FYI, Spanish bank ATMs [Dynamic Currency Conversion]

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Shallowpockets
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FYI, Spanish bank ATMs [Dynamic Currency Conversion]

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:10 am

I am in Spain now. Here is a note on ATMs for cash in Spain.
I have been in Spain before and never noticed this. Perhaps it is new. People talk about ATM fees. Sometimes about exchange rates between international banks.
This is the situation.
Caixa bank and Santander are big Spamish banks. At the ATM the exchange rate is $1.21 For 1 Euro. According to my XE app, the mid market rate, for the Euro is $1.12.
That is approx 8% markup by the Spanish banks. This markup goes through regardless that I have a Schwab account with no transaction fees. Plus the Spanish bank charges ATM fee of 5 euros. This fee I get back from Schwab.
I have not ever had this problem at any other ATM in Europe on an exchange rate like this. All other countries I have found that I take out 300 euros and the exchange rate is not then known, but when it comes though on my account is is close to the XE mid market rate. Not anywhere near an 8% difference.
So. I have learned, but it took me twice at the ATM to learn this.
Now I am back to CC use because that rate is at the mid market exchange rate.
Quite a difference.

jminv
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by jminv » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:29 am

Some French ATMs now have a similar dynamic currency conversion option that appears to be a requirement, ie, it seems you have to accept the rate to get cash. You can actually click cancel/decline and it will go through without the rate. It sounds like this is what it was since the ATM told you the conversion rate. The first time I saw it I thought it was very tricky and unethical - posted about it here. Sad to see it spreading. Unlike the credit card DCC, where you actually get to pick, this one is designed to get people to think it is actually the only option which is so wrong.

Millennial
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Millennial » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:33 am

Good spot! This scam exists in many countries, and happens whenever someone other than your credit/debit card company does the currency conversion. It can also happen at businesses like hotels, or at point of sale systems.

The only way to avoid it is to force the ATM to process the transaction in foreign currency, euros in this case. Sometimes that is possible by selecting an option on the ATM or POS device, but sometimes it is not.

The worst part of this scam is that it is pushed on unsuspecting travellers under the guise of avoiding a foreign transaction fee, when often the fee for third party conversion is higher! Often the staff at the POS don't seem to know it's a scam.

HawkeyePierce
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by HawkeyePierce » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:02 am

This link has everything you ever wanted to know about this scam: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit- ... n-dcc.html

When I've been forced into DCC on purchases I've been successful in disputing the transaction later on. I don't know if that's possible with ATM withdrawals but I'd be eager to hear experiences with that.

FireProof
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by FireProof » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:23 am

Lived in Spain for many years, and that's never happened to me. But it's true that something may have changed. There used to be no ATM fees at all at almost any Spanish bank, including Santander, for example, but when I tried to withdraw from a Santander ATM in the last couple of months, I saw there was a fee, so switched to a different ATM (yes, I'm so cheap that I don't even want to waste Schwab's money!)

But it also may be an option that tricked you. We were in Scotland last year withdrawing from an ATM and my wife got nervous and quickly clicked through all the options. The option from dynamic currency conversion popped up on the screen, and I saw with a sort of helpless slow-motion horror as she clicked the option for the ATM conversion rate rather than using the rate from your bank. Cost us like 6 or 7%.

bberris
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by bberris » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:53 am

ATMs in Mexico also try to pull this scam. A screen comes up that says, "accept charge of US$ xx" or some such. You push decline or cancel, as if you don't want to draw cash at all. Then the pesos get delivered at nearly the real exchange rate!

international001
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by international001 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:28 am

I routinely withdraw money from Spanish ATMs and never saw this problem. Make sure you take out the money in Euros, or you'll be charge extra. But this is usually about 3%. Same problem you will have if you do purchases with CC. Make sure to use Euros

The ATM fee is about 5 Euros, but most times you are warned in advanced. Santander and BBVA used not to have it, but a couple of years ago they started having it again (and w/o warning, that pissed me off).

For the ones without fee, try Bankinter and Bankia. The only ones AFAIK that don't charge it

terran
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by terran » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:48 am

Have you taken money out in Euros and then looked at you account and figured out that the conversion rate they're giving you is 8% over xe.com, or is this the option they give you to convert at the ATM so you know how much you're taking out in dollars? I noticed the same thing that you did (the converted option cost more), but I'm pretty sure the exchange rate was close to what I expected as long as I didn't have the machine convert form me. This makes sense as it works the same as it does when they ask if you'd like your credit card charged in dollars at the counter. Unless you're noticing something different happening now, always operating in the local currency should result in decent exchange rates.

mgensler
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by mgensler » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:26 am

Experienced this in the Netherlands at an ATM this summer. ATM screen said exchange rate was +20% upcharge. Hit cancel and started to walk away. Machine dispensed euros anyway. I thought I had hit the wrong button. After checking our bank account online, found out we avoided the upcharge altogether.

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JoMoney
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by JoMoney » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:00 am

When I was in Australia, some ATM's "offered" to do the conversion from USD for me (always at a horrible exchange rate), but if /when I declined and selected to withdraw in AUD directly I got what I presume is/was Visa's exchange rate (which is the best I've seen available for consumers... usually within 0.5% of "mid-market rate").
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FlyAF
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by FlyAF » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:43 am

Extremely common all throughout the world (doesn't make it ethical). Simply decline and take your cash at the proper x rate.

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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:51 am

I'm curious. Do you actually need to use cash in Spain? I've never been there but have spent many weeks in Canada and Aruba (only foreign countries I've spent extended time in) and never need local currency. I know I don't need Aruban Florins....and in Canada, the last time I did a currency exchange in the hotel, I got all of $20. I was there for several weeks and left the country with that same $20CAN in my pocket.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:51 am
I'm curious. Do you actually need to use cash in Spain? I've never been there but have spent many weeks in Canada and Aruba (only foreign countries I've spent extended time in) and never need local currency. I know I don't need Aruban Florins....and in Canada, the last time I did a currency exchange in the hotel, I got all of $20. I was there for several weeks and left the country with that same $20CAN in my pocket.
Yes, you do need to use cash in Spain, especially if you want to participate in the Spanish ritual of eating tapas at locally-owned bars. Many of these bars are cash-only, and even when they do take cards, you feel stupid charging 3 Euros for your beer and a tapa.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am

international001 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:28 am
I routinely withdraw money from Spanish ATMs and never saw this problem. Make sure you take out the money in Euros, or you'll be charge extra. But this is usually about 3%. Same problem you will have if you do purchases with CC. Make sure to use Euros

The ATM fee is about 5 Euros, but most times you are warned in advanced. Santander and BBVA used not to have it, but a couple of years ago they started having it again (and w/o warning, that pissed me off).

For the ones without fee, try Bankinter and Bankia. The only ones AFAIK that don't charge it
Add Deutsche Bank to the list of those who don't charge it. They are in most of the larger Spanish cities.

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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:45 am

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am

Yes, you do need to use cash in Spain, especially if you want to participate in the Spanish ritual of eating tapas at locally-owned bars. Many of these bars are cash-only, and even when they do take cards, you feel stupid charging 3 Euros for your beer and a tapa.
Good to know.

I wouldn't feel stupid charging 3 Euros, however. I recently bought groceries with a $10 scan code resulting in 7 cents due. Went on my visa card. Way faster than cash.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:49 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:45 am
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am

Yes, you do need to use cash in Spain, especially if you want to participate in the Spanish ritual of eating tapas at locally-owned bars. Many of these bars are cash-only, and even when they do take cards, you feel stupid charging 3 Euros for your beer and a tapa.
Good to know.

I wouldn't feel stupid charging 3 Euros, however. I recently bought groceries with a $10 scan code resulting in 7 cents due. Went on my visa card. Way faster than cash.
Maybe you wouldn't, but you would be contributing to the general impression amongst Spaniards that Americans are insensitive to local customs.

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Shallowpockets
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:57 am

Yes, if course I took out Euros.
I am not talking about a fee, as in a 5€ fee for the ATM. It may have been a DCC, but there was no choice. The note on the screen was a rate of 1.21 when the mid market rate is 1.12.
Yes. I checked my balances and the upcharge was about 8% . It is not my imagination or my math being wrong.
If it is DCC it is hidden in the language, same way an amendment vote on a ballot might be. Expressed as if you vote NO that means you are voting FOR something. Or vice versa. A play on the double negative.
Anyway I feel pretty stupid to have fallen for this. Had never seen it before.
Cost me about $60 on 800€.

bgreat
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by bgreat » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:12 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:10 am
That is approx 8% markup by the Spanish banks. This markup goes through regardless that I have a Schwab account with no transaction fees. Plus the Spanish bank charges ATM fee of 5 euros. This fee I get back from Schwab.
That's not entirely true: you still pay 0.5% with Schwab.

Gnirk
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Gnirk » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:00 pm

OP:

Thank you for posting this so we can be aware of this issue. We are traveling to France in September, and usually take cash from bank ATMs. When we were there three years ago, everything was very straight-forward.

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Nate79
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Nate79 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:29 pm

bgreat wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:12 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:10 am
That is approx 8% markup by the Spanish banks. This markup goes through regardless that I have a Schwab account with no transaction fees. Plus the Spanish bank charges ATM fee of 5 euros. This fee I get back from Schwab.
That's not entirely true: you still pay 0.5% with Schwab.
What 0.5% are you speaking of?

scophreak
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by scophreak » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:50 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:29 pm
bgreat wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:12 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:10 am
That is approx 8% markup by the Spanish banks. This markup goes through regardless that I have a Schwab account with no transaction fees. Plus the Spanish bank charges ATM fee of 5 euros. This fee I get back from Schwab.
That's not entirely true: you still pay 0.5% with Schwab.
What 0.5% are you speaking of?
Was wondering the same thing. I'm not aware of any 0.5% fee for ATM cash withdrawals using my Schwab card. I would certainly be interested to learn if this was indeed a standard fee.

Starfish
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Starfish » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:32 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:57 am
Yes, if course I took out Euros.
I am not talking about a fee, as in a 5€ fee for the ATM. It may have been a DCC, but there was no choice. The note on the screen was a rate of 1.21 when the mid market rate is 1.12.
Yes. I checked my balances and the upcharge was about 8% . It is not my imagination or my math being wrong.
If it is DCC it is hidden in the language, same way an amendment vote on a ballot might be. Expressed as if you vote NO that means you are voting FOR something. Or vice versa. A play on the double negative.
Anyway I feel pretty stupid to have fallen for this. Had never seen it before.
Cost me about $60 on 800€.
This is a frequent scam nowadays. Normally you should get a screen asking you if you want the conversion to be done by the bank and your your account to be charge in dollars. DON'T do it.
If that screen is not there, I don't know the solution. Don't use cash. I expect apple pay to be universally accepted in Spain.

Starfish
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Starfish » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:44 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:51 am
I'm curious. Do you actually need to use cash in Spain? I've never been there but have spent many weeks in Canada and Aruba (only foreign countries I've spent extended time in) and never need local currency. I know I don't need Aruban Florins....and in Canada, the last time I did a currency exchange in the hotel, I got all of $20. I was there for several weeks and left the country with that same $20CAN in my pocket.
Yes, you do need to use cash in Spain, especially if you want to participate in the Spanish ritual of eating tapas at locally-owned bars. Many of these bars are cash-only, and even when they do take cards, you feel stupid charging 3 Euros for your beer and a tapa.
I travel often in Europe and I charged without shame 25c coffees and 50c tram tickets on my card through apple pay.
Why would I feel stupid?
What kind of cash only place accepts cards?

oxothuk
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by oxothuk » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:18 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:29 pm
What 0.5% are you speaking of?
Maybe he is referring to the standard VISA exchange rate spread.

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kramer
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by kramer » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:58 pm

As a related addendum, I was buying tickets at a train station in Spain last year. The machines accepted cash (I think) or credit card. But they only accepted contactless payment credit card that have this symbol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactless_payment

This was not at all obvious from the context (and I speak Spanish, as well). At first, I couldn't figure out why the transactions of the others were not working. We were four adults at three separate ticket machines, all with recently renewed US-based credit cards, and out of our 8 chipped cards or so, only one of the cards (my Capital One) had this symbol and would work (even the Capital One cards of the others didn't have that symbol). So I bought the tickets for everyone. Also, it didn't ask for a pin (and I don't think I even have one for my credit cards).

On the ATM issue mentioned by the OP, I am pretty sure I used the same banks as the OP, and never saw this, so it might be new there. OP: Thanks for the alert!

02nz
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by 02nz » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:19 pm

I find this currency conversion thing very common in heavily touristed places. In Europe I've seen it at ATMs in the UK, Italy, and the Czech Republic but not in Germany. With credit cards it's also hotels and shops in touristy places and duty-free stores that tend to have this.

helloeveryone
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by helloeveryone » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:37 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:10 am
I am in Spain now. Here is a note on ATMs for cash in Spain.
I have been in Spain before and never noticed this. Perhaps it is new. People talk about ATM fees. Sometimes about exchange rates between international banks.
This is the situation.
Caixa bank and Santander are big Spamish banks. At the ATM the exchange rate is $1.21 For 1 Euro. According to my XE app, the mid market rate, for the Euro is $1.12.
That is approx 8% markup by the Spanish banks. This markup goes through regardless that I have a Schwab account with no transaction fees. Plus the Spanish bank charges ATM fee of 5 euros. This fee I get back from Schwab.
I have not ever had this problem at any other ATM in Europe on an exchange rate like this. All other countries I have found that I take out 300 euros and the exchange rate is not then known, but when it comes though on my account is is close to the XE mid market rate. Not anywhere near an 8% difference.
So. I have learned, but it took me twice at the ATM to learn this.
Now I am back to CC use because that rate is at the mid market exchange rate.
Quite a difference.
thks for posting this. super helpful for those of us rhat travel infrequently overseas and are likely most susceptible to this.

curmudgeon
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by curmudgeon » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:21 am

Gnirk wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:00 pm
OP:

Thank you for posting this so we can be aware of this issue. We are traveling to France in September, and usually take cash from bank ATMs. When we were there three years ago, everything was very straight-forward.
The currency conversion scam has greatly increased at atms throughout Europe recently. I felt like it is more widespread even over the past four months since our previous trip. Some of this may come from atms that are considered "convenience" atms which used to be ones in stores or restaurants and have relaxed interbank rules. I noticed several years ago some Spanish banks and cu had converted even onsite atms to this type by having them sell tickets in addition to dispensing cash.

It takes a discerning eye to avoid getting ripped off by atms in Europe these days.

bberris
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by bberris » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:25 am

Starfish wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:32 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:57 am
Yes, if course I took out Euros.
I am not talking about a fee, as in a 5€ fee for the ATM. It may have been a DCC, but there was no choice. The note on the screen was a rate of 1.21 when the mid market rate is 1.12.
Yes. I checked my balances and the upcharge was about 8% . It is not my imagination or my math being wrong.
If it is DCC it is hidden in the language, same way an amendment vote on a ballot might be. Expressed as if you vote NO that means you are voting FOR something. Or vice versa. A play on the double negative.
Anyway I feel pretty stupid to have fallen for this. Had never seen it before.
Cost me about $60 on 800€.
This is a frequent scam nowadays. Normally you should get a screen asking you if you want the conversion to be done by the bank and your your account to be charge in dollars. DON'T do it.
If that screen is not there, I don't know the solution. Don't use cash. I expect apple pay to be universally accepted in Spain.
If the screen is not there, it means you are not getting the DCC shaft. You have to say yes to get the "benefit" of DCC. The scam is that they make it seem mandatory, like the ATM fee.

david99
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by david99 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:04 am

Thanks for posting. I don't travel to Europe too frequently so I had no idea.

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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Raybo » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:39 am

I recently noticed this at ATMs in Italy, France, and Switzerland, as well. My solution was to look for ATMs at post offices, where I didn't experience this at all.
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bgreat
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by bgreat » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:24 am

oxothuk wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:18 pm
Nate79 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:29 pm
What 0.5% are you speaking of?
Maybe he is referring to the standard VISA exchange rate spread.
Indeed (it's not really documented, but I imagine it is VISA). In any case, the amount charged in USD to my Schwab account is always around 0.5% more than the amount calculated using market rates.

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Shallowpockets
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:47 am

Gnirk wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:00 pm
OP:

Thank you for posting this so we can be aware of this issue. We are traveling to France in September, and usually take cash from bank ATMs. When we were there three years ago, everything was very straight-forward.

I was in Paris in March and all was well there for ATM withdrawals. No hidden exchange rate. Was almost exact on the mid market rate. When you go in September post here if you find anything amiss, or all is well. Personally I have been in France, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech, Scotland and England over the last few years and never saw this problem before.

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Nate79
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Nate79 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:02 pm

bgreat wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:24 am
oxothuk wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:18 pm
Nate79 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:29 pm
What 0.5% are you speaking of?
Maybe he is referring to the standard VISA exchange rate spread.
Indeed (it's not really documented, but I imagine it is VISA). In any case, the amount charged in USD to my Schwab account is always around 0.5% more than the amount calculated using market rates.
The exchange rate is determined by Visa. There is no fee for Schwab debit card. The exchange rate would be true of all Visa cards and will be slightly different than the Mastercard rate.

Here is the Visa exchange rate calculator. The exchange rate you get is when the purchase is processed, which may not be the date of the purchase itself.
https://usa.visa.com/support/consumer/t ... lator.html
Last edited by Nate79 on Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Starfish
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Starfish » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:04 pm

kramer wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:58 pm
As a related addendum, I was buying tickets at a train station in Spain last year. The machines accepted cash (I think) or credit card. But they only accepted contactless payment credit card that have this symbol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactless_payment

This was not at all obvious from the context (and I speak Spanish, as well). At first, I couldn't figure out why the transactions of the others were not working. We were four adults at three separate ticket machines, all with recently renewed US-based credit cards, and out of our 8 chipped cards or so, only one of the cards (my Capital One) had this symbol and would work (even the Capital One cards of the others didn't have that symbol). So I bought the tickets for everyone. Also, it didn't ask for a pin (and I don't think I even have one for my credit cards).

On the ATM issue mentioned by the OP, I am pretty sure I used the same banks as the OP, and never saw this, so it might be new there. OP: Thanks for the alert!
Contact-less payment is very common in Europe and this is why rate of acceptance for Applepay in some countries is very high. In the past american cards often did not the feature but recently is very common. Even my new card from Chase (CSR) has it contrary to my assumption that it was not possible due to the metal construction.
However one should use Applepay and equivalents, they are faster than normal chip reading and more secure than regular contacless due to the print/face ID. Depending on the country the acceptance could be up to 99% (including snack/soda/coffee/public transportation ticket vending machines).
bberris wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:53 am
ATMs in Mexico also try to pull this scam. A screen comes up that says, "accept charge of US$ xx" or some such. You push decline or cancel, as if you don't want to draw cash at all. Then the pesos get delivered at nearly the real exchange rate!
That is a good point! Usually when I see this I have both options on my screen and obvious what to do.

international001
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by international001 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:45 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am
international001 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:28 am
I routinely withdraw money from Spanish ATMs and never saw this problem. Make sure you take out the money in Euros, or you'll be charge extra. But this is usually about 3%. Same problem you will have if you do purchases with CC. Make sure to use Euros

The ATM fee is about 5 Euros, but most times you are warned in advanced. Santander and BBVA used not to have it, but a couple of years ago they started having it again (and w/o warning, that pissed me off).

For the ones without fee, try Bankinter and Bankia. The only ones AFAIK that don't charge it
Add Deutsche Bank to the list of those who don't charge it. They are in most of the larger Spanish cities.
I tried a few months ago and I got a fee

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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by international001 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:46 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:45 am
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am

Yes, you do need to use cash in Spain, especially if you want to participate in the Spanish ritual of eating tapas at locally-owned bars. Many of these bars are cash-only, and even when they do take cards, you feel stupid charging 3 Euros for your beer and a tapa.
Good to know.

I wouldn't feel stupid charging 3 Euros, however. I recently bought groceries with a $10 scan code resulting in 7 cents due. Went on my visa card. Way faster than cash.
Huh? Most local places (out of tourist areas) won't take credit card for 3 euros

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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by international001 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:49 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:57 am
Yes, if course I took out Euros.
I am not talking about a fee, as in a 5€ fee for the ATM. It may have been a DCC, but there was no choice. The note on the screen was a rate of 1.21 when the mid market rate is 1.12.
Yes. I checked my balances and the upcharge was about 8% . It is not my imagination or my math being wrong.
If it is DCC it is hidden in the language, same way an amendment vote on a ballot might be. Expressed as if you vote NO that means you are voting FOR something. Or vice versa. A play on the double negative.
Anyway I feel pretty stupid to have fallen for this. Had never seen it before.
Cost me about $60 on 800€.
Just to clarify.. you selected being charged in USD at the ATM, right? USually the charge is 3%. You got unlucky with an 8%

Best thing to do is take a small amount and try different banks, even better if you try different debit cards. Then check online what you were actually charged

international001
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by international001 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:52 pm

kramer wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:58 pm
As a related addendum, I was buying tickets at a train station in Spain last year. The machines accepted cash (I think) or credit card. But they only accepted contactless payment credit card that have this symbol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactless_payment

This was not at all obvious from the context (and I speak Spanish, as well). At first, I couldn't figure out why the transactions of the others were not working. We were four adults at three separate ticket machines, all with recently renewed US-based credit cards, and out of our 8 chipped cards or so, only one of the cards (my Capital One) had this symbol and would work (even the Capital One cards of the others didn't have that symbol). So I bought the tickets for everyone. Also, it didn't ask for a pin (and I don't think I even have one for my credit cards).

On the ATM issue mentioned by the OP, I am pretty sure I used the same banks as the OP, and never saw this, so it might be new there. OP: Thanks for the alert!
Ticket trains machines and other machines (like gas) are a beast of their own
They used to ask for the pin a few years ago. Now they don't. Some machines will not take a US credit card, some will

Worse experience was a starbucks machine that got my money but kept the coffee

international001
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by international001 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:56 pm

curmudgeon wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:21 am

It takes a discerning eye to avoid getting ripped off by atms in Europe these days.
IT's even worse in the other direction. Try a European card on US. No scam, just honest high fees.

And I don't understand why everybody is fixated on atms. It's the same when using a credit card.

bgreat
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by bgreat » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:22 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:02 pm
The exchange rate is determined by Visa. There is no fee for Schwab debit card. The exchange rate would be true of all Visa cards and will be slightly different than the Mastercard rate.

Here is the Visa exchange rate calculator. The exchange rate you get is when the purchase is processed, which may not be the date of the purchase itself.
https://usa.visa.com/support/consumer/t ... lator.html
That's still, fundamentally, a fee.

(It's hard to beat admittedly, but not impossible.)

02nz
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by 02nz » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:27 pm

international001 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:49 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:57 am
Yes, if course I took out Euros.
I am not talking about a fee, as in a 5€ fee for the ATM. It may have been a DCC, but there was no choice. The note on the screen was a rate of 1.21 when the mid market rate is 1.12.
Yes. I checked my balances and the upcharge was about 8% . It is not my imagination or my math being wrong.
If it is DCC it is hidden in the language, same way an amendment vote on a ballot might be. Expressed as if you vote NO that means you are voting FOR something. Or vice versa. A play on the double negative.
Anyway I feel pretty stupid to have fallen for this. Had never seen it before.
Cost me about $60 on 800€.
Just to clarify.. you selected being charged in USD at the ATM, right? USually the charge is 3%. You got unlucky with an 8%

Best thing to do is take a small amount and try different banks, even better if you try different debit cards. Then check online what you were actually charged
The charge is higher than 3%. When I've gotten stuck with DCC (because the merchant claimed "there's no other way") I've calculated it the DCC surcharge to be 5-6% for credit cards. At ATMs it's more like 7-9%.

(3% is the standard fee charged by those U.S. credit cards that charge one. However, if you select DCC, your credit card company will still charge that 3% on the amount converted to USD, because it's technically a "foreign transaction fee.")

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Nate79
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Nate79 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:07 pm

bgreat wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:22 pm
Nate79 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:02 pm
The exchange rate is determined by Visa. There is no fee for Schwab debit card. The exchange rate would be true of all Visa cards and will be slightly different than the Mastercard rate.

Here is the Visa exchange rate calculator. The exchange rate you get is when the purchase is processed, which may not be the date of the purchase itself.
https://usa.visa.com/support/consumer/t ... lator.html
That's still, fundamentally, a fee.

