I hate ATM fees. It is less a concern over the money and more a matter of principle. ATM fees are especially prevalent and can be very high when traveling abroad. Even with a no international transaction fee credit card, I find inherit risk in using my credit card abroad in certain situations. As a result, I will often forgo the points and use cash abroad where it makes sense.
The Global ATM Alliance
The Global ATM Alliance is a great friend for obtaining cash abroad and avoiding those nasty ATM fees. As a Bank of America debit card holder, I have access to each of the Alliance member bank’s ATM network in the country listed below with absolutely no fees.
The following banks are members of the Global ATM Alliance.
- Bank of America (United States)
- Barclays (United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Pakistan, Gibraltar, Ghana, Kenya, and other countries in Africa)
- BNP Paribas (France)
- Deutsche Bank (Germany, Poland, Belgium, India, Spain, Portugal and Italy)
- Scotiabank (Canada, Caribbean, Peru, Chile and Mexico)
- Westpac(Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands)
- Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu)
- Westpac New Zealand Limited (New Zealand)
- Westpac Bank – PNG – Limited (Papua New Guinea)
- Westpac Bank Samoa Limited (Samoa)
- Westpac Bank of Tonga (Tonga)
- ABSA (South Africa)
- UkrSibbank (Ukraine)
I don’t see a formal Global ATM Alliance website but wikipedia does a good a job here explaining all the terms and conditions. This is valid only for the country listed, so for instance, you would be charged no fee for using a BNP Paribas ATM in France but you would be charged for using one of their ATM’s in Belgium.
In the last two years, I can confirm using my Bank of America debit card at alliance banks in Canada (ScotiaBank), South Africa (ABSA), and Germany (Deutsche Bank). When traveling with friends or family, I always offer to take out all the cash for the group so I can spare them those extra fees. Being an over-analyst, I calculated all transactions and found I was always charged the daily exchange rate and no additional fees. I will definitely be using my Bank of America debit card for upcoming trips to Chile and Peru.
The Bottom Line
Next time you are traveling internationally with someone who has access to a Bank of America (or other Global ATM Alliance Bank) debit card, be sure to check out the Global ATM Alliance to see if you and your travel group could be saving some extra money!