Express Cash Fees With Platinum Card

Old Feb 12, 12, 6:47 pm
  #1  
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Question Express Cash Fees With Platinum Card

I've searched on FT but the information I've found is inconsistent.

SO signed up her Platinum card for AMEX Express Cash which is linked to our checking account so that there will be no foreign transaction fee for taking cash from Paris ATMs. (Our bank charges 3%). However the Agreement that came with the PIN states that there is a fee of max[$5, 3% of transaction], plus 2.7% foreign currency conversion fee. It also states that there is a fee of only 1% for buying travelers checks which is waived for Platinum cards.

She will contact AMEX to confirm, but what are the actual fees for transactions at ATMs in France?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 13, 12, 8:00 am
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If you are just linking to your checking account, why would you even bother with getting AMEX involved in the middle of the transaction? I travel overseas to about 40 countries/year. I always just use my Bank of America or Chase debit card at foreign ATMs. No need for AMEX to be involved. Many banks, like Bank of America, have relationships with foreign banks. So if you use B of A you can withdraw cash at any BNB Paribas atm without a fee to do so. Even if your bank has no relationship like that, putting AMEX in the middle gains you nothing but a higher cost/greater fees.
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Old Feb 13, 12, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by andrewpartyman View Post
If you are just linking to your checking account, why would you even bother with getting AMEX involved in the middle of the transaction? I travel overseas to about 40 countries/year. I always just use my Bank of America or Chase debit card at foreign ATMs. No need for AMEX to be involved. Many banks, like Bank of America, have relationships with foreign banks. So if you use B of A you can withdraw cash at any BNB Paribas atm without a fee to do so. Even if your bank has no relationship like that, putting AMEX in the middle gains you nothing but a higher cost/greater fees.
Thanks. I got the Express Cash as I thought it was the only way I could avoid foreign exchange fees when withdrawing cash. I knew BofA had an arrangement with DB in Germany, but didn't know that it had one with BNP. Chase still has a foreign currency conversion fee.

So as it turns out I don't need the Express Cash feature.
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Old Feb 13, 12, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by andrewpartyman View Post
Even if your bank has no relationship like that, putting AMEX in the middle gains you nothing but a higher cost/greater fees.
That's not true. If you use your bank's ATM card, you pay whatever foreign transaction charge it assesses. In the absence of a specialized arrangement like you mention, this is often in the range of 1-3% for the forex, plus possibly the standard network ATM fee.

If you use Amex Platinum, the only charge is the 1% Express Cash fee, since as of March of 2011, the forex fee went to 0% for Platinum. Since the transactions hit your checking account as an ACH transaction and not an ATM withdrawal, your checking account bank won't charge you anything for the transaction. So, unless you can make foreign withdrawals using your ATM card for less than 1% total (forex fee + network ATM fee), then using the Platinum card overseas for cash will be cheaper.
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Old Feb 13, 12, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
If you use Amex Platinum, the only charge is the 1% Express Cash fee, since as of March of 2011, the forex fee went to 0% for Platinum. Since the transactions hit your checking account as an ACH transaction and not an ATM withdrawal, your checking account bank won't charge you anything for the transaction. So, unless you can make foreign withdrawals using your ATM card for less than 1% total (forex fee + network ATM fee), then using the Platinum card overseas for cash will be cheaper.
Getting more confused. We were told the fee is 3% not 1%. Is there documentation on the Platinum website of the 1% fee?
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Old Feb 13, 12, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by TheCount2 View Post
... Agreement that came with the PIN states that there is a fee of max[$5, 3% of transaction]...
Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
If you use Amex Platinum, the only charge is the 1% Express Cash fee...
I think the Express Cash fee is 3%. The 1% fee was for buying travelers cheques.
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Old Feb 13, 12, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by TheCount2 View Post
However the Agreement that came with the PIN states that there is a fee of max[$5, 3% of transaction], plus 2.7% foreign currency conversion fee.
There was a 2.7% forex fee prior to March 2011. Is there a print date on the collateral that came with the PIN that's prior to 3/11? Also, what I stated about the 1% Express Cash fee is what it is for Centurion - Platinum may be different and you should verify this before using it. Even at 3% with a $5 max, it can be a good deal if you make large withdrawal: US$1000 equivalent would be a 0.5% fee, assuming you can find a machine that will dispense that much in a single transaction. That's another side benefit of Express Cash: its withdrawal limit is set by Amex, not your bank, and is in addition to whatever your bank gives you on your regular ATM card.
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Old Feb 13, 12, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
There was a 2.7% forex fee prior to March 2011. Is there a print date on the collateral that came with the PIN that's prior to 3/11? Also, what I stated about the 1% Express Cash fee is what it is for Centurion - Platinum may be different and you should verify this before using it. Even at 3% with a $5 max, it can be a good deal if you make large withdrawal: US$1000 equivalent would be a 0.5% fee, assuming you can find a machine that will dispense that much in a single transaction. That's another side benefit of Express Cash: its withdrawal limit is set by Amex, not your bank, and is in addition to whatever your bank gives you on your regular ATM card.
Thanks. I will check the date. Sorry for using math notation in my post. The fee is the maximum of $5 or 3%, so its not a good deal unless my other cards are swallowed by an ATM (which has happened to me.)
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Old Feb 13, 12, 8:06 pm
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Originally Posted by andrewpartyman View Post
So if you use B of A you can withdraw cash at any BNB Paribas atm without a fee to do so. Even if your bank has no relationship like that, putting AMEX in the middle gains you nothing but a higher cost/greater fees.
Using Bank of America at BNP only saves you the foreign ATM withdraw fee (from both BA and BNP). You still pay the 1% forex fee, unless it does not apply to your account at all, in which case using BNP is irrelevant.

