Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
jima
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by jima » Thu May 24, 2018 11:33 am

Hello, hoping someone can come up with a reasonable explanation of what is going on with my BofA ATM card. It's a chip-based Visa debit card, issued in the past couple of years. I'm currently in the middle of a trip to several countries and have been trying to use it to obtain Euros in Italy (Venice) and Austria. I've tried probably 12-15 different types of ATM's, none of which have worked. Some immediately reject the card, others will let me go through most of the process and ask for a pin, but then return odd error messages like service is not available or temporarily unable to process.

I've made two calls to BofA, they claim the card should work, that there are no holds on it, but they also aren't seeing any declined transactions coming through on their side. I did enter a travel advisory for the countries listed.

At this point the trip is mostly completed and we've survived just on credit, although it did mean missing out on a few cash only activities. Really I'd just like to know what the issue is so I can plan for it in the future. It seems like the card itself has an issue, but I haven't a clue what it might be. It did work in the US before traveling.

Appreciate any opinions...

TravelforFun
Posts: 1298
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by TravelforFun » Thu May 24, 2018 11:42 am

Go to a fairly large bank and they can help you. Sort out the fees with BoA later.

TravelforFun

fabdog
Posts: 272
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:59 pm
Location: Williamsburg VA

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by fabdog » Thu May 24, 2018 11:50 am

I've seen this issue before if the debit card has access to both checking and savings accounts. Some ATM's don't deal with the choice and you have to keep trying, although in past experience I don't remember having to try more than 4 or 5.

The big bank suggestion above is a good one, their ATM's should give you the choice of account. Mostly stand alone ATM's may not

Good luck!

Mike

jima
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by jima » Thu May 24, 2018 11:55 am

This card is linked to 3 checking accounts, so that may be the issue.

I have tried some bigger banks (Deutsche Bank, Austria Bank, Credit Suisse, Ing) and struck out there too. BofA advised going to a bank and asking for a cash advance on my debit card, but so far in Austria they look at me like I'm crazy when asking for that.

N10sive
Posts: 543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 6:22 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by N10sive » Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm

If your desperately needing cash, wont a money travel exchange place let you purchase the wanted currency with a credit card? Commonly found at airports.

If not you could also try a credit card with a pin. It will be a cash advance type deal but if you really want cash this would be another alternative. The credit company might charge you 20 bucks or so to do it though.
Last edited by N10sive on Thu May 24, 2018 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

fabdog
Posts: 272
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:59 pm
Location: Williamsburg VA

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by fabdog » Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm

Sorry. Only other suggestion is if you have a card linked to only 1 account (we almost always use our Schwab debit card when overseas linked to our MM there and never have issues). I've had the issues exactly as you describe when trying to use our Wells Fargo card which has both checking and MM access. But usually it works at the big banks

But I'm guessing if you had that option you would have used it

If you really need cash you could try buying travelers checks with your credit or debit card and converting to cash on the spot (this obviously has un wanted fees) but then maybe the bank would have a better idea of what you are trying to accomplish. You could ask the place you are staying what the "term" for cash advance is you should use with the local bank?

Sorry to not be more help

Mike

terran
Posts: 668
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:50 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by terran » Thu May 24, 2018 1:18 pm

It doesn't look like they're available in every country, but Bank of America seems to have a special arrangement of some kind (to waive ATM fees) with the banks listed here: https://locators.bankofamerica.com/international.html. Maybe their systems are tied together more closely somehow and they might work better?

For future travels, we've been very happy with the Charles Schwab investor checking account, which refunds all ATM fees worldwide.

radiowave
Posts: 1683
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by radiowave » Thu May 24, 2018 1:23 pm

jima wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 11:55 am
This card is linked to 3 checking accounts, so that may be the issue.

I have tried some bigger banks (Deutsche Bank, Austria Bank, Credit Suisse, Ing) and struck out there too. BofA advised going to a bank and asking for a cash advance on my debit card, but so far in Austria they look at me like I'm crazy when asking for that.
Interesting, I went into a bank in Switzerland a couple years ago, talked directly with the teller and could not have gone smoother getting cash.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

User avatar
BrandonBogle
Posts: 2047
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:19 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by BrandonBogle » Thu May 24, 2018 2:24 pm

fabdog wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 11:50 am
I've seen this issue before if the debit card has access to both checking and savings accounts. Some ATM's don't deal with the choice and you have to keep trying, although in past experience I don't remember having to try more than 4 or 5.

The big bank suggestion above is a good one, their ATM's should give you the choice of account. Mostly stand alone ATM's may not

Good luck!

