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US ATM surcharges?

Oslo, Norway
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US ATM surcharges?

I'm leaving for the U.S. in a couple of days, and have started to wonder if I should bring with me a little more cash than the $250 "pocketmoney" already withdrawn from a local ATM here in Norway. I'm planning on mostly using credit cards throughout the trip, but of course one can't get past the need for cash in some circumstances, so I'll also be bringing my VISA debitcard to do some ATM withdrawls locally.

I've been reading a little bit about ATMs in the States and how different ATM-providers (local banks, national banks etc.) can vary greatly in the fees/surcharges they demand for foreign debit- and creditcards, but that most tend to think they are pretty high. But then I started thinking that withdrawing foreign currency locally here in Norway often also carries with it a somewhat substantial fee, depending on which bank you're a customer at, and which banks ATM you withdraw the foregn currency from (The bank I'm a customer at does not have any ATMs of its own, so for my $250 pocketmoney withdraw I was charged a fee of approx $5/£3.2/€3.8 at another banks ATM)

My own bank does not apply any fees when using ATMs abroad (apart from a 1,75% overhead charge on the amount withdrawn), so what I'm curious about now, is this: I know the fees may differ greatly between the ATM-providers in the States, but how large do these fees for withdrawls with foregin debit/credit-cards tend to be on average?

EDIT: I post this in the California forum since we will be flying into LAX, and spend most of our time in California and Arizona.

Edited: 12 September 2013, 10:15
Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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1. Re: US ATM surcharges?

My recollection is that the withdrawal fee varied between $2.50 and $5 when using an Australian card. Ask your bank whether it has a partnership with an American bank that allows fee-free withdrawals.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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2. Re: US ATM surcharges?

You will be able to use your credit card for everything!

I rarely have any cash with me and use my credit card for all purchases(even small ones)

It is much easier than in many European countries where many small places want only cash. You'll need cash for tips except in restaurants where you can add the tip onto your credit card in addition to the amount for the restaurant bill.

The ATM fee should be shown at the ATM itself so it won't be a complete surprise.

I agree that it is a small $2-$3 amount.

Edited: 12 September 2013, 13:19
Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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3. Re: US ATM surcharges?

Approximately $3 per withdrawal. Then exchange the larger bills for $1 bills for convenient tip money. We like to tip housekeeping & airport shuttle drivers and always tip in cash at restaurants.

Anaheim, California
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4. Re: US ATM surcharges?

Not sure if it will work for you, but a popular way to avoid ATM surcharges using a Debit Card in the USA is to request "Cash Back" when making a purchase at many major stores and supermarkets/grocery stores.

Say you spend $60.52 cents at the supermarket, and swipe your debit card, many places will give you up to $100 back in cash. But the transaction goes to the bank as a single $160.52 purchase, so no extra fees.

Comes in handy when you want just a bit of "walking around" money.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: US ATM surcharges?

>>My own bank does not apply any fees when using ATMs abroad (apart from a 1,75% overhead charge on the amount withdrawn)

Just to clarify, does that mean that they don't charge a foreign exchange conversion fee but just the 1.75% overhead fee. If so that is good.

As mentioned by Riff M and half-brit, you should be able to use your card in lieu of cash everywhere. When we travel abroad we use our ATM card to do larger in frequent withdrawals so there the fees are minimum. and our Credit card has no foreign conversion or usage fee. At the end of the day if you do say a few withdrawals, it is a small fraction of what you pay for the trip so I would not worry much about it.

Anaheim, California
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6. Re: US ATM surcharges?

Ok, next week at this time, headed to Vancouver, Canada for the weekend. Our plan, use the Credit and Debit card for most things, but will need some cash for things like paying the taxi from the Train Station to the Hotel, and some coins, including those lovely Loonies and Toonies. ($1 and $2 coins, as unlike America, Canada's smallest bill is $5). Also, first time back to Canada that they wont have a penny (they round to the nearest 5 cents for cash sales).

So the question is how to get money for the Taxi to the Hotel, and that will more than likely be a withdrawal from an ATM at the station. After that, we plan to ask the Hotel as for a good place to get some "walking" around money. Since we will only be there for 4 days, we don't want to deal with exchanging the Canadian Money back to US funds, which of course, would be a second charge.

But since the current exchange rate is $1.03 Canadian for an US Dollar, I think many places will except US funds at an even rate, which gives them a bit of a profit that can be used to pay the bank fees.

So rely mainly on your plastic, but be prepared to have some cash for a few places that still don't take plastic.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: US ATM surcharges?

I don't think comparing a visit from Seattle to Vancouver and using US $ and Canadian $ is the same as coming from Norway where they use Kroner to the US where we use US$.

We've gone back and forth between US and Canada on both the coasts and have had little issues as they do accept both in the tourist area but again that is not the same as accepting a Krone.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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8. Re: US ATM surcharges?

The bulk of Americans that PlatypusTaunter will meet probably will only have an approximate idea of where Norway even is . . .

[she says in a dry tone].

9. Re: US ATM surcharges?

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