International ATMs


ATMs are very important to expats abroad as they are the easiest and cheapest way to get cash overseas. ATMs offer the biggest advantage when it comes to foreign currency exchange, because regardless of the size of the transaction, the exchange is based on the wholesale exchange rate. This is a privilege only reserved for interbank exchanges, and it is a lot better than the exchange rate you can get on a shop. It also saves you from paying extra fees from local banks and government money exchange bureaus. But everything isn't very easy breezy with ATM foreign currency transactions. There are certain international ATM usage fees, and some banks do not offer them at all. Let's take a look at how to get the best rates by using ATM cards, and the best ATM cards for international transactions.

International ATM Networks

Most ATM cards these days are already set up to be used internationally, however, it's always best to check with you bank if this feature has been activated, as most ATM cards need to be activated prior to usage.

ATM cards linked to Cirrus, PLUS, or Maestro networks, can generally be used for most countries around the world. Each of these networks have more than a million ATMs worldwide. These networks also offer an online ATM locator to point you to the right direction when you move. Just make sure you research it before you leave so you won't encounter any problems when you arrive in your new country of residence.

The links for the ATM locators for these networks can be found below:

  • Master Card                                          
  • Visa

International ATM Fees

Fees for international ATM transaction may vary depending on the bank that provided you with the ATM. It's always best to check with you bank about the fees for overseas transactions to make sure you don't get surprised when you receive your monthly balance. 

Some banks will charge the same transaction fees (if any) that they charge when you use another bank's ATM. However, most banks charge quite a lot for international ATM withdrawals. The fees can either be a flat rate of about $1 - $5 or a specific percentage of your total withdrawal. With all the possible fees, it's probably best to withdraw large sums of money through the ATM if you plan to do so while you're living abroad as that will be the best way for you to get good rates without incurring a huge fee for the transaction.