Mike
This is my first thought (though I saw the Op said only three checking accounts). I have two WF Debit cards. One is linked to many accounts, including multiple checking accounts. When I used this card in France, I never got a pop-up to choose even the type of account, it only used my Savings account. The other card only has one specific checking account, and that one worked as expected. WF has a "default account" on the card for one of my checking accounts for when a selection can't be made, but I wonder if the ATM process just kicked out all my checking accounts b/c of it and then picked my savings account type since only one was assigned there.

For the Op, one thing to also check is if you have a four-digit PIN or a longer one. Perhaps the international ATMs can't support the greater than four-digit variety?

prncrakim
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:53 am

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by prncrakim » Thu May 24, 2018 2:29 pm

I had the same issue traveling in Portugal last year. I ended up taking a cash advance off a credit card through an ATM. Not ideal but it worked in a pinch.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13439
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Watty » Thu May 24, 2018 2:43 pm

jima wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 11:33 am
Really I'd just like to know what the issue is so I can plan for it in the future. It seems like the card itself has an issue, but I haven't a clue what it might be. It did work in the US before traveling.
Is it possible that the ATM's are trying to use the magnetic strip and not the chip and the magnetic strip got demagnetized?

I think every ATM that I have seen in the US and Europe still uses the strip but I have not been to Europe for over a year.

It was a bit different but I recently had a credit card with a bad magnetic strip that would not work at a store where you still had to use the magnetic strip instead of the chip.

It also sounds like a debit card and not an ATM card. If so one other thing you may be running into is that when you use a debit card for a hotel or rental car they may put a huge hold on your account to cover possible damages. These can take a long time to go away and you may have reached some transaction limit, but I would have thought that the bank would have told you about that.

If necessary you may be able to go into a bank and get a cash from a teller using that card or a different card but there may be additional fees if they treat that like a cash advance.

Spirit Rider
Posts: 7994
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:39 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Spirit Rider » Thu May 24, 2018 3:52 pm

fabdog wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 11:50 am
For the Op, one thing to also check is if you have a four-digit PIN or a longer one. Perhaps the international ATMs can't support the greater than four-digit variety?
I had this problem with a BoA debit card with a 6-digit PIN. Changing it to a four-digit PIN solved the problem. However, I thought this problem no longer existed.

User avatar
sperry8
Posts: 1550
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:25 pm
Location: Miami FL

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by sperry8 » Thu May 24, 2018 4:03 pm

And this is why I always travel internationally with two debit cards from two different banks. I have had instances where one didn't work in one country - and it saved me a lot of hassle to have the other handy. I realize this won't help the OP today, but it's a worthy reminder for those reading this thread and are heading abroad. Bring two.
Humbling BH contest results: 2017: #516 of 647 | 2016: #121 of 610 | 2015: #18 of 552 | 2014: #225 of 503 | 2013: #383 of 433 | 2012: #366 of 410 | 2011: #113 of 369 | 2010: #53 of 282

SrGrumpy
Posts: 695
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by SrGrumpy » Thu May 24, 2018 4:51 pm

Happens to me very occasionally, and I don't know why and nor does my credit union. Consider it an inconvenient favor. You saved yourself BofA's $5 ATM fee + the international transaction fee of 3% of the converted US dollar amount.

THY4373
Posts: 698
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by THY4373 » Thu May 24, 2018 5:04 pm

Like Sperry8 this is why I travel with multiple debit and credit cards spread across the Visa/MC/Amex spectrum. I also make sure I have the PINs for several credit cards so I can get a cash advance if debit cards fail or are lost or stolen. I also keep a separate set of cards and extra cash stored external to my wallet in case of theft or loss.

jima
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by jima » Sat May 26, 2018 4:45 pm

Thanks for the replies. I changed the card to just link to a single account today, but it still was rejected instantly at the Raiffeisen I tried. May try another bank tomorrow, but this one didn't even ask for a pin before rejecting the card.

Definitely some lessons learned on this trip, including bringing the 2 debit cards and setting the pins on a couple of credit cards as a backup. I also ordered a stand-alone ATM only card (non Visa debit) from BofA to see if that makes a difference next time. Thanks for the suggestions.

theplayer11
Posts: 360
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:55 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by theplayer11 » Sat May 26, 2018 5:42 pm

I have a BOA debit card with a 6 digit pin..Worked fine in Switzerland, but did not work in a few machines in Munich, but I'm not sure I was using the correct machine...lol. I tried a different bank and it worked.

