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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #1  
Old 11 May 2023
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Bank/ing and credit cards.

Hello all,
Just wanted to know which banks and CC are you using when travelling around the globe. Sometimes it is not easy to make/receive a bank transfer in a given point of mother earth timely or at least fast enough. Example: when buying a vehicle abroad or there is a need to transfer money at a reasonable cost. The same is applicable to credit cards, sometimes if you use your card to withdraw money the charges are simply hard to assume to be polite.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 11 May 2023
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Not sure where u are in the world but examples would be Revolut debit card.......apparently used by alot of euro campers . Chase is a similar proposition But its customer service gets a right slating .
In the UK Nationwide do a Visa credit card which doesn't charge for foreign transaction fees .
Banking wise I use First Direct........excellent customer service via the phone or online.......never had an issue when travelling abroad .
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  #3  
Old 11 May 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peca View Post
...Just wanted to know which banks and CC are you using when travelling around the globe.
Just use your home bank debit card at ATMs. As long as your debit card is associated with a big network such as Cirrus or Maestro, it will work in ATMs all over the world.

FYI, before I retired I used to deliver new aircraft to all sorts of out of the way, lesser developed countries. I would often visit up to 60 different countries in a year, none of them what you would call "first world". I never once had a problem withdrawing cash from my home bank account using my home bank debit card.

Just talk to your home bank before you leave, let them know where you are going, and what kind of daily withdrawal limit you need.
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  #4  
Old 11 May 2023
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WU

In South America I prefer Western Union.
Transfer money using WU.
Pick up cash and use cash.

Easy and low fees.
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  #5  
Old 11 May 2023
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Wise. One card with zero or small ATM fees, gives you a European, UK, USA/ACH and Australian bank account numbers for direct transfers, very good exchange rates.

One thing to keep in mind: the bank is a business. It provides a service *and expects to make money off you*, especially a payment system that isn't making money by giving you a mortgage to subsidize your checking account. Don't expect a completely free lunch, and you will be happy.
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  #6  
Old 15 May 2023
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Using your home country cards will rack up sizeable fees quite quickly.

Lots of people use Revolution, but it has a low monthly cash withdrawal amount after that fees kick in. I’ve been using Starling which has unlimited cash withdrawals.
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  #7  
Old 15 May 2023
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In Australia some of our banks have a feature where you can get a travel card and load it with whatever currency you need.
One card does the lot.
I use Commbank.


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  #8  
Old 19 May 2023
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With Wise you can hold funds in more than 40 currencies. When you move from, say pounds to euros, Wise nets off its total daily movements in one direction against the movements in the opposite direction, and only physically converts the balance. So the conversion rate is far better than a normal rate.

And once the funds are in a different currency you spend from that 'jar' without conversion costs at all.

I've been using Wise (formerly TransferWise) for about six years now. Use this link for a fee-free transfer of up to £500, https://wise.com/invite/u/timc84
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  #9  
Old 19 May 2023
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
With Wise you can hold funds in more than 40 currencies... So the conversion rate is far better than a normal rate.

And once the funds are in a different currency you spend from that 'jar' without conversion costs at all.
Is it the conversion rate savings that makes Wise so popular? I've had a few people try to convince me of how useful Wise is. "You can put your money into a bunch of different currencies!" Well.. I can use my credit cards in just about any country regardless of currency.

That is to say... I haven't seen the advantage of keeping your money in multiple currencies. I take my bank card to the ATM and withdraw local cash. I pay for things with a credit card when possible.

I've periodically checked the exchange rate I'm getting with my credit cards, and it's close enough to the official rate that I'm not worried about percentage or two. Is the exchange rate with Wise enough to make the switch?
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  #10  
Old 20 May 2023
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Jamie,

I use Wise Visa debit card as my primary card when travelling out of country on bike tours.

Reason is that if I use credit cards the conversion rates were unfavourable. If I remember correctly the banks were about 3 to 4% higher.
Using Wise the rates are close to XE mid market rate. So over the long term the Wise Visa debit card helps.

I don't keep the money in multiple currencies though. I just have the funds in my currency (Malaysian Ringgit) and I use it to pay for bike rental in Vietnam and Thailand, hotels (Philippines), gas/petrol at bigger fuel stations in Thailand etc.

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  #11  
Old 20 May 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWarden View Post
Using your home country cards will rack up sizeable fees quite quickly.
I think that statement is too broad, too general, and it needs to be clarified.

