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How can I avoid paying $7 in ATM fees overseas?

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Winston
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How can I avoid paying $7 in ATM fees overseas?

Post by Winston » February 29th, 2008, 6:13 am

Dear all,
I just found out today from looking at my online statements the past two months, that when I withdraw money from an ATM here in the Philippines, my Bank of America charges not only $5 each time, but there is an additional $2.40 international transaction fee as well! That means that each time I take out any amount from an ATM, I get charged $7.40! That’s a ridiculous ripoff and hindrance to getting cash here in the Philippines, in addition to the huge hit everyone with dollars is taking from the big drop in the dollar. And to make things worse, prices are increasing in the Philippines (while wages aren’t). So everything financial is against the foreigner right now. And I hate how all these things are against us, yet all we can do is just sit there and take it like a sitting duck, totally powerless.

Does anyone know of a way around this exorbant bank fee? I did open a new Citibank account here, but since it is with a foreign branch, I couldn’t link it to my PayPal account. If I could, then I could just move money from B of A through PayPal to Citibank without any charges at all, then withdraw from Citibank here with no fees. But because PayPal won’t link to it for some reason, I can’t do that.

What other solution is there? A bank wire from one bank to another is also costly, around $30.

Any other ideas?

Thanks,
Winston

PS – I guess I could just write a check from my B of A account to my Citibank account. There’s a $2 fee for cashing US checks at Citibank here, but I guess that’s better than $7.40.

momopi
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Post by momopi » March 1st, 2008, 1:40 am

Go to your local HSBC branch and chat with a bank manager there, and ask them what they can do for you.

That bank has branches in US and PH, plus online banking with ATM card. If you use their account and withdraw cash from their ATM, perhaps the fees would be much lower.

http://www.hsbc.com/

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Winston
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Post by Winston » March 1st, 2008, 7:45 am

I heard they are good too. I am using Citibank right now and they have no ATM fees. The only problem is how to transfer money from my Bank of America account to Citibank. So far, it looks like writing checks is the best way, with only a $2 fee per check.

James G
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Location: Virginia, USA – Jakarta, Indonesia – Bangkok, Thailand

Post by James G » March 2nd, 2008, 7:22 pm

I just make a transfer from my US bank account once a quarter to my account in Indonesia, then I just use my Indo Visa ATM card for local cash and purchases

If I am forced to use an ATM with my US ATM card then I just take out the max so I don’t have to do it more than once a month – basically just take out as much as you can so you don’t have it use your ATM card as often

~James

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