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 18454
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat May 26, 2018 5:48 pm

Another reason why I vote for taking some foreign currency with you when traveling abroad along with multiple credit and debit cards. Though my suggestion is of no help to OP right now, sorry!
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Wiggum
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:30 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Wiggum » Sat May 26, 2018 11:20 pm

I travel extensively for work and can offer some tips for your next trip:

As others have noted BOA charges a foreign withdrawl fee and a conversion fee, 3ish % I believe. I have a fidelity cash managed account strictly for foreign ATMs, no fees. I use it all over the world and it’s never been flagged. Charles Schwab has one that’s even better; no min balance, no monthly fees, or foreign transaction fees.

Also, the currency exchange kiosks in the airport can be a massive ripoff. Have an idea what the current exchange rates are and watch out for hefty “service” or transaction fees added in. BOA (and likely others) will order UK pounds and Euros to my local branch for much lower exchange rates, ask them to waive the service fee. If I go somewhere way off the grid I use my fidelity card at an atm inside a bank or in a reputable store. Some of the atms on the street can be tampered with (skimmers) to steal your info. For that reason I keep a small enough balance where if it’s wiped out it won’t kill me, and just transfer money in periodically when I return home.

Finally, if I have no local currency, my Barclays credit card has no foreign transaction fees. I’m able to select the country I’m traveling to from a drop down menu online to notify them of my travel and I’ve never had a transaction denied. Do the same with your backup card.

Thought of some other tips... try to get small bills too, taxi drivers love to claim to have no small bills to break yours. You now have “ no choice” but to tip the guy massively. In China taxis will try to launder counterfeit bills with yours. You give them a legit bill, they hand you back the bogus note they are washing saying “it’s no good.” The old switcheroo...

mouses
Posts: 3283
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by mouses » Sun May 27, 2018 12:14 am

Kind of astonished the financial system does not have its act together about this.

Does anyone know if there are problems like this in Denmark? That's the last travel place left on my bucket list.

SrGrumpy
Posts: 695
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun May 27, 2018 1:58 am

jima wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 4:45 pm
Thanks for the replies. I changed the card to just link to a single account today, but it still was rejected instantly at the Raiffeisen I tried. May try another bank tomorrow, but this one didn't even ask for a pin before rejecting the card.

Definitely some lessons learned on this trip, including bringing the 2 debit cards and setting the pins on a couple of credit cards as a backup. I also ordered a stand-alone ATM only card (non Visa debit) from BofA to see if that makes a difference next time. Thanks for the suggestions.
I could never get Raiffeisen to work for me. Seems it always defaulted to the checking account, even though my $ was in savings.

SrGrumpy
Posts: 695
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun May 27, 2018 2:00 am

mouses wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 12:14 am
Kind of astonished the financial system does not have its act together about this.

Does anyone know if there are problems like this in Denmark? That's the last travel place left on my bucket list.
Big-time chip and pin enthusiasts there. Had to leave a pile of groceries at checkout because of that issue. In my neighborhood, ATM machines seemed either inoperable or MIA.

HongKonger
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by HongKonger » Sun May 27, 2018 2:24 am

Have you tried using the debit card in a store to purchase something and then asking for cash back?

User avatar
LiveSimple
Posts: 1018
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by LiveSimple » Sun May 27, 2018 2:28 am

Used the Fidelity debit card, without any issues. ATM fees are reimbursed.

UpperNwGuy
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun May 27, 2018 5:55 am

If you do get the card to work while you are still in Europe, be sure to pull an extra couple of hundred Euros to take home as the starting balance for your next trip. I go to Europe often, and I never come back to the US without at least 200 Euros in my wallet. That way I have enough cash for the taxi from the airport and for my first group of meals.

jima
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by jima » Sun May 27, 2018 4:12 pm

Finally found a bank in Budapest which worked, OTP. Went back to a couple of failed banks (Erste, Unicredit, and Euronet) just to be sure it wasn’t related to changing the link to a single account, but those still wouldn’t accept the card.

Really didn’t expect BofA to have so much trouble, but good to know about Schwab and Fidelity. Will definitely look into opening one of those for future trips.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13439
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Watty » Sun May 27, 2018 4:47 pm

jima wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 4:12 pm
Really didn’t expect BofA to have so much trouble, but good to know about Schwab and Fidelity. Will definitely look into opening one of those for future trips.
If you are traveling with a spouse it is also a good idea for each of you to carry different cards so that you will still have one that works if a wallet or purse is lost and the credit cards in it have to be cancelled.