Using a home country DEBIT card to make withdrawals from your bank account at ATMs while abroad is probably the least expensive way to obtain cash when away from home, especially if the funds you are withdrawing are not in the same currency as your home country currency. You will often be charged a nominal amount - typically about USD $2 or $3 - by the local ATM operator for the withdrawal transaction (regardless of amount withdrawn), but because the currency conversion is done by your home bank you will get the most advantageous currency conversion rate available. So the trick is to not make frequent small withdrawals, instead, make occasional large withdrawals.

Using a CREDIT card to obtain cash is never a good idea, not even in your home town, because your bank and/or credit card issuer will begin to charge you daily interest immediately on the withdrawal - it is treated as a cash advance on your credit line, not as a withdrawal from your bank account.

Using a credit card to make purchases in a currency other than your home country currency will probably result in a currency conversion surcharge of typically 2% on the value of the purchase. This might not be a concern on a small purchase such as a tank of gas, but it is something to consider when making larger purchases in the hundreds of dollars or hundreds of Euros, Pounds, etc.

Michael
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  #12  
Old 20 May 2023
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Originally Posted by 9w6vx View Post
Jamie,



I use Wise Visa debit card as my primary card when travelling out of country on bike tours.



Reason is that if I use credit cards the conversion rates were unfavourable. If I remember correctly the banks were about 3 to 4% higher.

Using Wise the rates are close to XE mid market rate. So over the long term the Wise Visa debit card helps.



I don't keep the money in multiple currencies though. I just have the funds in my currency (Malaysian Ringgit) and I use it to pay for bike rental in Vietnam and Thailand, hotels (Philippines), gas/petrol at bigger fuel stations in Thailand etc.



Same here, though no need to use an ATM unless you need to hold cash, pay with the Wise card and as well as excellent exchange rate & no additional fees (at least on UK based accounts) you get 1% cashback too - it all adds up.

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  #13  
Old 20 May 2023
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I use the Caxton Fx card. It’s a pre load, no fees charged by Caxton for either cash withdrawal or transactions outside the home country, better than bank fx rate. Pre load in a variety of currency’s and if you use that currency there are no further conversion fees, or for something obscure it does an on the fly conversion from your home currency at a good fx. Easy to load while on the move.


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  #14  
Old 20 May 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Z View Post
Is it the conversion rate savings that makes Wise so popular?
That is part of it - it's better enough to make it worth the hassle to find my Wise card whenever I am out of the eurozone, but otherwise could use my main card. Two other advantages are the ability to send money directly to it from not just the Eurozone, but also UK, US and Australia using local bank transfer methods (no international bank transfer bullshit); and the fact that it's just really easy to get one, and it doesn't cost you anything to keep around. So if you are travelling and are a bit hesitant about where you swipe your card, it's very simple to send a few hundred euros to the Wise account (within Eurozone banks it arrives in minutes), and limit any potential fraud to that "petty cash", keeping your main account completely isolated.

I'm in Switzerland now, and have no reservations about the 0.07 EUR transaction fee that Wise is charging me for a very good CHF-EUR exchange rate.
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  #15  
Old 20 May 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
I think that statement is too broad, too general, and it needs to be clarified.

Using a home country DEBIT card to make withdrawals from your bank account at ATMs while abroad is probably the least expensive way to obtain cash when away from home, especially if the funds you are withdrawing are not in the same currency as your home country currency. You will often be charged a nominal amount - typically about USD $2 or $3 - by the local ATM operator for the withdrawal transaction (regardless of amount withdrawn), but because the currency conversion is done by your home bank you will get the most advantageous currency conversion rate available. So the trick is to not make frequent small withdrawals, instead, make occasional large withdrawals.

Using a CREDIT card to obtain cash is never a good idea, not even in your home town, because your bank and/or credit card issuer will begin to charge you daily interest immediately on the withdrawal - it is treated as a cash advance on your credit line, not as a withdrawal from your bank account.

Using a credit card to make purchases in a currency other than your home country currency will probably result in a currency conversion surcharge of typically 2% on the value of the purchase. This might not be a concern on a small purchase such as a tank of gas, but it is something to consider when making larger purchases in the hundreds of dollars or hundreds of Euros, Pounds, etc.

Michael
With regard to UK bank cards (debit and credit) issued by major UK high street banks, The Warden's statement isn't too broad, nor general and requires no clarification. Main UK high street banks charge excessive fees for non UK financial transactions. This was the case long before Brexit was even a concept too.

Many of the remaining regulars on this group are UK based.

Cards from other countries may indeed have varying mileages.

I use a Starling Bank (online only) card and app, similar to a "Wise" and "Revolut" card, mentioned by others, and get all the "fair" exchange rates and no fees benefits (although I've heard from friends that Revolut is now also starting to squeeze customers for fees).
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