In much of the world, cash is still king. For those traveling abroad, the local ATM can be a vital source of money and decent exchange rates, ASTA notes in a consumer media advisory. However, with many banks seeking to keep a tight watch on fraud, some travelers are finding it harder to use their debit cards at ATMs in certain countries.
“ATM cards linked to the PLUS or Cirrus networks can be used in more than 135 countries, which makes them the convenient choice of cash-strapped travelers, however when traveling overseas, getting cash is not always as easy as it is at home,” said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “Travel agents recommend that their clients contact their bank or check out its Web site before they leave to find out if your debit card will work at their destination.”
Here are some additional tips from travel agents concerning the use of ATMs when traveling abroad:
Variety is essential. Take a variety of payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, traveler's checks and currency, to be prepared for all circumstances.
Tell a teller. Go to a bank if you have problems withdrawing cash from an ATM. Many debit cards can also function as a credit card, which will allow you to get a cash advance (though at a higher interest rate than a normal debit transaction).
Bank on it. Bring your bank's contact information when you travel, just in case your card fails to work like you expect. Also, be sure to alert the bank that you will be traveling overseas, so they will expect to see activity generated on your account in a foreign country.
No more than four. If your PIN number is longer than four digits, go to your bank and have it changed. Many ATM's abroad, especially in Europe, do not accept PIN numbers longer than four digits.
A, B, C, 1, 2, 3. If your PIN number is based on letters, translate the letters into numbers before leaving the country. Many ATMs abroad only have numbers on their keypads.
Constant contact. Always have your travel agent's contact information with you. It's good to have an ally back home you can call whenever a problem arises.