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ATM fees

I am traveling to Hungary, Slovenia and the Czek Republic. I have a Bank of America debit card. Are there partner ATM locations in these countries? If not, any suggestions other than paying the AYM fees. Thanks in advance.
Bob

Posted by
685 posts

We, too, have a BofA debit card. Their website does not list any partners in those three countries. We also have a debit card from a local credit union and it does not charge fees. Others will name fund accounts (Schwab?) that have no fee ATM cards. Hopefully you'll have time before departure to open an account other than BofA. Have a great trip.

Posted by
2204 posts

On the back of your card, is there a logo for either PLUS or Cirrus? If so you are fine, it's not BOA that is the network, it's the Cirrus (or Plus) network, and these are almost universal in Europe ATMs. BOA can still charge a fee for ATM usage based on their rules on your account, but meanwhile there are no fees charged by bank-owned ATMs in Europe. I am thinking you may find this logo, as we just opened a BOA Mastercard and it shows Cirrus - yes, I know, that's a credit card and not a debit card, and you should never get cash from an ATM with a credit card as this is a cash advance and not a purchase, but this makes me think you may find this on your debit card. CapitalOne is another place that has accounts with no fees at their end for ATM usage, along with Schwab. They are both easy to set up,, but you probably need a month's lead time to get the account, make a transfer, and get the cards.
You are aware that your 3 countries all use different currencies?

Posted by
6565 posts

You shouldn't have a problem obtaining cash in those countries. But as has been said, it'd be best to carry a backup card in case there's any problem. I try to charge everything possible to my Capital One card that doesn't rip me off on currency conversion. I also carry a laptop/notebook where I can move money around in my U.S. savings and checking accounts.
The different currencies make you appreciate the convenience of The Euro. The old way of every country having different currencies can be tough to deal with.

Posted by
12328 posts

I have a some investments in Hungary that require that I go a few times a year. I also go the Czech Rep on occasion. I carry a Merrill/BoA Accolades AMEX card, a BoA MasterCard and a BoA Debit card. They all work just fine. The rates on the MasterCard are universal for all MasterCards and you can check them on the internet. The MC I believe has a 2 or 3% charge on foreign transactions and the AMEX no charge. I have never gotten a service charge on the ATM card and the rates have been excellent. I think the rates are tied to the MasterCard rates. This is so convenient that I carry less and less cash on each trip.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks to all for the very helpful information. Bob

Posted by
2204 posts

CapitalOne has a Mastercard available that does not have any foreign transaction fees (also has a great cashback program)

Posted by
2788 posts

Have you looked under the Graffiti Wall list of topics: "Money/Communications / ATMs: Minimizing Fees"? Might find some helpful information there.

Posted by
11798 posts

I've found ATM fees fall into several categories: Most of the Big Banks charge huge international fees. I left Wells Fargo (they bought out my bank during the 2007 financial crisis) because of their international ATM fee of $5 PLUS 3 percent of the transaction. I know Bank of America gives you free transactions at their partner banks, but I wouldn't rely on that too much. They may have a reasonable number of free partners in a few locations, but you will more than offset those savings with additional costs when you can't find a convenient partner. Some places, primarily brokerage accounts (e.g. Charles Schwab) or private banks, offer free international ATM transactions. Those offers are generally offset by deposit or other account requirements. If the requirements aren't out of line, this will be your best bet. If those requirements don't work for you, however, you still have a decent option. It's not hard to find many smaller banks and Credit Unions that charge a flat one percent (no additional fee) on international ATM transactions. I'm now using USAA but there are many other options. As long as the card you're issued has any of Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, or Plus logos on it, you can use virtually any ATM in Europe (some Credit Union's cards don't, ask someone at the CU to see their card before you open an account). European banks won't charge you for a transaction. Travel Exchanges will, and they now have machines that look a lot like an ATM in airports. Avoid anything that has EX in the name (TravelEx) and go for the ones that have Bank (Banc, Banco).