Please sign in to post.

Debit Cards in Spain

We will be traveling in Spain this Fall and plan to use our Visa Debit Card to withdraw money from ATM machines. I was recently told by a friend that Spain doesn't allow use of ATM cards in Spain. Is this correct?

Posted by
31435 posts

Pamela, Your friend is not giving you correct information. I was in Spain in June, and had no trouble whatsoever withdrawing cash from ATM's using my credit union debit/ATM card (it's not a Visa card). I always travel with more than one card, and rarely have problems with any of them. Note that for travelling in Europe, funds must usually be in a chequing account with a four number PIN. It's a really good idea to have a "backup" card in case of any problems with the primary card (I've had that happen). Happy travels!

Posted by
11450 posts

Pamela... be careful what advice you get from friend,, she may be poorly informed. I used my Canadian ATM Debit card( which takes money from my chequing account, not Visa) in Spain last summer, not only in large city like Barcelona, but also in small town ( no Starbucks, or McDonalds small, lol ) and had no problem. I only used it in ATM bank machines. I used my Visa credit card to pay for hotels and some restaurant meals too( I don't use it for small purchases).

Posted by
3662 posts

No. However you might compare the costs of a Visa debit to a regular bank card.
In Spain and probably everywhere else, the cheapest approach is to withdraw a large sum from an ATM and then use cash, just like the old days before electronic banking.

Posted by
2876 posts

Your friend is not correct. Any ATM/debit card with a Visa/Mastercard logo will work at ATM's in Spain. Just remember to let your bank know about your trip, so your card doesn't get "blocked" when they see a foreign transaction.

Posted by
2788 posts

What experience does your friend have using debit cards in Spain? I know from reading Ken's post that he has recent experience there.

Posted by
9363 posts

I was in Spain last month. I used my Visa debit card (my regular credit union debit card) to get cash both in Madrid and Barcelona. Just make sure your bank knows when you will be traveling so they don't block your card. Perhaps your friend's bank doesn't allow their cards to be used in Spain (which has been reported here in some cases) but Spain does allow the use of debit cards.

Posted by
1178 posts

I have been traveling in Spain almost three weeks...leave on Wednesday, back to the states. Have used my Visa debit card with no problem, except the first time when I did not punch "from my current account" on the screen. After that, no problem at the Atm or at the cash register. If you use it at a cash register, ask for the charge to be in euros, not dollars. You should get a better exchange rate. And be SURE to notify your bank in advance of your travel. Have fun!! Spain is a great country to visit and the people will welcome you everywhere.

Posted by
4529 posts

Perhaps your friend's bank doesn't allow their cards to be used in Spain (which has been reported here in some cases) but Spain does allow the use of debit cards. What Nancy said. Occasionally a small bank or C/U will block their card use in some countries. It is rare but does happen sometimes. It has nothing to do with Spanish law. When you notify your bank of your travel plans (which you must always do), they will - hopefully - tell you of any restrictions.

Posted by
650 posts

Pamela, I just came back from Alicante, Spain 2 weeks ago. I used my debit card several times. The only problem I had was when I first tried to use it, it would not allow me and did not give me a reason. I tried at a different ATM and I found out I was trying to withdraw too much. Once I found the daily limit I was fine and never had any trouble withdrawing Euro. I also brought 500 euro from the US that I could start with. You should not have any problems.

Posted by
263 posts

Same message as others...was in Barcelona and had no problem getting money from an ATM machine. I was thrown when the message "you will be charged 3 Euro for this transaction" appeared. Don't know if that is standard. Usually I don't see any fees until I get home.

Posted by
8 posts

I was able to use my VISA debit card no problem. Definitely be sure to call your bank and inform them you plan on using your debit card outside of the country. Also, compare international transaction fees with your credit card. I used my cc most of the time because the transaction fees were lower.