Whether you're going to Barbados or the Balkans on your next trip abroad, the chances are you'll be using at least one foreign ATM at some point. There are some subtle differences when it comes to withdrawing money abroad which means that using these overseas cashpoints isn't always straightforward. Before you head off, read some of our best tips on using foreign ATMs.
The one rule you should know
There's one simple rule you should know when withdrawing money abroad. When the ATM asks if you'd like to be charged in your home currency, always say no. Instead, always choose to be charged in the local currency - for example, euros if you're in the Eurozone, and dollars if you're in the US. Saying no to the bank's tempting offer of converting your withdrawal into your home currency means you'll also be saying no to their hiked up exchange rate, which is designed to maximise their profit. This practice is known as Dynamic Currency Conversion and basically means that the foreign bank can charge you any exchange rate they like. So, remember the simple rule of saying no when it comes to on-the-spot conversions and you'll save yourself a tidy sum each time you use the ATM.
Avoid independent ATMs
When choosing which ATM to use, you should always avoid independent ATMs. These are ATMs that aren't affiliated with a particular bank, but are instead named things like Cashzone, Travelex, and Euronet. Most of the time, these ATMs will have high fees and will also try to trick you with the kind of Dynamic Currency Conversion we mentioned above.
Don't use your credit card
Unless you absolutely have no alternative, it's best not to use your credit card for withdrawals, or you'll incur a high cash advance interest rate. Of course, this won't be a problem if you're using an EasyFX prepaid currency card; find out more here.
Check your maximum withdrawal amount
Before you head off, make sure you're familiar with your card's maximum withdrawal amount. This is the maximum you can take out within 24 hours. Bear in mind also that the 24 hour period could be measured in your home country's time zone, so don't get caught out if you need to make a large withdrawal - leave yourself enough time in advance to withdraw the cash over a two day period.
Withdraw in larger amounts
If you're not using an EasyFX card, you'll be charged fees each time you make a withdrawal. So, try to take out larger amounts to avoid multiple withdrawals (and fees) in a short space of time.
Use ATMs in banking hours
It's best to use an ATM outside a bank during the bank's opening hours. That way, if you have any issues with the machine, there will always be someone inside to help you.
Before you go
Foreign transactions that suddenly show up on your account activity can trigger a fraud alert and cause your bank to freeze your account. Though this practice is becoming less common, it's a good idea to notify your bank that you're going away before you head off to avoid any mishaps. At the same time, it's also good to find out the number you should call from abroad if your card is lost or stolen. Keep this number somewhere safe, away from your wallet.
Introduction of 3D Secure for online EasyFX card payments
What is 3D Secure? 3D Secure, also known as a payer authentication, is a security process that helps to prevent fraud in online credit and debit card transactions. This additional security was created by Visa and MasterCard with an aim of making online shopping safer. How does it work? From now on, when you make an online payment with your currency card, you will be prompted to enter a code sent via SMS to the mobile number associated with that card. On entering the code successfully where directed your payment will be processed. Do I need to do anything? Please log in into your EasyFX account, go to “Cards”, “Cards list” and check that each currency card you hold has the correct mobile number associated to it. The mobile number should belong to the person who is using the card. 3DS is automatically applied to your EasyFX card. Note: With the introduction of 3D Secure, the card security setting for online transactions will change to a simple “On/Off”. By default the setting will be “ON” but you can turn this off any time through the card security settings and we recommend only enabling it when required. If you have any questions, please comment below or get in touch with our support team on +44 (0)20 7959 6995.
Using your EasyFX card on Paypal - Updated
PayPal is an online financial service that allows you to pay for items using a secure internet account. You add your bank account, credit card or debit card details and whenever you pay using PayPal, you can choose which of your cards or accounts it pays with. Many of our customers use their EasyFX card to make payments via PayPal, but found they were not able to take advantage of the great conversion rates we offer as their funds were being converted by Paypal at a less preferential value. We did some digging and have put together this quick guide to help you change the settings on your PayPal account and get billed in the currency that the seller has listed on their invoice. 1. Click on: Settings> Money, banks and cards> Manage Pre-approved Payments 2. Click on: Set Available Funding Sources 3. Select: Conversion Options 4. Select: Bill me in the currency listed on the seller's invoice 5. Finish! If you have any comments or questions, please let us know below. Thanks, The EasyFX team
Service Update August 2020- Card transaction and dormancy fees
In April we sent a communication advising that we would be waiving all domestic card POS and Online transaction fees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we are easing out of the restrictions, we will be reinstating these transactions fees as of 1st September 2020. International POS and online transactions continue to be free of charge. We also advised that we would be introducing a small monthly fee of £2 for cards that hadn’t been used in the last 12 months. This fee was due to be introduced from the 1st June, but we took the decision to delay this following the onset of the pandemic. This fee will now come into effect on Tuesday September 1st 2020. To avoid incurring this fee, simply use your EasyFX card to make a purchase between now and then. EasyFX remains committed to assisting our customers. So, whether you need help in activating and using your card or you need to order a replacement, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below and we will be delighted to assist you.