When Joe and I travel internationally, we rarely use cash anymore. There are very few places that are “cash only,” so we use credit cards for virtually all of our expenses, making sure that we use cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee.
However lots of people, for whatever their reasons, still like to pay cash, and many get their cash from local ATMs.
Unfortunately, there are bunches of ATMs, especially in Europe, that are rigged to take advantage of international travelers. Watch this:
(To give a better idea of the amounts he’s talking about starting at 00:53, the minimum suggested withdrawal, 10,000 CZK, is, as of this writing, about $433. The highest amount, 20,000 CZK, is roughly $866)
One of the comments to the video, by Alesha and Jarryd NOMADasaurus, was particularly disturbing:
Warning about this ATM – They even rip you off if you decline the conversion. We recently used one in Prague, and avoided the high withdrawal suggestions and sh***y currency conversion offer, instead choosing 2000 CZK and declining the currency conversion. However when we checked our bank statement afterwards, they charged us the equivalent of 2376 CZK! Our bank card has zero international fees, so Euronet still scammed us about 20%. Avoid at all costs.
Of course, the question about currency conversion is the same thing that happened to us when we were in England earlier this year. We didn’t get a choice in that case, and didn’t even notice it until later on. The frustrating part was that we know better!
But still…let this be a lesson for you! 😉
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary