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Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

Denver, CO
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Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

I'm considering taking a Visa Debit Gift Card to Paris next week to allivate the need to take lots of cash. Both my ATM and Credit cards charge "junk" fees to withdraw money and charge overseas. Even though the fine print on the debit gift card says it can be used worldwide, I just want to see if that is true in Paris. It is a Visa Debit card, that I can "pump up" with dollars to use. Anybody have any experience with how widely accepted Visa debit cards are in Paris?Will I have problems, or does it act just like my regular debit card would here in the US??

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks

Florida
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17,117 posts
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1. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

Have you read the small print about "fees"...? I'm not sure it would be any cheaper than your regular cards and would still incur the 'foreign curr transaction' charges.

The Visa website says 'most' of these cards do not come with a PIN, which means you couldn't get cash with it. Also, it doesn't seem that Gift Cards are reloadable.

Which specific card are you looking at? There are different kinds so you have to be careful what you're buying. (big difference between a Visa Debit card and a Visa Gift Card).

London, UK
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2. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

Wouldn't it be better to take one of the prepaid cards specifically designed for travelling? That way it's denominted in the currency of the country you're visiting with out fees. I always take an AMEX Travellers Cheque Card when I visit the US charged with dollars.

Ohio, USA
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3. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

Regardless of transaction fees and foreign currency charges, I have yet to see ANY type of card that will save money when compared with the ordinary use of ATM and credit cards.

The cards that are loaded with a foreign currency are a particularly poor option IMO as the exchange rates are less than interesting and there are usually fairly hefty hidden charges with these cards. Perhaps that is not true of cards purchased in the UK and loaded with US$. The US cards are just one small step better than traveller's cheques, which are useful only as emergency back-up for people who are nervous about using their ATM card away from home.

That's my 0.0157€ worth at today's exchange rate. YMMV...

Fort Lauderdale...
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for Fort Lauderdale
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4. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

The AMEX Traveler's Card has been cited by Consumer's Report as being a particularly bad buy- full of hidden fees- you are charged a fee every time you check your balance and for a variety of other things most cards do for free.

Virginia
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5. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

Has anyone used a AAA Visa TravelMoney card? This is supposed to work just like a debit/Visa card, but since you load the card with cash before you go, you aren't charged fees from the U.S. when you use it in Europe. We are considering getting one for our trip. If we put at least $500 on it, we will only have to pay $6.95, which includes two cards.

I was just wondering if anyone has used this card before....

Florida
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6. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

There are a host of fees assoc.w/ AAA Travel Money Card:

Fees

The minimum card load is $250, the minimum order is $300, maximum order $1,500

* * * There is an activation fee of $4.95.

Reloads are $250 minimum by calling (866) 339 3378 or online at www.aaa.com/prepaid cards.

A second card can be taken for a fee of $2.00

* * * Card cash out fee is $15

Orders over $500 receive free 2-day delivery, upgrades to next-day and priority overnight are available for additional cost.

Orders under $500 pay $7.00 for 2-day delivery, upgrades to next-day and priority overnight are available for additional cost.

Card life is 24 months, an optional monthly statement can be ordered for $0.50 per month,

* * * Inquiries by phone are $0.50 each, there is a $1.25 monthly maintenance fee after 12 months of inactivity. No fee for ATM balance inquiries.

Online balance inquiries are free at www.aaa.com/prepaidcards

* * * Cash advance fee (in-bank) $10, $350 limit per advance

ATM withdrawals in the US are subject to daily and weekly maximum amounts of $350 a day and $850 a week, maximum international withdrawal $2000 per 24 hour period.

* * *ATM withdrawal fee: Domestic: $2.50

* * * International: $2.00

Reload fee: Free (maximum of 3 reloads per card life)

Halifax, England
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7. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

I'd just use your normal ATM card for cash, and your Visa card for any larger purchases. You'll make up in the exchange rate what you lose in fees, in my experience. There are ATMs all over the place.

Ohio, USA
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8. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

As I may have remarked before...

Regardless of transaction fees and foreign currency charges, I have yet to see ANY type of card that will save money when compared with the ordinary use of ATM and credit cards.

Besides the charges, be wary of the exchange rate you will be paying if you use the AAA card. It does not appear to be specified how that is calculated. I wouldn't use it myself.

This thread actually persuaded me to get around doing something I had been putting off for a month. At least part of most of my trips is tax-deductible, so I need to keep careful records for my accountant who has an amazing ability to find deductions that would never occur to me. Just as long as she can persuade the IRS she is right, should it ever come to that...

But I digress...

Anyway I just punched in all the details from my last trip. As long as I was doing that I took a look at the exchange rate I was paying and compared it to the ForEx rate over the same period. Basically I was paying $1.286 for every Euro. The average ForEx rate over the period was $1.267. IOW I am paying about 1.6% including all feees, charges and everything else. I do not pay charges when I use my ATM card overseas. I keep an account at a small local bank that allows free foreign currency withdrawals. Strangely I *will* be charged if I use the card in any ATM other than theirs within the US. Go figure...

I know I pay a bit more for CC use than I do for cash withdrawals, but I prefer not to carry a lot of cash so I use my CC for larger amounts. (Besides my accountant gives me stick if I have too many cash expenses...)

USA
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9. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

>>>I do not pay charges when I use my ATM card overseas<<<

Even if your own issuing bank doesn't add its own '..foreign transaction fee..' to the transaction......all VISA or M/C branded ATM / Debit cards incur a charge of 1%, imposed by the network...but this charge is usually '..buried..' within the exchange rate calculation.

One of the relatively new '..wrinkles..' to be avoided in using either conventional credit or ATM/Debit card is something commonly referred to as '..Dynamic Currency Conversion..'. This is a process that is done at the point-of-purchase terminal that automatically converts a foreign currency charge into the currency of your local account and makes the charge in your home-currency.

Sounds convenient, doesn't it ?? and it is....except that it is a rip-off. To begin with, the terminal uses it's own rate of exchange (usually independent of any average daily interbank rate. Then, even though the transaction is processed in your local currency, the network STILL recognizes it as a '..foreign transaction..' and imposed that fee anyway.

So if you are presented with the choice of having your bill converted and charged in your home currency......JUST SAY NO, THANK YOU...and insist (if necessary) on local currency.

Ohio, USA
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10. Re: Visa Debit Gift Cards in Paris

>>> Even if your own issuing bank doesn't add its own '..foreign transaction fee..' to the transaction......all VISA or M/C branded ATM / Debit cards incur a charge of 1%, imposed by the network...but this charge is usually '..buried..' within the exchange rate calculation. <<<

Quite true. Because I had no need to I hadn't bothered to break out the ATM transactions from the CC transactions when I made the conversion I talked about. Now that I have, prompted by KDK's post, I see that I am apparently losing only about 0.84% on my ATM transactions. What this means is that my average figure for the ForEx rate must have been a bit off. To be absolutely accurate I would have needed to use the ForEx rate for every posting date for each separate transaction, something I wasn't going to waste the time doiing. So my actual cost across the board was probably closer to 2% than 1.6%. Still a better deal than I could get any other way...