
Payment options for your specific accomodation and dining
REVOLVING Credit Card cash advance versus ATM/Debit Card WITHDRAWAL
Credit Union versus Too Big To Fail global bank
Daily withdrawal maximums
Phone support for problems
Large denomination bills from ATMs
Travel Notifications
Bank ATMs versus Vinnie's ATMs
Credit card "holds"

Posted by
3458 posts

No 3% fee because it is not being processed by VISA.

I had to spit my coffee out on that one. I'm not saying you might not have a card that has no foreign exchange fee, but Visa has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the 3%. That is all on BOA and their desire to make profit.

Visa (and MasterCard and AmEx et al) charge your card issuer not more than 1% for every foreign transaction they process to convert the foreign amount into USDat the best possible rate available at the time for their ease of settlement. That is it. Anything over that your card issuer chooses to charge you is pure profit for them. Not that there is anything wrong with profit, but put the blame in the right place.

And any BofA transaction that takes money directly out of your account, on an ATM only card or an actual Debit card with a logo on it, is routed through the Visa network.

Posted by
12252 posts

Not exactly an answer to your question. I use the BofA Visa chip and signature credit card to buy train tickets (when I'm not using cash) from the DB ticket machines. Before the transaction is processed, you have to indicate the credit card's PIN number. That's mandatory. The DB shows "PIN eingeben" After I put the PIN for this credit card purchase, it shows "Vorgang bearbeitet." ie, the transaction went through. My PIN is 4 digits, which I picked myself, not one assigned to me by BofA.