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Ok I have an atm card connected to a savings account only. Someone told me I had to have a checking account to withdraw funds from an atm in Poland. That doesn’t sound right!

Posted by
16941 posts

My ATM card is linked to my savings account only as well, and it worked everywhere I've gone, but then I've never been to Poland. Worked just fine in the Czech Republic though.

Posted by
4954 posts

I have used my credit union ATM card in numerous places in Europe to get cash without a problem. This account has never had a checking account - only a savings account. The issue in Europe is that you can't choose which account your funds come out of - they will come only out of the "default" account. So if you had say a checking and a savings account, you wouldn't be able to choose "checking" or "savings" like you would at an ATM here in the US. So I think that's where people have problems with a savings account and their ATM card.

Posted by
21296 posts

My card is linked to a checking account, so I cannot give you a guarantee, but I haven't read any reports of a problem in Poland or elsewhere in Europe from travelers in your situation.

I can tell you that there are a lot of ATMs in Poland that charge fees. First, you need to avoid the many Euronet ATMs. They are all over the place, even mounted in walls right outside banks. I have used a lot of Bank Pekao ATMs, and they have never charged a fee. There are other viable ones as well, but there are a lot of Bank Pekaos around, so I just look for those.

Offers of dynamic currency conversion are all over the place, including in places where I haven't encountered it elsewhere in Europe, such as some museums and train stations. Stay on your toes, and always ask to pay in zloty. Doing that up front may help. And look at the receipt before you sign it. Unfortunately, the display on the credit card device will almost certainly be in Polish, and it is usually not clear to me what I am supposed to do in order to select zloty. (Often you press the red button, but I think not always.) This creates a situation that a few clerks, etc., may take advantage of.

Posted by
11292 posts

I was going to post what Andrew H. said. The issue is that if your ATM card is tied to more than one account, you can't choose which account to use when abroad. It will always take money from the "default" account, which is almost always checking. I've only seen one machine - in the Prague airport in 2007 - where I had a choice of accounts. However, if your ATM card is tied only to a savings account, I haven't read of any problems (and Sam's experience confirms this).

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks for all the great information. I never had problems before with my atm but one never knows. Thanks again.

Posted by
31516 posts


For customers with more than one account, financial institutions normally designate one of those as the "primary account" and that's used for ATM withdrawals. In many cases, the chequing account is used. As you only have a savings account, that should be the account that's accessed by ATM's in Europe. I'd suggest checking with your credit union to verify that.