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Old 23 Mar 2007
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Question ATM fee's in North and South America

Does anyone know of a North or South American bank that has minimal or no International ATM withdrawl fee's?
Like Nationwide in the UK.

We will be travelling in Central and South America this year.

Our Canadian Bank served us well in the past with $2 International fee's, but now want $5 per transaction.

With many local ATM's charging a user fee, this now works out to about $7.50 per transaction...

Let's see... About 20 countries with two transactions per country at $7.50 each = $300...OUCH
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Old 24 Mar 2007
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Washington Mutual (WaMu) was about the only bank in the US that didn't charge ATM fees, but they discontinued that practice a couple years ago. Afraid you are probably out of luck in the US regarding free ATM access fees. I use an internet bank in the US that doesn't have its own ATM system - they reimburse me for up to $6.00 in ATM fees each month and as a consequence between that and using WaMu I haven't paid ANY bank service fees in years (when in the US). Canada has its own banks, weren't to unreasonable for the couple weeks I used Canuck ATM's.

I travelled through Cent. Am. in 4th quarter '06 - and am presently in Ecuador after having been in Colombia. Can't speak for the rest of SA.

As to Central and South America, there isn't a 'south american bank' - there's about 18 countries and I don't recall seeing any international banks serving them. Maybe there's a few International banks with branches in major cities in some countries, but I never investigated that - never saw them where I travelled. I just used each countries local bank. For the most part, I only paid currency conversion charges using my Visa debit card - generally in the neighborhood of 50 cents (USD) per $100. I occasionally paid an ATM charge - generally $1.50 USD, but it was rare - and I didn't shop around, just used the first ATM I found that was on the Plus system. (some places, there ain't any shopping around to do - there's an ATM, you use it).

Just guessing, I don't believe I have paid more than $10 USD per month for ATM fees and/or currency conversion charges since hitting Mexico in September - usually less than that I'm guessing (my charges are low - don't add them up at the end of the month). Maybe it has something to do with US bank issued Visa cards - could also be because El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador recognize USD as official currency so I didn't have to pay currency conversion fees. Also, I take out $200 to $400 at a crack to minimize ATM fees.

Maybe the thing to do to hold down fees is to try to set up a Checking Account with a U.S. bank, get a Debit card attached to it and use that in N & S America - keep pumping money into the account from your main bank.
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Old 24 Mar 2007
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atm fees in Mexico and C:A:

For folks from Canada travelling through Mex &CA there will always be a fee , rare is the home bank which does not charge such, and the USA ATMs can add an extra charge . I deal with BMO ,Scotiabank and TD cards and they all charge $3CDN for each transaction, no matter which ATM I pick. Just withdraw the max ammount and then it is not a big percentage
Scotiabank is all over Mexico and CA ,if that makes you comfortable, but any machine with the CIRRUS,MAESTRO, PLUS logo will work. Some of the smaller US banksĀ“ machines will only work for their own account holders.
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