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Thread: Drawing money in the United States

  1. #1
    ‹bermensch
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    My wife and I visit Texas regularly and she spends at least eight weeks of every summer with her mother in San Antonio.

    Yesterday, she tried to draw a modest $100 from her NatWest account at an ATM in San Antonio only to receive a message to the effect that the card was not recognized. I have two accounts with LloydsTSB and both my cards were rejected also. We then tried several banks but with the same result. We had used our credit cards to pay for goods and services with no problems but we found that we could not draw cash on them.

    My wife phoned NatWest and was told that the card was rejected because of an unusual transaction despite being one that she makes several times a year. Never before has either of us had problems.

    We had both tried to inform our respective banks and credit card companies that we would be visiting the US but each of us was told that this information could not be recorded.

    So it's a Catch 22 situation. You can't advise the banks beforehand but you can still be stranded without any money because some wretched, unthinking computer believes that you are making an unusual transaction. We use our cards throughout Europe and the US and have never before experienced any difficulty,

    In future we shall keep an emergency reserve of cash.

  2. #2
    Ultra King Dave Mycroft's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip Hugh......now if you can just let us know when and where you're next going to be wandering around somewhere carrying a large stash of cash

  3. #3
    Mini Goon
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    As you go to the states regulary is it not poss to open a bank account there.And transfer funds from your uk bank,into it to use when visiting family.

    Or does all of this come under money laundering

  4. #4
    Ultra King Trevor D Gamble's Avatar
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    lol John. Thanks for the tip Hugh. I always try to ensure I get dollars travellers cheques to cash too plus most bigger store chains take them as cash anyways, always advisable as well as US currency in lots of small bill denominations! Try Libya then, all cash only there you know!!!!

  5. #5
    Mini Goon briwy's Avatar
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    Not just the States either.

    Ive had the same thing happen in France even though as we go regularly its obvious to the bank (LLoyds TSB) that it isn't a fraudulent transaction.

    I don't know if they are trying to be super cautious or just bloody inefficient.

  6. #6
    Widdler
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    Weird. It's not as if France or the US are suspicious places for British travellers. Like you, I have tended to get in touch with my bank before I go away but receieved the same "not necessary" answer. But I've had no trouble taking money out in non-first-world countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Albania. Weird.

  7. #7
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    When I visit the States I take a US$ denominated Visa Travel Card that I obtained from Co Op Travel. You "charge it up" with the amount of US$ you think you need and it is accepted at all ATMs and merchants that accept visa cards. A number of different suppliers do such cards. I suppose it is in effect a replacement for the travellers cheque.

    Not withstanding the above I always take a mastercard and American express credit cards and a visa debt card and have never had problems with refusal.

  8. #8
    Mini Goon
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    On the vaguely related topic of the cheapest way of withdrawing money abroad....Different banks add varying amounts to the conversion rate (typically c2.75% above the VISA rate; often with highminimum charges) when withdrawing money abroad.

    Nationwide used to not add anything at all, but recently started adding 1% for transactions in some countries (mainly those outside Europe). I believe there is no minimum charge. Despite this, as far as I know Nationwide is still the best deal (and certainly is within Europe).

    It's a better rate and more convinient than exchanging money in advance. I haven't checked recently but I think the conversion rate is also better thanthe pre-paid cards mentioned above (although with the pre-paidcards you"lock in" the exchange rate at the point you charge up the card).

    If you don't need cash the Post Office Credit card (which doesn't load the conversion rate) is now the cheapest way of buying things abroad.

  9. #9
    ‹bermensch
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    Thanks for the information.

    From some of the above posts it is clear that there are ways around the problem we have experienced. What makes us so cross is that we have used our bank and credit cards in foreign countries for years and have never before had problems.

    The final straw came today when my wife tried to use her credit card only to find that a stop had been put on it. When she telephoned the credit card company she was told that it was because she had tried to draw cash on it (this happened when none of our bank cards worked and we were testing the availability of her credit card).

