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Old Oct 27, 09, 8:42 pm   #1
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Advice for which US-based debit/credit cards to use in Stockholm

I'll be in Stockholm for about a week in a month's time, and I'd like to plan now which credit and/or debit cards to use.

I've prepaid my hotel stay but will surely have lots of meal, museum, and other incidental expenses.

I've been thinking to use mostly debit card(s) to make cash withdrawals. I have debit cards from Chase, USAA and Bank of America, and credit cards from B of A, USAA, and AMex. No Capital One or Schwab cards, and I'd rather not add to my already large collection just for this trip.

If I understand what USAA says correctly, the total charge will be 1% if I use their debit (or credit) cards.

I'm aware that B. of America has agreements with some other banks (Global ATM Network) that may make it possible to withdraw cash with no charge at all, at least from B. of A. (However, I doubt B. of A. would reimburse a possible fee from the local Stockholm bank for ATM withdrawals.)

Does anyone know which banks in Stockholm have such a Global ATM Network agreement with B. of America?

Thanks for any advice,

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Old Oct 28, 09, 7:46 am   #2
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Bank of America's Global ATM Alliance withdrawals that don't involve the Bank of America withdrawal fee are drawn from the following banks:

* Barclays (United Kingdom)
* BNP Paribas (France)
* China Construction Bank (China)
* Deutsche Bank (Germany)
* Santander Serfin (Mexico)
* Scotiabank (Canada)
* Westpac (Australia and New Zealand)

I have seen none of those banks having flagged retail banking operations or their own ATMs publicly accessible in Stockholm. Even if there were any, the withdrawal fee exemption might not apply were Bank of America to limit the benefit to only withdrawals at those banks in the country/countries specified alongside the named banks above.

Perhaps if I get time in a day or two, I'll have someone see if any of those banks are even licensed to have their own ATM machines operating in Sweden. I wouldn't be surprised if they were not allowed.
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Old Oct 29, 09, 4:51 am   #3
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Looks like my USAA debit card might be the best way to go.

My understanding from USAA is that, for cash withdrawals from ATMs using my USAA debit card, the only charge will be 1% plus a possible fee from the foreign ATM owner.

I guess I should now try to figure out whether banks in Stockholm charge for ATM withdrawals -- hopefully not, like in the UK.
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Old Nov 18, 09, 4:23 pm   #4
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The ATM operator does not charge in Sweden. I get the interbank rate with my no-fee ATM card from a small local bank called Presidential Bank based in Bethesda, MD.
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Old Dec 17, 09, 11:31 am   #5
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Well, I'm back from my trip, and I ended up using my ATM card issued by BankDirect.

BankDirect not only does not charge any fees, but they also reimbursed the small fee that was charged when I withdrew cash from a Handelsbanken ATM machine. Presumably the fee was charged by Handelsbanken.

So I was able to get SEK 4000 for USD 570.00 last week, close to the rate I saw at xe.com. Good enough for me.
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