I'm flying into Schiphol - Amsterdam this coming May 2013 and want to know if it's cheaper to get EUROs at that airport using my Bank of America Visa Debit Card instead of getting the euros from the bank before I leave? I'm also flying into Geneva, Switzerland and want to know if I should just get the Swiss francs at that airport for 3 days of travel in that location? If someone has used their Bank of America Visa Debit card overseas and can give me some advise that would help me decide. Thanks. Nellianne
I believe BofA charges quite a bit for their clients to use ATMs abroad (if I am not mistaken, they charge a per-use charge as well as a currency conversion charge) but it is still cheaper to get your money that way. Just make as few withdrawals, to save on those per-use fees.
BofA does not charge if you use BNP or Deutsche Bank. Only the normal conversion charge, as they all do.
Used my Bank of America visa debit card all over Europe with no issues. I believe the daily limit is $500. I also let the bank know of my travel plans before leaving. Better to get money out when in Europe vs. getting before you go. Happy Travels!
It is cheaper to use the ATM, but many people feel more comfortable having about $200 worth of local currency before they leave. It saves having to find an ATM or the lie-awake-nightmare scenario of every ATM machine in a city being down for maintenance during your trip ;-) I'd get the Swiss francs on your arrival there. If you have any cash leftover when you leave, you can use it to pay part of your hotel bill and put the rest on your credit card (if paying by CC).
At the Amsterdam airport there are several good locations of the local bank-ABN AMRO-where I always exchange money. And, if you don't want to deal with a person their ATMs are usually right next to the cashiers window. I've used both a Visa debit card and a credit union card to get Euros there.
I would get euros and swiss francs at an ATM at the airports. Less expensive that way. BofA has a relationship with BNP/Parisbas banks and with Deutsche Bank so getting cash from their ATMs is the least expensive way of all. I've used my BofA Visa Debit card all over Europe for 12 yrs and 6 trips w/no problems ever. The amount of money you can take out is determined by BofA (Individual ATMs also have their own limit), ask BofA what your limit is and ask them to raise it if you want it to be higher. As someone else said, you have to call BofA within 24 hrs before leaving the US and tell them what countries you'll be traveling to. If you don't, they'll block your card. Be sure to take a phone # with you for BofA in case you have any problems.
I'm no fan of BofA, but they don't charge more than other Too Big To Fail banks do for overseas ATMs. And they warn you that the no-fee deal with BNP Paribas is only IN France, and with Deutsche Bank is only IN Germany. That has been my experience. I can set my daily limit (Note: In Dollars not in Euros) in a deep-dive screen on an American BofA ATM machine. However, an American doctor I met in Peru (I only tell this story because it's a great Rick Steves story, I don't personally feel this way, and I'm not joking about serious political problems ...) said he'd read that the Shining Path guerrillas take you to the ATM every day until your account was empty, then they release you. So he told his Personal Banker (ahem) that if he took out money two days in a row, his account should be frozen.
Just about every ATM will take your debit card. I would say all ATMs but there could be an odd one somewhere that doesn't. But that is the great convenience of the debit card. Using a debit card at an ATM is always the most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency.
BofA never told me it was only in France or in Germany. I'll ask next trip.
Susan, FWIW, on the home page of B of A, search for "Global Alliance". That's where I read the restriction on what is otherwise a terrific deal. I can't link directly to the FAQ. Here's the related part: "Some members may have locations in countries other than the country listed in the coverage area. Only ATMs in the country listed are considered part of the Alliance."
Thanks Tim, very helpful, appreciate it!
Be sure that ANY ATM you use is affiliated with a bank and not with something like Travelex or some other private business. If it is the exchange rate will be much worse and their could also be a added usage fee.
I've been a BofA customer much longer than most but I use my BofA debit/Visa card sparingly when I travel outside of the U.S. It's a pretty expensive card. As mentioned above, BofA does have a Global Alliance with several banks where you can use each other's ATMs with no fees. We have done that. Barclays in England, Deutchsbank in Germany, BNP Paribas in France and there's now one in Italy. You can google BofA Global Alliance to see all of the banks in the alliance. We use our Charles Schwab debit/Visa when travelling. No fees.