You’re traveling in another country and you run out of cash all of a sudden. You found an atm machine to withdraw cash and you’re find and dandy. Your local banks are all smiling at you because they just made a quick buck. To some people, the charges might not be a lot considering that you’re paying for convenience. But if you look at the big picture, if there are 100,000 of the travelers that are doing the same thing, guess how much your local bank just made from all of those travelers!
When travelers run out of cash, they are in a no-win situation of using either an atm card or a credit card for purchases. When using an atm, the fees are really troublesome because the debit card has been a near irreplaceable standard for travelers. The second option of using your mastercard or visa is also costly because most US issued cards are now charging 3% for purchases made outside United States.
Below are the list of what the Los Angeles Area Banks are charging:
Bank of America charges $5.00 plus 1% of the withdrawal
City National Bank charges $1.50 plus 3%
Washington Mutual charges 1% with no flat fees.
Wells Fargo charges a flat fee of $5
Here’s how you can minimize the damage of the atm fee shock when you’re traveling in another country:
1.) Check with your bank before traveling to find out exactly what fees are charged. You’ll probably have to phone bank websites seldom list the fees.
2.) If you do a lot of traveling, you might want to shop around to get an account with a bank that offers a better deal. The fees vary greatly from bank to bank.
3.) Ask your bank whether it has a relationship with banks in the countries you will be visiting. For example, Bank of America debit card holders can use the ATMs at Barclays Bank in Britain without paying fees.
4.) If your bank imposes a flat fee for each ATM visit, limit usage by always withdrawing as much cash as you feel comfortable carrying around with you. Source: Los Angeles Times Research.