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Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

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Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

I am planning a two stay in Guatemala next summer but I am concerned about these ATM scams that I have learned about on this forum. I have never used a prepaid credit/ atm card before and am thinking that it my be a solution. Does anyone know if they are as easy to use as any other ATM card? I was also thinking about just changing cash. I'll be doing a homestay with 3 meals so I other than paying for an excursion or two and buying a few souvenirs, I cant imagine needing too much money anyway. Any thoughts? I just am a bit worried about using my regular ATM card while in Guatemala.

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Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
Lake Atitlan
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for Lake Atitlan
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1. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

The prepaid cards may be a good alternative, especially if you can keep the balance very low, and add to it as you need. Great idea.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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2. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

If you had a back up idea and were maintaining a balance small enough that losing it wouldn't ruin your trip, this might be great. My concern is that my bank wouldn't hold me accountable for an ATM fiasco where other people removed funds from account, but I think with a debit card you'd be stuck.

Ideas and info here:

http://www.creditcards.org/prepaid?lp=1

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3. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

I called both my credit card company and my bank today. The bank said that I could open a separate account that would not be linked to my savings or checking. I would just leave a small amount in that third account for Guatemala.The prepaid card could be valuable to as I would be reimbursed if someone skimmed it.

I would also think that if this was happening over and over again in Guatemala, something would be done to stop it or am I naive? Well it sure is inconvenient. I sort of miss the days of travelers checks. Now is that a possibility? Are there banks in Antigua that will cash them? Thank you.

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Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
Antigua
Antigua
Sacatepequez Department, Guatemala
Port Richey, Florida
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4. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

I've never had any problem using my debit card in guatemala. I have used my MC card outside the BAC bank in GC and my Visa card at Bankrural in Livingston without any problem. And I always have a separate bank account with enough funds just to cover my expenses when I travel. That way if it gets stuck or I lose it or something happen to it, I will only lose the money in that account. And nowadays because of computer hackers I have money spread it out in five different banks.

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Livingston
Livingston
Rio Dulce, Guatemala
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5. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

I think that having a separate account just for travel will be the way to go. I will bring a back up of maybe $200 in cash and one prepaid ATM card. Its too bad that this has become a reality of our times. Its enough to have to worry about pick pocketers when we travel and now this. Oh well I guess prevention is the best defense.

nunya, bizness
3 posts
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6. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

Whether you get a prepaid ATM or use your regular one, change your PIN once you return home. That way they won't get a dime of your money. I'm a victim of this type of crime and I can't believe that the travel alerts aren't suggesting this simple solution.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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7. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

A good idea! It won't help for losses during the trip, though. Ex: This summer we're starting with 3 days in Antigua and won't return home for nearly a month.

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Antigua
Antigua
Sacatepequez Department, Guatemala
nunya, bizness
3 posts
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8. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

Some banks will allow you to change your PIN over the phone. If yours does, then that may be a better solution for you while you're still travelling.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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9. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

I've decided to set up a travel-specific account with a different bank with surprisingly low ATM fees. I'll put part of what I need in to start and then transfer in as needed, watching the balance online. Thanks again for posting.

Bethesda, MD
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10. Re: Using prepaid ATM cards and cash as an alternative

I just use cash and travelers checks. I have a credit card for emergencies, and for hotels, but I wouldn't put one in an ATM.