Help! No ATM Card.

Schwab Bank managed to screw up my ATM card and it will not arrive in time. I leave in 2 days. I would like access to $3-5K in cash in addition to my Capitol One CC. I know no one uses Traveller's Checks anymore. I am going to UK and, briefly, Finland. What are my best options beside: (1) Carrying cash? (By the way I started a month ago with Schwab and I already had a brokerage account. It has been a comedy of errors)

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1631 posts

The main Post Offices do currency exchange but be aware that the rate quoted on their website is not the one you get when you use their counter service. I got caught by that one time. But, as a general rule, most places (eg Marks and Spencer department stores) are better than the mainstream UK Banks!

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

I don't think anyone can issue you a debit cart in two days. Our super friendly credit union takes at least four. Without having much experience in this field I think you only option is to carry cash, but I would try to have pounds and maybe some Finnish money before leaving home. That may even be hard to do in two days.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2891 posts

Do you not have an ATM card from another bank? How do you get cash today? Is there a brick and mortar bank in your area that will give you an ATM card if you open an account today? The last time I opened a new account in person (at Citibank), I left the bank with an ATM card in hand. Call a local bank and see if they can do this for you. Could Schwab (or someone else) FedEx the Schwab card to you in Europe?

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

You could call customer service for Capital One and request a 4-digit PIN for your credit card. The good news is that you could then withdraw cash from ATMs. The bad news is that each withdrawal will be treated as a cash advance and you will pay interest on them from day one.

Posted by John
Tampa, FL, USA
67 posts

I have (several) ATM cards but their networks do not work in the UK. I walked in and checked. I called my local Citibank and they said I would not have the actual card in hand in time. I called Schwab and they offered to FedEx to London but they said that it may get hung up at Heathrow and "the range of actual delivery" did not sync up with my itinerary. (Apparently it is a security thing) Also they said I may need to travel back TO Heathrow to physically pick it up. It seemed quite a hash. I did find out the UK Post Offices will exchange foreign currency and the rates seemed better than some banks, So that is something.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6831 posts

I have (several) ATM cards but their networks do not work in the UK. I walked in and checked. Don't trust the folks who work inside the branch about this; they typically don't have much travel experience. There's a good chance they will in fact work overseas as long as you inform the institution of your travel plans.
Which network symbols are on the back of the cards?

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2891 posts

Agree with Michael ... I'd pursue the PLUS card by calling the bank for that card. As far as the Schwab card goes, "getting hung up at Heathrow" makes zero sense to me. It will go in a document envelope. You can get an envelope overseas in 24 to 48 hours. It's value will be declared as zero. A debit card has no customs value, so it is not going to be held to collect duty. When I worked in Europe, we sent stuff back and forth between offices all the time and this stuff does not get "hung up at the airport". However, I wouldn't trust Schwab to deal with this. Do you have a friend who could collect your mail and then FedEx the card to your hotel? As long as they know your itinerary, they should be able to do this.

Posted by John
Tampa, FL, USA
67 posts

Thanks. I will look into the Plus though the CU claimed it will not work outside of U.S. maybe their restriction? In any case I will check again. Yes Schwab seemed confused; stuff goes back and forth all the time?

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

Interlink CU 24 Co-op Plus Hi John, Plus definitely works in the UK & Ireland, as I've used it several times. Jim
(Switzerland)

Posted by John
Tampa, FL, USA
67 posts

THANKS! I called my CU again and got someone who was just there and said the card mostly worked overthere. Took a while to find a specialist who knew a guy...

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

I assume that your Plus network ATM card will work in Europe. However, be sure to tell customer service when you will be in Europe so a computer doesn't block the card for unusual and therefore suspected fraudulent use. Do the same with Capital One for your credit card.

Posted by j.c.
Cary, NC, United States
842 posts

Traveler's Checks are still negotiable. It's just that a lot of people don't know what they are and/or don't won't to mess with them. You could, I believe, cash traveler's checks in a local bank.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
644 posts

I'd quickly check into the traveler's checks mentioned by J.C. Also, in Florida, you may want to go to Wells Fargo Bank/Wachovia, and talk with someone about setting up an "instant" debit card. I just talked to a representative at 1-800-869-3557. Wachovia is now Wells Fargo. I was told that I could see a bank representative (not a teller), deposit cash, and be issued a debit card as I sat there. It is a Temporary Card, good for 90 days. Your actual card will come in the mail in 7 days, but that doesn't matter, because they assured me the Temporary Card can be used in Europe, no problem. You must, after you get your Temporary Card, "File A Travel Plan". You can do this sitting there with their rep, tell them how many days you will be gone, what countries you will be using the card in. This can also be done online at wellsfargo.com before you leave town. You can access your account on that website to add countries if your plan changes while you are overseas. I would put $1500 to $2500 on the debit card. Then maybe go by Regions Bank and get a second instant debit card, put same amount on it. That way, if one of your debit cards is compromised in some way, you still have the other.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
646 posts

However you solve this debit card problem, and in addition to making sure they know you will be in Europe, make sure that you know if there are any limits on how much money you can get at the ATM per day. I have ATM/Debit/Check cards from 2 different CUs. One has a $400 per day withdrawal limit and absolutely would not raise it for European travel. The other has a $1500 per day limit and will raise it.

Posted by John
Tampa, FL, USA
67 posts

THANKS EVERYBODY> The Internet is great. Schwab ATM Card just arrived and I wired money into account. Thanks to this group I know my other ATM Card will probably work and I made all the appropriate travel alerts for all my plastic. And I have a couple back ups. So I have a Plan A, B, and C. So everything looks good. Leave tomorrow (the 17th). Happy happy. Thanks again.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7675 posts

Also be aware that the ATM itself will have a limit on withdrawals that might be lower than your bank's. In that case, just make your withdrawal, then move to another ATM and make another withdrawal.