(It's hard to beat admittedly, but not impossible.)
Typically the exchange rate on visa exchange and the market rate is more like 0.1%-0.2%. But it fluctuates all over the place. It's not fixed but since all of the cards (visa, mastercard, etc) will have this small difference in their exchange rate I don't see how you would get around it - any card purchase overseas will have this small miniscule rate difference. But regardless, the quoted exchange rates are not actually the rate you can actually get on the street so likely the Visa exchange rate is about the best you can do in real life.

bgreat
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by bgreat » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:44 am

Nate79 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:07 pm
Typically the exchange rate on visa exchange and the market rate is more like 0.1%-0.2%. But it fluctuates all over the place. It's not fixed but since all of the cards (visa, mastercard, etc) will have this small difference in their exchange rate I don't see how you would get around it - any card purchase overseas will have this small miniscule rate difference. But regardless, the quoted exchange rates are not actually the rate you can actually get on the street so likely the Visa exchange rate is about the best you can do in real life.
Nope - it's not the best (but perhaps the cheapest convenient method). You can exchange money on the market e.g. at Interactive Brokers (costs USD 2, but gets you market rate), transfer to a local bank account (hard, but getting easier with services such as Revolut and Transferwise borderless at least for EUR and potentially some other European currencies), withdraw local cash for free and/or pay with the local currency for free.

That is more inconvenient, but if you're making a sufficiently large purchase when travelling the pain might be worth it. Also worth it if you live in that country and make regular purchases there (aka the immigrant/"expat" usecase).

For a purchase greater than 200 USD, the conversion fee at IB is already lower than the 0.5% fee from Visa (you should increase that amount a bit more to cover spread on the market though). Someone permanently spending in non-USD is definitely going to save money not using the card.

To be fair, you get increased exchange rate risk if you're converting in advance. Such is life. But it goes both ways anyway...

UpperNwGuy
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:37 pm

international001 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:45 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am
international001 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:28 am
I routinely withdraw money from Spanish ATMs and never saw this problem. Make sure you take out the money in Euros, or you'll be charge extra. But this is usually about 3%. Same problem you will have if you do purchases with CC. Make sure to use Euros

The ATM fee is about 5 Euros, but most times you are warned in advanced. Santander and BBVA used not to have it, but a couple of years ago they started having it again (and w/o warning, that pissed me off).

For the ones without fee, try Bankinter and Bankia. The only ones AFAIK that don't charge it
Add Deutsche Bank to the list of those who don't charge it. They are in most of the larger Spanish cities.
I tried a few months ago and I got a fee
I used Deutsche Bank ATMs in both Madrid and Granada in May 2019 without being charged a fee. The BBVA ATM, however, did charge me a fee, and Schwab reimbursed that.

Topic Author
Shallowpockets
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Shallowpockets » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:11 pm

I am curious why people caution to take money out in Euros when a person is in a country that uses Euros.
What else would you take out, and could you take out other than Euros, and why would you?
Does anyone go to an ATM in Europe with the intention to take out currencies other than the local currency?

curmudgeon
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by curmudgeon » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:30 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:11 pm
I am curious why people caution to take money out in Euros when a person is in a country that uses Euros.
What else would you take out, and could you take out other than Euros, and why would you?
Does anyone go to an ATM in Europe with the intention to take out currencies other than the local currency?
The point is to not let the ATM charge your account dollars, while delivering local currency. That's the new scam; they offer to give you the local currency at a specified (lousy) exchange rate rather than the unknown (but good) interbank rate.

Gnirk
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by Gnirk » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:16 am

A big "thank you" to the OP for posting this. I just returned from Avignon, France, and when I used the BNP Paraibus ATM, it displayed a conversion amount and consent as" Yes" or "No". If it hadn't been for this posting, I would not have known to select "no". It was an 11% difference, or double the exchange rate if I had naively selected "yes".

I also warned my two daughters who were traveling with me to be careful as well.
I did not come across this issue when I used my Visa card at different merchants.

BTW, when I used this same ATM four years ago, there was no conversion amount.

international001
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by international001 » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:48 am

Since we are talking about Spain and FRance...

I found it interesting that when I went to Androrra, I didn't see any conversion option (for Visa purchases)

flarf
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Re: FYI, Spanish bank ATMs

Post by flarf » Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:54 pm

Had a 12% conversion fee show up on an ATM in the arrivals hall at the airport in Barcelona. Crazy.

Big green "ACCEPT" button with a much less obvious button to decline next to it.

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