[ 27 April 2013: Updated infos about the „dynamic currency conversion“ scam.]
[ 07 July 2013: Foreign transaction fees are not applied to cash withdrawals, only to purchases with the card. ]
[ 23 Nov 2015: Added Cortana search tip ]
[ 24 Mar 2016: Updated some links ]
[ 05 Apr 2016: Starting 1 June 16 DKB no longer refunds international non-customer fees.
I consider this change understandable. ]
[ 17 Jun 2018: Added Santander 1Plus card ]
- Research the current exchange rate:
– OANDA Web Currency Converter.
– LeanWork Multi-Currency Converter App for Windows Phone and Windows 10.
– First Data rates (used by DKB).
Know your card fees:
ATM non-customer fee: 1$ to 6$.
Foreign transaction fee: 1.0% to 3,5% .
- For cash withdrawals use ATMs with your debit card:
Works in almost all countries.
At ATMs with the Maestro or Cirrus logo.
Most banks charge a non-customer fee (ex. 4$) .
No foreign transaction fee!
No cash advance fee!
No advance interest rate!
To find the next ATM perform a Cortana search „find atm“:
- Do not(!) use credit card cash withdrawals
Beware of cash advance fee: 2% to 4 % or flat fee.
Beware of interest rate: 5% to 20+%. Commonly there is no grace period, you start paying interest right away!
Use in an emergency only. Better find a store that offers cash back on purchases.
- Avoid exchange kiosks and counters.
They usually offer worse exchange rates than ATMs, Banks and post offices.
- Consider using credit cards for large purchases like airline tickets, hotel bills, car rentals and in restaurants.
With some merchants charging a fee for credit card transactions sometimes it is cheaper to walk to the next ATM and pay cash.
- Traveller’s cheques are one of the most secure methods of carrying your money abroad.
I find them too inconvenient to use.
ATMs usually offer better exchange rates and lower fees
- Beware of “dynamic currency conversion”: Some local merchants (especially hotels) try to charge your credit card in your home currency (ex: USD) instead of the local currency (ex: THB) using a bad exchange rate. Insist on paying in the local currency.
You can check current and historic credit card exchange rates here:
MasterCard conversion rates
Visa conversion rates
First Data conversion rates (used by DKB)
I use the DKB-VISA-Card with ATMs when traveling:
- I am using DKB as my primary bank account since 2007
- The DKB-VISA-Card is a credit card with debit card conditions
- No non-customer fee in Germany
No non-customer fee (worldwide)
In case a foreign bank still does charge a fee (ex: all ATMs in Thailand charge 150THB per withdrawal) DKB does refund it upon request.
- No cash advance fee!
- No advance interest rate!
- No foreign transaction fee (for active customers only)!
In countries where banks charge a non-customer fee (e.g. 220THB per withdrawal in Thailand and 250PHP in Philippines) I prefer the Santander 1Plus Visa card to withdraw from ATMs. The 1Plus is the only card I know of where one still can get a refund for non-customer fees. To get a refund send an email with a photo to the ATM receipts to email@example.com. Sadly with the 1Plus I have to go to ATMs more often than I like because it has a daily limit of 300€ (in contrast to 1000€ with the DKB Visa card).
With the 1Plus card beware!
- Santander no longer allows to automatically balance out the 1Plus card from a reference account. To avoid accidentally paying interest (Santander sneakily does not even send an email when a payment is due) I always transfer enough money to the 1Plus before withdrawing.
- You must request non-customer fee refunds within six weeks after withdrawal.