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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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ATM's in South America

I'm planning on riding from USA to South America. Are ATM's readily available? This will be the start of an ATW trip so any information ATM's in Africa would be great also. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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There are ATM's in all major cities in South America, including Colombia, which is much more modern than people imagine. Don't take American express though, as it's mainly Master Card and Visa.

if you can use the bank machine inside during banking ours, as scammers sometimes put up the false fronts.

If you can take two cards, one visa and another master card, as it gives you both options. Keep then separate and if you lose one you have a back up. I hid one taped up in the casing of the fear light away from anything too hot.

Iain.
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  #3  
Old 26 Sep 2008
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Make sure you always have $300 US hidden away as emergency money while you are riding.

In Venezuela you will have problems withdrawing money so if you go there make sure to take a lot of cash with you.

In towns and small cities many times there will be problems using the atm. Be prepared to try 5 or 6 of them before getting one that works.

El Salvador, Panama, and Ecuador all use the U.S. dollar.

Keep old credit cards in your dumby wallet so the thieves will take those.
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  #4  
Old 26 Sep 2008
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Visa is the most commonly accepted, but have a mastercard as backup.
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  #5  
Old 27 Sep 2008
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You will need a 4 didgit PIN number for South America and I believe this also applies in Central America. The ATMs will not accept 5 digit or larger PIN numbers.

Also, I understand that some areas of Brasil only accept foriegn ATM cards during certain times of the year (tourist season)
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  #6  
Old 27 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rigby View Post
...so any information ATM's in Africa would be great also.

In southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana) - no problems with ATM's. In Lesotho - no ATM's.

I'll tell you about the rest - Mozambique to Egypt - when/if I get there. (I have been told you have to carry mucho USD's or Euro's, so I suspect finding handy ATM's will be a problem)
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  #7  
Old 20 Dec 2008
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Use the one in shopping malls

I am from Ecuador South America , and I belief is always better to used the ones on shopping malls , be awared that small towns can be troble to take money , and remember that , when you withraw money the bank from Southamerica will charge you a fee , and your bank on the USA will charge another one.
When are you living , let me know my brother live in quito he when to school here in th US good luck..
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  #8  
Old 20 Dec 2008
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ATM's are plentiful in East Africa

In Kenya now.

ATM's were available in all the larger cities/towns in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya. I use Visa system cards, which work at the majority of the ATMs (some ATM's are only for 'in-country' banking services it seems).

I generally take out a couple hundred at a time, enough for a week's worth of gas money/living expenses - so I never have a problem making it to the next ATM before I run low.

Of course, you have to hit an ATM before running out of cash, because you regularly encounter the situation where the power is out, or the ATM is out of cash, or the bank/atm network is down....after all, "this is Africa".

I never had a problem in Central/ South America - ATM's were more plentiful there than here in Africa. I always hit an ATM in the new country at the first largish town, and never had a problem finding one that worked with my card. Outages were less frequent in the Americas then here in Africa.

I've only had to use my cash stash (USD) for visas - all at the borders except for the other day when I got one for Ethiopian here in Nairobi at their consulate ($70 for Americans - not available at the border crossing into Ethiopia).
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  #9  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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In Argentina & Chili many banks, but not all, will take your debit card if it has the "Plus" logo on the back. There's something like a 5$ fee per transaction and you can take out a maximum of 300 local currency
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  #10  
Old 27 Mar 2009
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You can have nightmares in Venezuela.....

Take enough cash to last you.......
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  #11  
Old 29 Mar 2009
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I just returned from 6 months through South America and almost never had trouble finding an ATM machine. However, finding the RIGHT ATM was sometimes a problem. Some are on the PLUS system, some on the CIRRUS system, some on both. It was very frustrating trying multiple times to use my ATM card, only to finally realize that the machine only used the other system.
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  #12  
Old 4 Apr 2009
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atm locator

This visa site has an atm locator tool, it should be able to tell you how many atms are in which ever city you put in

ATM Locator | Visa ATMs | Find Bank Cash Machines
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  #13  
Old 4 Apr 2009
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You can also check to see if your bank is part of the Global ATM Alliance. If your bank is a member you will be able to with draw money from other alliance member ATM at no extra handling cost. Could save you quite a bit of money in the long run (2% extra per transaction).

Ask your bank or do an internet search for Global ATM Alliance.

Ollie

Greasy Sprocket
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  #14  
Old 17 Apr 2009
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I have had almost no problem finding ATM. The BIG concern should be finding a "safe" ATM. Many people have been robbed while using the ATM, try to use it during day time, inside a supermarket or shopping mall, inside a bank during office hours is not as safe as one may think, at least in Mexico.
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  #15  
Old 19 Apr 2009
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Also good to know that the ATM are out of money half the time, especially in smaller cities
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