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Paper or Plastic? (Currency question)

Paper or Plastic? (Currency question)

Old Jan 20, 12, 7:52 pm
  #31  
 
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Smile

Originally Posted by kbins View Post
happy to report I had no trouble using my Visa without a chip/pin at every store I tried. I also was able to withdraw cash using said Visa at an ATM at Heathrow for no fee and was able to change cash later at a very good rate at Gloucester Road tube station.

I am grateful for the pointers and feedback. I did call my credit union and Citibank in advance to tell them I was travelling. I ended up not using my Citi card since they wanted to charge a 3% transaction fee for international purchase and my credit union only charges 0.8%. Significant difference and so glad I checked in advance, I spent quite a bit shopping on this trip.
Thank you for the update!

Usually I just use my BOA while I'm out or AMEX for the points, but I really should look into the fee comparison while traveling internationally. This thread was very informative!
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Old Jan 21, 12, 4:50 am
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by DavenM View Post
This thread was very informative!
It's also a year or so old, but having had a read through it, most of the information is still valid.

I'll echo what others have said - the walk-up rates at the likes of Travelex isn't very competitive, unless you pre-order online for collection in a branch. (They offer an online price promise too, but it's rarely worth claiming on it for the few cents per pound it'll save you for the convenience of getting your money at the airport)
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Old Jan 21, 12, 7:39 am
  #33  
 
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As mentioned upthread, if one holds a Bank of America card, then try and use a Barclays Bank ATM - courtesy of the Global ATM Alliance, you

There's an online Barclays ATM (aka 'cash machine') finder here - though alas I don't think it's always up-to-date / accurate.

We had a long-ish thread about finding Barclays ATMs at Heathrow a while back - I think the conclusion was that they do exist at each of the terminals, but they sometimes take a bit of hunting down (and might be located next to several other, non-Barclays ATMs).

Tracking down the ATM of a specific bank isn't really so important for holders of UK-issued bank cards, as generally speaking they can be used in the ATM of any other bank without charges.
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Old Jan 21, 12, 8:32 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by teflon View Post
It's also a year or so old, but having had a read through it, most of the information is still valid.
HAHA

OK - Good
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Old Jan 23, 12, 4:56 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Mizter T View Post
As mentioned upthread, if one holds a Bank of America card, then try and use a Barclays Bank ATM - courtesy of the Global ATM Alliance, you

There's an online Barclays ATM (aka 'cash machine') finder here - though alas I don't think it's always up-to-date / accurate.

We had a long-ish thread about finding Barclays ATMs at Heathrow a while back - I think the conclusion was that they do exist at each of the terminals, but they sometimes take a bit of hunting down (and might be located next to several other, non-Barclays ATMs).

Tracking down the ATM of a specific bank isn't really so important for holders of UK-issued bank cards, as generally speaking they can be used in the ATM of any other bank without charges.
The lone confirmed Barclays ATM is in T5.

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Old Jan 25, 12, 4:38 am
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by DavenM View Post
Some places might not charge the additional fee, but your bank sure will.
Watch out!
Better one than two though.
Bank-operated ATMs generally do not charge a fee. Private ones (e.g. in pubs and convenience stores) generally do. The rate/fees your bank charge are unlikely to differ between bank ATMs, be they in LHR or not, other than this Global ATM Alliance thing mentioned elsewhere.

One thing I would say is that, just like with credit card payments, never choose dynamic currency conversion, always choose to be billed in the currency you are paying in. Your bank's rate is almost certain to be better.

Neil
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Old Jan 26, 12, 3:47 pm
  #37  
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Originally Posted by pacer142 View Post
Bank-operated ATMs generally do not charge a fee. Private ones (e.g. in pubs and convenience stores) generally do. The rate/fees your bank charge are unlikely to differ between bank ATMs, be they in LHR or not, other than this Global ATM Alliance thing mentioned elsewhere.
However, if your bank charges you a fee to use a foreign ATM, the ATM is not supposed to charge you an additional fee (buried in Visa and MasterCard scheme rules).
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Old Jan 29, 12, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by stifle View Post
However, if your bank charges you a fee to use a foreign ATM, the ATM is not supposed to charge you an additional fee (buried in Visa and MasterCard scheme rules).
Internationally? Just that the Visa and MasterCard rules also used to say that it wasn't permitted to charge an extra fee for paying by card - but unfortunately one of the European Courts ruled that stipulation unlawful.

I'm pretty sure the chargeable UK machines *will* charge you whatever card you use. It's just put through as an increased withdrawal, not as a separate fee.

OTOH, using my UK card at a German machine (all of which do charge for non-"home" bank users) didn't incur an additional fee.

Neil
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Old Jan 29, 12, 7:29 am
  #39  
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I've only tried it once (at Bournemouth airport) where my Irish Visa debit card was not charged the surcharge of 1.70 stated on the machine (but was charged a larger foreign use fee by my bank). I remember seeing in an OFT study years back that charging machines would not charge where the issuer did.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 6:16 am
  #40  
 
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I just returned from London from a business/pleasure trip.

Using a US credit card is doable at most places, but at certain convenience spots, it cannot be done. Self serve kiosks (train stations and tube stops, etc) and at some checkout lines (Marks and Spencer), you MUST use a chip/pin card.

They usually have other lines/queues for regular 'merkin card users. So, its a bit more of a hassle but 95% of transactions can be completed. We wound up using cash at the Tube.

Remember, most credit cards will nail you with a 2% to 3% currency conversion fee.

On ATMs, there are lots of them - I took out 100 pounds at the ATM at LGW which was more than enough to get me into London. In London, I used my HSBC card when I needed cash (using HSBC branches) and the exchange is basically an interbank rate.

Do not even think of using money cur-ex services. The spread is HORRENDOUS - and some will even charge you a commission for exchanges under about 300 pounds. TravelEx, to me, is the cur-ex version of a loan shark.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 9:29 am
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by ITRADE View Post
Using a US credit card is doable at most places, but at certain convenience spots, it cannot be done. Self serve kiosks (train stations and tube stops, etc) and at some checkout lines (Marks and Spencer), you MUST use a chip/pin card.
I was there in December and had absolutely NO issue using my American credit card to top up my Oyster card at the tube station kiosks provided I didn't try to load more than 10 onto the card in one transaction.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 9:30 am
  #42  
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You should have no problem using a swipe card at any M&S.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 10:08 am
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by realjd View Post
I was there in December and had absolutely NO issue using my American credit card to top up my Oyster card at the tube station kiosks provided I didn't try to load more than 10 onto the card in one transaction.
Some of the ticket machines are rather finicky and might require multiple swipes to get a proper read with some cards, so it's very possible ITRADE didn't manage to get his to work.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 10:24 am
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by stifle View Post
You should have no problem using a swipe card at any M&S.
I think you can still pay in Euros in most/all M&Ses.

Not that that helps a 'merkin card holder.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 12:57 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by mtkeller View Post
Some of the ticket machines are rather finicky and might require multiple swipes to get a proper read with some cards, so it's very possible ITRADE didn't manage to get his to work.
I tried multiple times at London Bridge station. Every time, it asked for a PIN.

Same with M&S.
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