Just got back from 9 weeks in Brazil. I contacted my credit union (credit card and atm card) and Capital One. Neither charged surcharges for use in a foreign country. Capital One also listed the exchange rate for each transaction. the only bank that I paid a surcharge for withdrawing cash was CitiBank. By the way, in case it hasn't occurred to someone, take your ATM card, withdraw a little cash as you need it, IN THE FOREIGN CURRENCY, and there are no exchange fees! I love it!--Diana Brueckner
I had forgotten to call Mastercard before a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico. On Friday evening, I wanted to get pesos from an ATM, but the machine kept my card and gave me a message to call my bank. When I called Mastercard, they told me they thought the card might be stolen. I had to wait until Monday to go to the Mexican bank in person to retrieve my card, and they were reluctant to return it to me. What would I have done if I was not staying in Los Cabos until Monday?--Phyllis Learn
I let my credit union (ATM) and credit card company (MC) know I would be traveling in Japan, where almost no non-Japanese ATM cards are accepted. They both thanked me, and I had no trouble using or getting a cash advance on the credit card. The ATM card worked only at the Japan branches of Citibank, but without glitches. In spite of the problems others describe, I'd say letting the companies know is worth a try.--Linda Bowman
I've been calling my credit card company for many years to flag my account when I'm traveling, which I do a lot. As a result, I've never had a problem when using my credit card and the people at the credit card company, when I've called to tell them to flag my account, have always been terrific. I've also passed this information to many of my friends who travel and I always get the comment, "I never thought of that" and when they return thank me as people they've traveled with who haven't done so, have had problems using their credit cards. It takes only a few moments to call and is worth taking the time to do.--Marion Cunic
And a dissenting view:
I contacted City Bank before we left on a cruise to Italy, Greece and Turkey. When I used it in Turkey twice, the second time it got red flagged. I had to give all my personal information including social security number and mother's maiden name over the phone!! The shop assistants were listening in and could easily memorize what I had just said. Naturally, I was very upset that that happened and then in Greece my card got refused. SO much for calling ahead and letting them know. Don't think I will do that again. It made the situation worse not better!--Ann
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