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08/11/17 Personal Finance , Travel # ,

Avoiding ATM Headaches in Europe When You Need Cash

Avoiding ATM Headaches in Europe When You Need Cash

With free lodging, many things already paid for and a credit card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, our vacation to Europe in July didn’t require having much cash on hand. Still, it’s smart to always have some local currency in your pocket when traveling, and a local ATM is the best way to get it.

Or so I thought.

ATM fees added up during our trip to nearly $200, mainly because I erred in figuring out which banks in Europe had a relationship with our bank in the U.S. That’s not a ton of money lost in fees, but it’s annoying because I thought I could get away without paying much in ATM fees.

ATM fees added up

Before getting into the ways I learned to get around ATM fees — beyond just using a no-transaction fee credit card during the entire trip — it’s worth quickly explaining how they work. There are different charges by different parties when you use an ATM:

  • Your U.S. bank will charge a flat fee of $5 or so each time you use a foreign bank’s ATM. This can be avoided by using a partner bank.
  • The foreign bank will charge a percentage fee on the amount withdrawn. I was charged from 3-8% in transaction fees, though when using a bank affiliated with my U.S. bank, the fee was 3%.
  • The foreign ATM sometimes charged a $5 fee also.
  • A $5 fee was also charged when using my U.S. debit card at a grocery store.

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01/17/17 Saving #

Credit Unions vs. Big Banks? What You Should Think About in 2017

Do you sometimes wonder what the practical differences are between banks and credit unions? Whether you’re using the right one for the right services?

Banks and credit unions are both traditional financial institutions that arguably have more in common with each other than they have differences, but the things that do set them apart are significant.

This article will cover their similarities, what sets them each apart, and when one is typically better for your needs than the other.

For-Profit vs. Non-Profit

The most fundamental difference is that banks are set up as for-profit financial institutions while credit unions are non-profit. Banks are owned by investors. Credit unions are cooperatives and their customers are referred to as their “members” because the credit union is technically owned by all of them.

Many people feel that credit unions, on average, provide better customer support and that this is due to the fact that credit unions do not have outside investors to account to. Instead, they must account to their members, who are also their customers.

Who Can Join

Another difference is who can get an account or loan at each. Nearly anyone can become a customer at a traditional bank, although those with very poor credit or unpaid balances from other banks might have a difficult time opening a new account or getting a loan. However, credit unions don’t serve the general public like banks do. Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.