Avoid Euronet ATMs - they use a dirty trick to cheat tourists

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/28/avoid-euronet-atms-they-use.html

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I like Charles Schwab since it refunds ATM fees (even in Europe)

https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/banking_lending/checking_account

I’d stick to ATMs at banks just to be safe, they tend not to pull any exchange shenanigans. You can also break bills if needed.

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Keep in mind your bank is not going to let go of all their fees either. Even if you choose to pay in local currency your bank may charge foreign transaction fees. Look for cards that don’t.

But follow that advice to always let the card do the converting for you by paying in the local currency. If you pay in local currency the exchange rates are set across the board for all major credit card networks. So the card provider and your bank won’t ever give you a bad rate. If you choose dollars the point of sale gets to set the rate for you. That’s when you get a terrible conversion rate.

If you need cash, try and budget it and get it before you head over form your local bank or even an online exchange. Any money changer will try to cheat you with rates and/or fees. It’s how they survive.

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When you’re travelling, it’s really difficult to get the best deal on foreign currency.

Spending in the local currency on a specialist travel credit card is usually the best way to go (Like the video says, always opt to pay in the local currency if you have a card that gives you decent foreign rates)

Here’s a full guide for UK based travellers:

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It happens everywhere, just in more subtle ways. New Jersey just raised the tax 20% on vacation rentals. No one in the New Jersey legislature votes against it because locals won’t have to pay it.
The only people who care are a handful of resort owners and a bunch of people from out of state who can’t vote out the New Jersey legislature.

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They tack on a fee for locals as well and I avoid them at all costs. I’ll rather walk for ten minutes to the next regular ATM than use these scam machines.

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I was lucky when traveling in Japan because i was staying at a military housing and they had a Bank of America ATM with no fees. But i will certainly try to keep a close eye on these kinds of shenanigans whenever i travel abroad next time.

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Check on your bank’s website if they have deals or conventions with any local banks in the country you’re travelling to.

I know mine has about 15 different countries all around the world where you can withdraw free of charge in specific ATMs.

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You can also break bills if needed.

Maybe. Last week, an ATM at a Santander bank in Puerto Vallarta spat out a single large bill. I went inside to break it and was directed to a queue of over a dozen people, all seated in chairs. Rather than cool my heels for half an hour, I broke it back at my hotel.

I don’t find it difficult at all. Make sure you have at least one credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, and make sure you have at least one ATM card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction or ATM usage fees. And always make sure you are charged in local currency. If a vendor offers to charge you in your home currency, refuse. If an ATM tries to do the conversion for you, cancel the transaction and pick a different company’s ATM.

In the US, most travel oriented credit cards with annual fees (like the airline mileage earning cards, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve/Preferred cards) do not charge foreign transaction fees. And pretty much all CapitalOne credit cards (even the ones without annual fees) have no foreign transaction fee. If your main credit card charges foreign transaction fees (or you’re generally adverse to using credit cards), open up a no-annual-fee-free CapOne card account and keep in your drawer to pull out only for your occasional trip overseas.

And as @acrostic noted above, the US Schwab Bank ATM card is fantastic for travel, as they don’t charge ANY fees as long as you don’t overdraw the account, and they even rebate fees charged by the ATM’s owner. I’ve had one of those accounts for many years. I usually only keep a few hundred bucks in it as a backup for those times when I want some cash and the nearest ATM has a fee.

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