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November 14, 2017 Travel
5 minutes, 50 seconds Read

The Ugly TRUTH About Using ATMs Abroad To Withdraw Cash


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What you need to know about using ATMs Abroad to withdraw cash is all in this post.

There is no second opinion on the best and most convenient way to get cash when abroad. Just take our your Debit/credit or Forex Card and withdraw cash from an ATM nearby. It is so convenient that all you’ve to do is walk into an ATM, slip your card into the card slot, put in your PIN and walk out with the cash. So easy but that’s all that it is. As soon as you get your card statement you realize the mistake. There is a charge for every cash withdrawal. You may wonder why all these charges? Whenever you use an ATM of a different bank—home or abroad— you will be charged. There are some ATMs that won’t charge you for a withdrawal. But you need to know where and which. The only advantage of exchanging money with your ATM card is that all cash withdrawals, regardless of size, are exchanged based on the wholesale exchange rate, which is usually reserved only for very large inter-bank exchanges.

Charges on Using ATMs Abroad

When you withdraw cash using ATMs abroad, you get a better rate than you would get if exchanging from a local exchange counter. If you decide to exchange your money from local banks or money change bureaus, they will add on transaction fees. These transactions fees are always in the range of 2-6% of the total transaction amount. So it is better to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad but you need to know the charges that you will accrue.

There are 3 charges when using ATMs abroad:

1: Foreign Currency Conversion Fee

2: Foreign Transaction Charge

3: Cash Advance/Withdrawal Fee


International Transaction Charges on Debit/Credit Card

So even if you do get the good exchange rates, these charges will equal it out, even make it worse. So, it is highly advisable to buy Forex before your travel in your home country. You have enough time to compare rates of different banks and money exchangers. Along with the best rates, you get best customer service support throughout your trip in case things don’t go as planned. 

Finding International ATMs

First of all, it is highly advisable that you should not use your debit or credit card overseas because of the charges associated with it. The best way to carry money overseas is in a prepaid travel card and a little in cash. It saves you from all the associated charges. So before you head to the airport for your international journey, make sure you know where your Forex Card, or Debit/Credit card works. Almost all Debit, Credit, and Forex cards are on the MasterCard and Visa payment platform. The PLUS network’s association is with Visa, so your Visa card will usually work at those ATMs. Similarly, cards on the Cirrus and Maestro networks will work in all places that accept MasterCard cards as they are on MasterCard’s network. The majority of ATMs accept cards from any of these major networks.

Download an App Locator for Using ATMs Abroad

You should also download an app locator so it is readily available to you if you need to use an ATM. While MasterCard and Visa networks are available all across the globe, there may be a possibility that there will be a limited number of ATMs that accept your network’s card. Each network has more than a million ATMs.

Both the Visa and MasterCard networks have an online locator to help you find all of their international ATMs:

MasterCard/Cirrus/Maestro ATM Locator

Visa/PLUS ATM Locator

The back of your ATM card often shows the logos of the networks your card is linked to. So your card has to be part of either Cirrus or PLUS for it to work. If they are not, you may find it difficult to find ATMs to use abroad. You should contact your bank for assistance if your card is on any other network apart from Visa and MasterCard.

Using Your Card Abroad

If you’re traveling in Europe and you want to use your ATM card, you need to know that some ATMs do not accept PINs longer than 4 digits. Get in touch with your bank and change your PIN. Some ATM cards have PINs in letters rather than numbers, ask your bank to translate the PIN to numbers before you leave your home country. Most ATMs have just the numbers on the keypad. You also need to keep one more thing to keep in mind. Some ATMs abroad will only let you access the primary account on your ATM card. So if you have funds in your secondary account, transfer it to your primary account.

Using Debit Card in India vs Using it Overseas

As most cards are meant to work inside your home country. Using them overseas may trigger a fraud alert and your bank will freeze your account. Inform your bank beforehand. If you forget, there is a number at the back of your card, call that number to unblock your account. And the most important thing, make sure you keep the emergency contact number found on the back of your card written in a separate place from your card. Just in case you lose your card, you have the contact details to ask for a new one or an emergency cash.

It’s important to have a backup plan in case you lose your card, or somebody steals it or worse, eaten by an ATM machine. This could be in the form of a second ATM card (either your own or a travel companion’s), cash, credit cards or traveler’s checks.

Fees/Charges for Using ATMs Abroad

Most ATMs will charge you the same transaction fees when you use other banks ATM. However, some banks or stores charge a higher fee for international ATM withdrawals( between 1-6 USD) or a set percentage( between 1-3-5%). You should confirm these fees and charges with your bank before you leave as these fees change often and without warning. And to make it worse, the owner of the foreign ATM may charge you separately. Find an ATM that will not charge any withdrawal fees. 


Forex Card Vs Cash Vs Debit Card-The Best Way to Carry Money Overseas

The USPs of a Forex Card purchased from BookMyForex:

—You carry forex at fixed rates – no need to worry about exchange rate fluctuation or from heavy charges of 3-6% levied by the banks.
—Zero Issuance or reload charge.
—Safe and convenient to use.
—You can reload your card at any time and from anywhere.
—Cash assistance in case of the loss/theft of the card.
—Add on card facility available which makes it absolutely safe. You can block the lost card and transfer the balance to the new card.
—You get foreign currency cash at a discount when bought with Forex Cards.



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