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Beware of DCC at Reisebank

I just returned from a trip to Germany where I used ATMs 10 times. The first eight times were at Deutsche Bank at FRA, in a local bank in St. Goar, VR Bank in the Allgäu, Bayerische Bank and Deutsche Bank on Bodensee, Sparkasse in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Raiffeisen Bank in the Spessart. I never encountered anyone trying to get me to use Dynamic Currency Conversion.

But I did at Reisebank in Würzburg. And beware, they do it very subtly. A screen comes up with what just looks like they are summarizing the transaction. It's not like they explicitly offering you the convenience of handling the transaction in dollars, at 3%. And it's not immediately obvious that you have the option to reject it. The "Nein" button, at the bottom right, is smaller, and in a less contrasting color than the rest of the screen. If you press the softkey opposite "Nein", they will proceed with the transaction with no additional fee.

Posted by
1134 posts

Lee , were you intentionally trying out different bank companies, or did it just work out convenience-wise that you used so many ATM providers? When I find a bank that I'm happy with, I tend to keep an eye out for their ATMs as my trip continues and use them again.

Thanks for this specific alert about Reisebank; it has general applicability in the good advice to take a moment to read the whole screen rather than just hunt for the next button that needs pressing.

Posted by
15573 posts

Reisebank, as its name implies, is a foreign currency, travelers checks, pre-paid bankcard operator. Think Travelex. Its in the business of taking fees on transactions.

Posted by
17642 posts

Mostly, I just used the ATM at the place I was. In the case of Würzburg, I didn't see any other ATM.

Posted by
293 posts

Wow, it pays to read the screen, and know a little bit of German, too.

Posted by
4654 posts

You're lucky than I was last time I was in Berlin. The Reisebank machines at Friedrichstrasse station actually spat my card out when I rejected DCC.

Posted by
4467 posts

Reisebank is a fully owed subsidiary of DZ Bank, so you may want to watch out for those as well.

Posted by
440 posts

I learnt this one a few years ago also withdraw in local currency and if you cant find a no button cancel transaction and look elsewhere.

Posted by
663 posts

Generally, it seems advisable to use ATMs of reputable big banks, and the Reisebank isn't really much of that but only has a bunch of airport or train station ATMs. There is this old piece of advice that you shouldn't use the first airport ATM that comes along, and that certainly is true here. Check your GPS for the next ATM by a reputable bank. Many GPS devices include ATMs on their maps.

Reisebank is a fully owed subsidiary of DZ Bank, so you may want to
watch out for those as well.

I am not really sure how all this subsidiary stuff works, but I don't think you need to be concerned about that one. For one thing, I can't remember ever having seen an ATM by that bank, so they're at least not very common. For another, they seem to be just part of the regular cooperative banking system. And the main ones of that system - Volksbank/ Raiffeisenbank - are perfectly fine and respectable.

Posted by
8889 posts

Lee, did this screen display an amount in US$?
If they were going to charge you in US$ I would expect the machine to display the amount which you then agree to (however subtly phrased). For me, If I see an amount anything other than the actual amount of the withdrawal (or bill) in local currency, that rings alarm bells.

Posted by
4467 posts

DZ Bank is owned by about 900 cooperative banks and some other coops - it is kind of their central bank. Reisebank is owned by DZ.