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Old 05-22-2009, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
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Do you guys have any concerns using your ATM cards for cash outside of the US, especially in 2nd and 3rd world countries? Has anyone's bank account been compromised by using an ATM card AND taking the necessary precautions (hiding keypad entry, using ATMs in trusted locations - banks during business hours or inside airports etc.)
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:07 PM
 
Location: rain city
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
Do you guys have any concerns using your ATM cards for cash outside of the US, especially in 2nd and 3rd world countries?

Yes! Very concerned. I am very very cautious when using my ATM card in 2nd and 3rd world countries. In such places I will use ATM's only in banks or major hotels. Period.

Credit cards are problematic too. In many countries you will find that on the multiple of credit card receipts, the entire credit card number and the card date of expiration is printed on all the receipts. This is bad. I try to avoid using my credit card in countries where this occurs. I have had it happen in western Europe as well as less modern countries.

When traveling here's what I do: I notify my bank that I'll be using the ATM card abroad and request a higher daily limit than is normally issued. They always agree. Then when I arrive in a country I ATM a goodly amount of cash to pay for purchases, reserving my credit card only to pay for hotels. If I'm staying in dodgy digs, I pay for that in cash too.

You should notify your credit card company that you will be traveling overseas. Charges in *certain* countries will often trigger security alerts on American credit cards and Visa/Mastercharge will suspend the card. This is particularly common when the card is used in former Soviet Bloc countries where credit card fraud is widespread.

As a backup to credit and debit cards, you might consider packing along a Travelers Cheque or two. However in some 2nd, and many 3rd world countries, they are all but impossible to cash.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:17 PM
 
Location: rain city
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You should also be sure to spend all your currency before you leave a country. If you leave country A with their currency and then try to change it into country B's currency you will incur ugly currency exchange fees. I hate that.

Also coinage cannot be exchanged anywhere. If you leave country A with a pocketfull of coins--they're yours to keep. And that really adds up, lots of counties issue coins with a value of up to $5. Too many of those, and the next thing you know you've got fifty bucks worth of change in the bottom of your suitcase you can't get rid of.

Only a relative few European countries are actually on the Euro. The newer EU countries still deal in their own currency the value of which is pegged to the Euro. So if you leave Prague with a bunch of kroner you can't spend them in Berlin.

Currency is just a big PITA.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
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Don't use a ATM or Debit card period. No protections from CC companies. Dedicate an empty Visa/MC for the trip. And beware of two new fees on CC's. First will be the 3% hit for converting currency to American dollars and second will be another 3% hit for payment in American dollars to a foreign bank. I found my notifications of these hidden in the jargon on the back of the Balance Transfer checks we all get in the mail.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:29 PM
 
Location: rain city
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Originally Posted by NeilVA View Post
Don't use a ATM or Debit card period. No protections from CC companies. Dedicate an empty Visa/MC for the trip.
So.....is our poster supposed to leave on a round-the-world trip with a suitcase full of cash? It's nearly impossible to travel internationally without ATM and credit cards.

And you might be interested to know that even if the OP did decide to travel with cash stuffed luggage, it's illegal in many countries to import more than a usual amount of cash, or to leave the country with such cash either.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
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Dedicate an empty Visa/MC for the trip = Bring a credit card.
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:02 AM
 
Location: on an island
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilVA View Post
Dedicate an empty Visa/MC for the trip = Bring a credit card.
heh
We brought a credit card, and it didn't work. (Husband had activated it before we left, but it didn't work once we got to France.)
So we ended up using our debit card, and yes, we were careful with receipts, but never saw the entire number printed. And at restaurants where we used the card, they came to the table with their little machine. I guess traveling through France is not exactly like taking a journey through a developing country.
We did use cash for the dodgier digs, as Azoria does. Sometimes, that was all they took, anyway.
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I've used a credit card all over and never worried. using a credit card gives you a lot of protection.

I will only use the ATM card in an ATM, and am VERY careful about which one. In the Caribbean I look for a US or Canadian bank. In Europe I look for one of the larger European banks. I never go to random ATM's in little shops, etc.

I try to travel with some cash and travelers checks so I can avoid using the credit card in iffy situations.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:00 PM
 
12,299 posts, read 18,421,290 times
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ATM card is the prefered method for getting cash overseas as you usually get better exchange rates. You usually find them inside very secure banks (picture guards armed with automatic weapons) so security isn't an issue. Credit cards are preferable as well. So this is my preference - credit cards, cary no more than $100 US cash equivalent, ATM when that runs out.
You may have a problem with some PIN numbers, I think you need the 4 digit pins to work overseas. I never had a problem, but it could be a bad day if a machine eats your card.

Security as I said is a non-issue. You're real problem, if you are truly going to third world countries (I'm not talking about the Bangkok Hilton, I'm talking Swaziland, Ethiopia, Afhiganistan...) is finding ATM machines and/or finding places that accept credit cards.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:14 PM
 
Location: AmCit in Philippines
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Here in the Philippines they've had ATM problems involving stickover card readers (that scans the card as it goes into the slot) and keylogger key pad overlays. In both situations, the devices are fit on top of the regular ATM card slots and keyboards. THe advice is to use trusted ATMs and to know the machine you use. You can't do that if travelling. Best bet would be to use an ATM inside a bank to avoid tampering.

For what it's worth, I use ATMs in the Philippines and Georgia (Republic) with never a problem.
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