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#5843 - 06/27/03 11:19 PM Hidden charges on credit cards.
JA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/01
Posts: 116
Loc: usa
I have just posted [in the Safety and Crime Section] the main p#s of an LA Times article describing the 3% that your c/c will charge you when you charge expenses outside the US.

I am posting this reference here because lodging is generally the biggest expense, particularly when hotels ask you for a c/c number when you make your reservations. You may think that 3% is nothing but in a grand you are giving the c/c company 30 dls. Any refunds (like cancellations or taxes) will also carry s 3% charge.

The solution, which I use as often as I can, is to get money through an ATM directly from your bank. My bank charges one dollar for each transaction if it is done outside its network of branches. In Spain I simply go to a large national bank and get euros and pay the dollar later{for those who are shy, all the machines display an english menu)

Hope this helps you save enough for a few tapas and some brewskies.



#5844 - 06/28/03 05:29 AM Re: Hidden charges on credit cards.
Eddie Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/05/00
Posts: 1713
Loc: Phila., PA, USA
Some Credit Card (C/C) issuers charge up to four percent "foreign currency transaction fee." I posted some info on this many moons ago. If you can contact the correct person at Customer Services for your C/C you can get the rate your C/C addds on. That, in itself (i.e., finding someone who knows what you're talking about) is a challenge. eek

I personally use a Credit Union ATM Card (no transaction fee) to withdraw cash and pay cash for as much as possible. That's easier now - with the Euro. rolleyes

#5845 - 06/28/03 09:27 AM Re: Hidden charges on credit cards.
Antonio Offline

Executive Member

Registered: 05/07/00
Posts: 1176
Loc: Madrid (Spain)
Juan, at my hostel we don't take credit cards due the the high commission banks charge us to take them. I don't know who makes this "extra charges" but it must be either the bank of the company that issues the credit card.

Hostels don't any get anything from these charges. Instead, they are charged by the bank!!.
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#5846 - 07/02/03 02:13 AM Re: Hidden charges on credit cards.
druship Offline

Registered: 03/04/01
Posts: 52
Loc: Chicago, IL
Another option, if you can afford it since it comes directly out of your checking account, is to use a debit card (check with your bank first though), as even though it runs through the visa/mastercard network, you usually don't have the foreign interchange add-on expense you mention here. Not to badmouth a Big bank In/of America, but I noticed they add a surcharge to my purchases when I buy things from Spanish websites. My debit card, however, which can be used just like a credit card, doesn't have that surcharge. Of course, like Antonio said, if you can just withdraw the cash, it's easier.

#5847 - 07/02/03 11:11 AM Re: Hidden charges on credit cards.
Quixotic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 3
Loc: Washington D.C.
Even if you just withdraw cash from ATM's and you use your credit card, its considered a "cash advance" and there is a 3% fee attached to all cash advances from your credit card company. Besides the places that dont take credit cards, i would want to use my credit card so i am not forced to carry too much cash on me. Lost or stolen credit cards can always be cancelled and replaced within 24hrs but not cash. Keep that in mind.

#5848 - 07/11/03 11:37 PM Re: Hidden charges on credit cards.
JA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/01
Posts: 116
Loc: usa

Saludos! That was my point in a way. The C/C company makes about 5 to 7 percent per transaction, taking a little from the card holder and a little from the small merchant (or big merchant for that matter).

The solution is to use the C/C only as the last resort and to get money directly from your bank via your ATM access. I have done this in Spain, Portugal and S. America and Canada. I save a minimum of 30 bucks per 1000 dls spent. That is enough for a nice lunch for two. To get money from your C/C company is even worse.




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