  10. #10
    Mini Goon jezz dennison's Avatar
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    Hugh,

    it's a pain and it's so common. I have travelled a lot for work in recent years and my cards would be stopped pretty much any time I went anywhere (monthly basis sometimes)- the worst when I was an island off the E coast of Australia with nothing! I have found without exception with my bank that as long as they know who you are you, a phone call will sort things out immediately no matter what they say as long as you are persistent.

  11. #11
    Mini Goon briwy's Avatar
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    Ive started to carry a few travellers cheques again just in case the bank play funny.

    Best one yet for me was last year after I had booked a cheap hotel in France for an overnight on the way down to the Pyrenees. You have to check in at a machine with the credit card you booked with. Card wouldnt work and eventually managed to wake up the manager and get in. Rang the bank next day to be told they had stopped my card three days previously because of a suspect phone call. All very well but they hadn't bothered to tell me.

    No wonder the banks are in such a mess.

  12. #12
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    Just spotted this old thread ,the issue I have had in the US is the ATM recognising straight away my foreign card and not liking it. In deep Tennessee and elsewhere wildernessy my card was always viewed as suspect .Rather than have ATM's eat my card I went into banks I also had fun in some wild place walking into a drive in bank! I could not see the screen for sun glare and eventually had to go into the office.

    In banks I was asked for a US drivers licence ,I think they can verify your legit with the licence number ,their licence has photo on it and is often asked for as ID. Of course I do not have a US licence and my UK one was viewed with mirth ,mine is the old type -no photo. My card was verified by entering my passport number! I did carry two cards in case of ATM madness.

    Being almost cashless and several days from your next ATM concentrates the mind, nearly happened to me also in France- misjudged size of town,weekend and no ATM ,think possible three days without food.Vous avez cash back in the one shop? A good case for dire emergency currency being sewn into your lining somewhere.

  13. #13
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    I have a British bank account, and my bank has a branch in Gibraltar. On the one occasion I found myself in Gibraltar needing cash, my card wouldn't work at that bank. As it happened, I had another card with me, linked to an account in another country, and that card worked just fine. I took this up with my bank once I was back home. "How come I can't draw money with my card at a branch of my bank, when my bank will cheerfully pay up when I use a 'foreign' bank card." Their response was to shrug their shoulders and say they didn't know.

    Then again, some long-distance trails moreorless demand that you carry ALL your cash from start to finish, and if you're prepared to do that, then presumably it makes sense to carry ALL your cash for any other trail, so that you don't get jammed in the cogs of some stupid machine somewhere and lose precious days from your trip trying to sort it out.

    Anyway... look who's talking... I was once running very late and I was very tired, and rammed my card into an Italian 'bank' machine without really looking at it. It's only when the screen started displaying frightening error messages that I realised to my horror it was actually an automated video dispenser... not a bank machine at all! Fortunately my card got spat out after a couple of minutes, and I was able to go and look for a 'proper' bank machine.

  14. #14
    Widdler
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    Not had any problems drawing cash from ATMs but I had my card cancelled after booking French train tickets on their website.

  15. #15
    Goon Monkey Space Pilot's Avatar
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    I kind of like that they pick up on what appears to be unusual behaviour and stop cards, it shows they take security seriously. Everyone should be aware that it now happens and have several sources of money available.

    It is also worth having a mobile phone with you, and your bank & CC phone numbers programed in. I once had my maestro card refused at a cash machine in Holland, and before I had walked 10 paces the bank had phoned me to check that it was myself using the card, I was than able to go back to the machine and withdraw the money. I wouldn't necessarily have my phone turned on in many places, but having it there to make calls and sort out any problems makes sense.

  16. #16
    ‹bermensch LotC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Eaton View Post

    As you go to the states regulary is it not poss to open a bank account there.And transfer funds from your uk bank,into it to use when visiting family.
    It's perfectly possible and sensible if you are a frequent traveller to the USA. I opened a bank account a few years ago when the USD was very weak.

    You need to complete the relevant IRS forms to ensure interest is paid.

  17. #17
    ‹bermensch
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    Anyone able to correct my thoughts of getting money out of an ATM using a debit card is the cheapest way to go, and its cheaper to use the PO credit card than draw money out with it and spend it .

    Beware having irate wife by withdrawing max daily amount abroad which can leave her at the checkout with invalid card for that day.

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