Personal Finance

Most Efficient Foreign Currency ATM Withdrawl

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 28th, 2020 10:04 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 13, 2016
188 posts
160 upvotes

Most Efficient Foreign Currency ATM Withdrawl

Hey guys, I'm currently in Europe and need to pay some bills in the local currency (equivalent to ~$2000 CAD) for my parents. Out of the following I'm wondering what would end up costing me the least:

TD Debit Card Withdrawl
TD First Class Travel Infinite Visa Withdrawl
American Express Business Platinum Withdrawal
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Withdrawl

I've only done one Withdrawl to date using the TD Visa and it looks like I got charged $5 from the local bank and $5 from TD for a cash advance. I assume the debit card will be better in that regard but given the larger amount this time around, conversion rate becomes a large factor. Thoughts?

Additionally for some purchases I get asked where I want to be charged in the local currency or in CAD. I assume this affects which side handles the currency conversion. Any idea which is better?

Thanks!
10 replies
Member
Dec 21, 2010
303 posts
211 upvotes
TD debit commission is 3.5% plus ATM fees at both ends

Credit cards are 2.5% plus cash advance fees and interest charge. May also hit with ATM fees.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 9, 2011
15259 posts
20555 upvotes
Vancouver
Oh man. You didn’t take one of these credit cards with you for spending? You’re getting fleeced. list-credit-cards-foreign-currency-purchases-2122295/

As bad as the cards you have are with their 2.5% purchase FX markup, any dynamic currency conversion offered to you by a merchant to charge your card in CAD is going to be worse. Always opt to pay in local currency.

You should have taken a STACK prepaid MasterCard with you for ATM withdrawals. No FX markup and no fees.

Never get a cash advance on your credit card unless you have prepaid the card down into credit balance to cover the whole advance. Otherwise the interest clock starts ticking immediately.

Do you have CAD or USD cash with you? You’ll get a far better rate exchanging that at a currency exchange than using any of the cards in your list.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2019
2687 posts
4373 upvotes
BC
Does it have to be cash? If it's to pay bills in local currency, wouldn't it be an option to use something like Transferwise and simply pay the bills by bank transfer? In most European countries, that's the primary methods to pay bills anyway.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 13, 2016
188 posts
160 upvotes
Thanks for the advice all! In poor RFD form I've honestly never really looked into these fees in detail while traveling/on vacation in the past though obviously a dollar saved abroad is the same as a dollar saved at home.

Edit: Thx for the downvotes for asking a question as well lol
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 9, 2011
15259 posts
20555 upvotes
Vancouver
You got downvoted probably because your main question of what would “cost the least” among the four cards you list is easily answered yourself by looking up each card’s info and doing the math yourself, which is what we would have to do to answer it for you.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2019
2687 posts
4373 upvotes
BC
IEpicDestroyer wrote: Depending on how urgent those bills are and if the EU Revolut lets you pull from your Canadian bank account, there’s still a fix.

Simply sign up for a Revolut account in the country you’re currently in, a Canadian passport with an address in the country you’re staying in will work. Link your Canadian bank account and deposit funds to Revolut. Find a local ATM without withdrawal fees and pull it out in cash, this will be the cheapest way, but with some extra work.

As for the cards you stated, they’re all similarly priced, with the exception of the TD debit card (3.5% fx instead of the usual 2.5%). You should really get onto a Revolut card at least!
1. Proof of legal EU residency is required to open an EU-based Revolut account. EU passport, permanent resident status, work or student visa, etc. Just an address in the EU is not enough.
2. Can't fund EU Revolut from Canadian bank account apart from using Visa debit incurring ~1.8% fee for using foreign card. Workaround for the fee is to use Curve as proxy, OP would have to sign up for that as well.
3. Revolut EU free ATM limit is 200 EUR / month. 2% fee above.

If OP can give more details about their situation (which country, what kind of bill payments, do parents live over there and have a local bank account?) we may be able to provide more suitable solutions.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2019
2687 posts
4373 upvotes
BC
IEpicDestroyer wrote: Hmm.. I'd admit that I didn't look into it close enough (nor that I can test this anyway, as I don't have a EU address). However, Canadians should be able to sign up, provided the card can be shipped to an address in the EU. It's quite normal that virtual banks there will take foreign passports as sufficient proof of identity. I mean, yes you're supposed to live there permanently, but as long as the card can be shipped to the address provided, it should be good enough for them.

https://www.revolut.com/help/getting-st ... -supported
Doesn't work for EU Revolut. If you sign up with a foreign passport they'll ask for proof of your legal right to remain in the country of the EU address you used.
Deal Addict
Dec 25, 2017
3014 posts
2219 upvotes
rhw123 wrote: Doesn't work for EU Revolut. If you sign up with a foreign passport they'll ask for proof of your legal right to remain in the country of the EU address you used.
Oops my bad, I'll just delete my responses then...
Deal Addict
Jul 15, 2009
2617 posts
1823 upvotes
Should have taken a Stack card.

At this point, Transferwise is probably your best bet, especially if you have access to a bank account in the country you're in (do your parents have one)? Even if you don't, you can still pay bills direct from Transferwise if the billers accept bank transfers, which is how most European countries pay their bills. You didn't say which country.

Either that, or use your debit card from any bank except TD. For $2k, the 2.5% conversion will cost you $50. TD would be $70. Next time bring Stack.

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