Chimz
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Chimz » Sun May 27, 2018 4:48 pm

I’m someone who has worked on chip card specifications for more than 15 years so I think I’m qualified to provide you with a reasonable answer to your problem. I believe the chip settings on your card are set to domestic only for ATM. At the start of a chip transaction the ATM will read this restriction and thus decline the transaction. Of course the people at BofA wouldn’t have a clue about this since they know nothing about how Visa has set the chip profile up. Additionally I don’t believe they can script to update the card once it’s out in the field so you will need a new card once you get home.
That’s my theory, hope it helps


jima wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 11:33 am
Hello, hoping someone can come up with a reasonable explanation of what is going on with my BofA ATM card. It's a chip-based Visa debit card, issued in the past couple of years. I'm currently in the middle of a trip to several countries and have been trying to use it to obtain Euros in Italy (Venice) and Austria. I've tried probably 12-15 different types of ATM's, none of which have worked. Some immediately reject the card, others will let me go through most of the process and ask for a pin, but then return odd error messages like service is not available or temporarily unable to process.

I've made two calls to BofA, they claim the card should work, that there are no holds on it, but they also aren't seeing any declined transactions coming through on their side. I did enter a travel advisory for the countries listed.

At this point the trip is mostly completed and we've survived just on credit, although it did mean missing out on a few cash only activities. Really I'd just like to know what the issue is so I can plan for it in the future. It seems like the card itself has an issue, but I haven't a clue what it might be. It did work in the US before traveling.

Appreciate any opinions...

jima
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by jima » Mon May 28, 2018 1:01 am

Chimz wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 4:48 pm
I’m someone who has worked on chip card specifications for more than 15 years so I think I’m qualified to provide you with a reasonable answer to your problem. I believe the chip settings on your card are set to domestic only for ATM. At the start of a chip transaction the ATM will read this restriction and thus decline the transaction. Of course the people at BofA wouldn’t have a clue about this since they know nothing about how Visa has set the chip profile up. Additionally I don’t believe they can script to update the card once it’s out in the field so you will need a new card once you get home.
That’s my theory, hope it helps
Thanks! That is exactly the behavior that it looks like is happening, because many ATM’s just immediately reject it after reading the chip. Any idea whether new cards are still set this way, or is the domestic-only an older standard which isn’t used any more?

student
Posts: 2071
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by student » Mon May 28, 2018 6:07 am

Chimz wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 4:48 pm
I’m someone who has worked on chip card specifications for more than 15 years so I think I’m qualified to provide you with a reasonable answer to your problem. I believe the chip settings on your card are set to domestic only for ATM. At the start of a chip transaction the ATM will read this restriction and thus decline the transaction. Of course the people at BofA wouldn’t have a clue about this since they know nothing about how Visa has set the chip profile up. Additionally I don’t believe they can script to update the card once it’s out in the field so you will need a new card once you get home.
That’s my theory, hope it helps
Very interesting. Thanks for the info.

UpperNwGuy
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon May 28, 2018 8:01 am

I'm curious as to how Bank of America will react to this theory. I suspect they will initially deny that that is the problem, but I suspect the theory is correct.

One other question: I have heard of some US cards working in international ATMs that are part of the Cirrus or Maestro networks but not in other international ATMs. Did you pay attention to the networks listed on the front of the ATM? If so, did it make a difference?

Chimz
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Chimz » Mon May 28, 2018 9:16 am

The folks working the phones at these call centers are ignorant and haven’t been trained to troubleshoot chip settings. If they’re not seeing the authorization hit their system they are flying blind. If the OP is going to any of the major FI’s ATM’s it is not possible that they don’t support visa or MasterCard..


UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 8:01 am
I'm curious as to how Bank of America will react to this theory. I suspect they will initially deny that that is the problem, but I suspect the theory is correct.

One other question: I have heard of some US cards working in international ATMs that are part of the Cirrus or Maestro networks but not in other international ATMs. Did you pay attention to the networks listed on the front of the ATM? If so, did it make a difference?

Chimz
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Chimz » Mon May 28, 2018 9:24 am

BofA could have several different chip profiles depending on BIN/IIN’s, so based on the product the card could be set up to be more restrictive in use compared to another BofA card.
I believe the setting in the Visa card specs is something like ‘ valid for international cash’ and because we’re talking binary settings it will have a zero next to it as opposed to a 1 meaning functionality is off. You could ask for a new card but if the trouble persists you’ll need to track down someone at BofA that knows their EMV (Europay, Mastercard,Visa) specs

jima wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 1:01 am
Chimz wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 4:48 pm
I’m someone who has worked on chip card specifications for more than 15 years so I think I’m qualified to provide you with a reasonable answer to your problem. I believe the chip settings on your card are set to domestic only for ATM. At the start of a chip transaction the ATM will read this restriction and thus decline the transaction. Of course the people at BofA wouldn’t have a clue about this since they know nothing about how Visa has set the chip profile up. Additionally I don’t believe they can script to update the card once it’s out in the field so you will need a new card once you get home.
That’s my theory, hope it helps
Thanks! That is exactly the behavior that it looks like is happening, because many ATM’s just immediately reject it after reading the chip. Any idea whether new cards are still set this way, or is the domestic-only an older standard which isn’t used any more?