Last edited by JFKLAX321; Feb 13, 12 at 8:25 pm Reason: changed forex fee from 3% to 1%
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Old Feb 14, 12, 2:38 am
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Look into a Schwab checking account.
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Old Feb 14, 12, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by mzkaiser:18010169
Originally Posted by andrewpartyman View Post
So if you use B of A you can withdraw cash at any BNB Paribas atm without a fee to do so. Even if your bank has no relationship like that, putting AMEX in the middle gains you nothing but a higher cost/greater fees.
Using Bank of America at BNP only saves you the foreign ATM withdraw fee (from both BA and BNP). You still pay the 1% forex fee, unless it does not apply to your account at all, in which case using BNP is irrelevant.
The BofA CSR I spoke to said there were no forex fees for the withdrawal. I'll double check.
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Old Feb 14, 12, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by TheCount2 View Post
The BofA CSR I spoke to said there were no forex fees for the withdrawal. I'll double check.
I used my BofA at BNP in Paris in January and had no fees (forex, usage or otherwise).

Here is the wikipedia link to the atm alliance. It is a handy reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_ATM_Alliance

And BNP has an iphone app in case you need to find an ATM (all in French) of course.

Thanks.
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Old Feb 14, 12, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by PWMFlyer19 View Post
I used my BofA at BNP in Paris in January and had no fees (forex, usage or otherwise).

Here is the wikipedia link to the atm alliance. It is a handy reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_ATM_Alliance

And BNP has an iphone app in case you need to find an ATM (all in French) of course.

Thanks.
Thanks PWM. I asked Bof A online and the response is below, which says there is a 1% forex fee for ATM usage. But I do remember that when I used my card at a DB ATM in Munich there was no fee.

The International ATM usage fee is $5.00. This fee is assessed for each withdrawal, transfer or balance inquiry performed at a non-Bank of America ATM or non-Global ATM Alliance bank located in a foreign country.

In addition to the ATM usage fee, Bank of America assesses an international transaction fee for Check Card transactions in foreign currency or in U.S. dollars with foreign merchants in the amount of 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of the transaction and 1% for all ATM transactions processed in foreign currency. The fee is assessed as a separate transaction fee on the posting date of the purchase or withdrawal.
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Old Feb 15, 12, 1:30 am
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Using Bank of America at BNP only saves you the foreign ATM withdraw fee (from both BA and BNP). You still pay the 1% forex fee, unless it does not apply to your account at all, in which case using BNP is irrelevant.
Originally Posted by PWMFlyer19 View Post
I used my BofA at BNP in Paris in January and had no fees (forex, usage or otherwise).
Perhaps your account does not include a forex fee? My account with BOA does not include forex (at least for ATM; I haven't swiped a BOA debit card in years). I think this is a standard benefit of Premier accounts.
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Old Feb 15, 12, 7:09 am
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I do have a Premier card. Thanks
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