We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pre Paid Visa card

Massachusetts, USA
Level Contributor
986 posts
22 reviews
Save Topic
Pre Paid Visa card

We will be purchasing a pre-paid visa card here in the US for travel to Greece. Will we be able to use it in an ATM machine at the Athens airport to get euros to pay for the taxi? Would we also be able to use it like a credit card in Athens and islands to buy things or would it be better to withdraw money from it? Does it work the same as an ATM card?

Thanks

Mentioned in this post
Greece
Greece
Europe
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

Hey again Karen:-) Would think the pre-paid is good on charges..NOT for cash..too many fees involved! Why not just use a debit card that is attached to either your savings or checking account for cash?! Most debit cards are VISA or MC anyway but not good for charge use IMO! Is there any specific reason for even getting a pre-paid..guess it's a good way to keep track on your expenses/funds given an alloted amount! Enjoy!

xr
Athens
Level Contributor
37 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

Hello, I think a prepaid card works exactly like an ATM card, the difference is that it’s much safer because usually the money in that account is not all our savings. The Greek airport has ATM machines you can use so you’ll have money for the taxi, but why don’t you exchange 100E for taxi (and your first needs) at home?

My opinion is not to use any card if that’s possible (too many fees as litsa said before),

If you want the safety of a prepaid card (and not want to carry all the money you’re going to need from day one), you can have in cash something like $600 and exchange it (not in the airport), then if this money is not enough you can use the prepaid card to have some more. This way you won’t carry too much cash but you are certain that you won’t run out of money!

I understand that it’s safer with the card but you have to consider that either way, you must carry cash with you, in Greek islands you won’t be able in some places to pay with a card…

I hope you’ll enjoy Greece!!!!

Mentioned in this post
Greece
Greece
Europe
Massachusetts, USA
Level Contributor
986 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

Thank you XR and Litsa

I will go with the pre paid Visa and will definitely have cash on hand. Yikes Im scared to see what the final bill will be when we get home....LOL I just want to enjoy! I will get some euro's here at my bank before we go but the rate today is 1.5907 WOW!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

..NOT a good idea, IMO:-) Lousy exchange rate.. You'd be MUCH better off just using your bank ATM at the airport for cash! Nonetheless, if you just want to get a hundred Euros or so for the airport, first day, etc., up to you..but you'd still need an ATM soon enough, whether IN Athens proper..or wherever you'll be travelling! I always find the airport a great place to 'load up' a bit on cash..leaves me free from concerns on where I'll find my next ATM immediately;) Keep enjoyin'!

Massachusetts, USA
Level Contributor
986 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

Litsa.....

I dont have a bank ATM card and If i order one I wont get it in time. I have no choice but to use a pre paid visa or bring lots of US cash which would scare me! My bank said it would charge me $6 every time i use it in a machine and it also charges a 3% exchange fee if I use the card to pay for things at stores/restaurants....etc. Either way there will be fees. It sucks! BRING BACK THE DRACHMAS!!!!!!! What does everyone else do?????

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

lol..drachmas were good;-) Don't know what bank you've got (since they can usually accommodate pretty quickly!) Nonetheless, sounds like you've got your bases covered considering..just beware on the pre-paids since they, too, charge fees so hopefully you'll get a balance with your receipt so you'll know where you're at;-) Enjoyin'!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

...I just re-read..am I to understand it's $6 + 3% everytime you dunk?! Well then I'd hit it good on the first shot AT the airport! Enjoyin'!

Komotini, Greece
Level Contributor
2,850 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

Karen,

I got one of those pre-paid Visa cards as a gift; but after seeing how many charges they apply to using it, I sold it for face value and deposited the money in my checking account! Too many fees!!

To answer your question what do other people do... I have a debit card that doesn't have fees for international ATM withdrawals. It gets hit with a 1% VISA transaction fee (couldn't find a way out of that, it's new as of April 09), but other than that, no fees or charges, and it gets the best rate available! Any fee that the local ATM charges is refunded directly to my account. It's attached to a secondary account (no checks) and I move money onto it from my checking account only as I need it (which I do electronically). As long as I have internet access, I can keep it around $100 on the card, so if I lose it or it gets stolen, the most that they could spend would be $100. I never carry my "real" debit card unless I want to make a large purchase, I keep that at home. I do everything over the internet so it's instantaneous. Well, I guess it's too late for you to do that but in the future it might be an option. Incidentally the company I use for my fee-free Visa card is Charles Schwab which is an investment firm; since they handle my stock portfolio and my retirement account as well it's quite convenient, and totally paperless. Since they don't have their own ATMs, they don't make you pay to use anyone else's. There are other banks that have fee-free cards for international use as well, that's just the one I use.

Hope you get it all sorted out to your satisfaction :)

Massachusetts, USA
Level Contributor
986 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

Litsa.....

The debit card will charge me $6 everytime i use it at an atm machine. If I use the card to pay for something at a shop/rest/or cafe etc they will charge me 3% of the total charge but not $6. Sorry If I'm not making sense.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Pre Paid Visa card

..still pretty hefty! That rate you mention above..looked a bit much and just checked..it's tettering at 1.40..where did you get that outrageous rate anyway?! Trust it's not what your bank is offering?!