BECU Debit Card

Has anyone had an issue using a BECU debit card in Italy (or any where else in Europe)? We read Rick's travel tips on Obtaining Money in Europe and he mentions that some credit union debit cards are not recognized at the ATM machines.


Posted by Connie
Seattle, Seattle, Wa
19 posts

I have used both a BECU ATM and credit card with no problems in Italy and elsewhere. Personally, I wouldn't use a debit card. If lost or stolen you have no protection as you do with a credit card. If your BECU ATM card is also a debit they can issue you one that is just an ATM.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7736 posts

From the FTC website regarding lost or stolen debit cards:

"...if you report the loss within two business days after you realize your card is missing, you will not be responsible for more than $50 for unauthorized use. However, if you don't report the loss within two business days after you discover the loss, you could lose up to $500 because of an unauthorized transfer. You also risk unlimited loss if you fail to report an unauthorized transfer within 60 days after your bank statement containing unauthorized use is mailed to you. That means you could lose all the money in your bank account and the unused portion of your line of credit established for overdrafts. However, for unauthorized transfers involving only your debit card number (not the loss of the card), you are liable only for transfers that occur after 60 days following the mailing of your bank statement containing the unauthorized use and before you report the loss..."

Posted by Connie
Everett, WA
942 posts

I used a BECU debit card in Italy with no problems. Ironically, seven months later someone used my number and "took" $500 from the account. BECU fraud department contacted me the same day it happened and we closed the account. As Michael has posted, I was not responsible for the loss and it has cost me nothing but a few headaches contacting people and getting new cards. (The card was in my possession, so no one knows how they got my info. I have been contacted by the Canadian Lottery Board that they are working on prosecuting someone so..) Anyway... BECU cards work great and you do have some protection against have fun and don't worry.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8186 posts

The important thing is what logos are on the card. A debit card usually has a MC or Visa logo on it and will work virtually anywhere in Europe.

ATM cards belong to other networks (Plus, Cirrus, Star, etc.). Credit union's ATM cards often have limited networks (and few, if any, overseas options). You can use an ATM card if you can find a machine that belongs to the networks on your card. It's possible to get a list of locations ahead of time.

It's preferable IMO to bring a card with a Visa or MC logo and not worry about it.

As far as fraud is concerned. I avoid it by using my debit card for cash only. I never use it to purchase anything. I pay cash to street vendors or small businesses and only use credit for big businesses and major purchases.

Posted by Chris
Puyallup, WA, USA
881 posts

Hi Kay,

Have used them in 15 countries, over 10 years, including an Italy trip this year with very few problems problems, and BECU has the best rates you will ever find for transactions.

They were also super helpful when we had to dispute a rental car bill! :)

Do bring a second card just in case - nobody's perfect, but they are REALLY good! :)


Posted by Rick
Tacoma, Wa, USA
34 posts

I was pleased to see this thread as we are traveling to Italy in Oct. and I had only recently transferred my banking to BECU from B of A (who started charging me monthly service charges and wouldn't tell me why when asked repeatedly). I have two debit card accounts. I use one for online purchases only and only transfer funds to it for the amount of a purchase. I guess I could either divide our travel funds between these two accounts, or transfer half of it to my wife's account, so daily atm maximums aren't an issue. I am considering a Pay Pal debit card as well.

Posted by Henry
825 posts

Rick, The thread has some misleading information. The risk of a debit card being compromised (lost, stolen, number obtained by someone) is not that you will lose the money but that your vacation will be over by time you get the money back. You have to notify the financial institution, get a list of debits, certify which are not yours, then many financial institutions have ten working days to investigate.
A debit card an be used without a PIN. An ATM card is useless without a PIN. Logos Plus and Cirrus will work almost everywhere in Italy, they are the Visa and MasterCard networks. See for ATM locations.