neilpilot
Posts: 1613
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by neilpilot » Mon May 28, 2018 10:11 am

Chimz wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 4:48 pm
I’m someone who has worked on chip card specifications for more than 15 years so I think I’m qualified to provide you with a reasonable answer to your problem. I believe the chip settings on your card are set to domestic only for ATM. At the start of a chip transaction the ATM will read this restriction and thus decline the transaction. Of course the people at BofA wouldn’t have a clue about this since they know nothing about how Visa has set the chip profile up. Additionally I don’t believe they can script to update the card once it’s out in the field so you will need a new card once you get home.
That’s my theory, hope it helps
If this is the case does that mean the Budapest ATM was defectively programmed, resulting in it accepting the OP's card? Or does that disprove your theory?

arf30
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:55 am

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by arf30 » Mon May 28, 2018 11:41 am

Recommend opening a Schwab or Fidelity account for a backup ATM card when traveling next time.

RetiredTrvl
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:44 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by RetiredTrvl » Mon May 28, 2018 2:12 pm

Wiggum wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 11:20 pm
I travel extensively for work and can offer some tips for your next trip:

As others have noted BOA charges a foreign withdrawl fee and a conversion fee, 3ish % I believe. I have a fidelity cash managed account strictly for foreign ATMs, no fees. I use it all over the world and it’s never been flagged. Charles Schwab has one that’s even better; no min balance, no monthly fees, or foreign transaction fees.
Indeed BoA does charge a withdrawal fee unless you're using a bank that is part of their international network but in all cases, they charge a 3% conversion fee.

With the cards you mentioned, it's great that there are no withdrawal fees but how good is the conversion rate?

seawolf21
Posts: 217
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:33 am

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by seawolf21 » Mon May 28, 2018 2:24 pm

RetiredTrvl wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 2:12 pm
Wiggum wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 11:20 pm
I travel extensively for work and can offer some tips for your next trip:

As others have noted BOA charges a foreign withdrawl fee and a conversion fee, 3ish % I believe. I have a fidelity cash managed account strictly for foreign ATMs, no fees. I use it all over the world and it’s never been flagged. Charles Schwab has one that’s even better; no min balance, no monthly fees, or foreign transaction fees.
Indeed BoA does charge a withdrawal fee unless you're using a bank that is part of their international network but in all cases, they charge a 3% conversion fee.

With the cards you mentioned, it's great that there are no withdrawal fees but how good is the conversion rate?
The “baseline” conversion rate is set by VISA/MasterCard.

Every issuer starts with that rate before adding their fees. The baseline rate is what you get with Schwab/Fido/Capital One 360. BoA rate is baseline rate plus 3%.

jima
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by jima » Mon May 28, 2018 4:28 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 8:01 am
One other question: I have heard of some US cards working in international ATMs that are part of the Cirrus or Maestro networks but not in other international ATMs. Did you pay attention to the networks listed on the front of the ATM? If so, did it make a difference?
For the ATM’s I tried at least some were part of Cirrus, Maestro, or Visa Plus, which were the main ones I recognized. It didn’t make any difference.

Chimz
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Bank of America ATM card not working internationally

Post by Chimz » Tue May 29, 2018 8:01 am

The former but you raise a good point which I have always advocated which is don’t program ATM’s or point of sale devices to decline offline, send the transaction online and let the issuer decide. With an offline decline you have zero information as to what’s going on.


neilpilot wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 10:11 am
Chimz wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 4:48 pm
I’m someone who has worked on chip card specifications for more than 15 years so I think I’m qualified to provide you with a reasonable answer to your problem. I believe the chip settings on your card are set to domestic only for ATM. At the start of a chip transaction the ATM will read this restriction and thus decline the transaction. Of course the people at BofA wouldn’t have a clue about this since they know nothing about how Visa has set the chip profile up. Additionally I don’t believe they can script to update the card once it’s out in the field so you will need a new card once you get home.
That’s my theory, hope it helps
If this is the case does that mean the Budapest ATM was defectively programmed, resulting in it accepting the OP's card? Or does that disprove your theory?

Post Reply