thanks ! Just wondering. How do you guys get your money out from your foreign bank accounts ? Wire transfer, yeah but is the bank still gonna be around? Checks, ok, but which banks can cash them? Any other options besides playing the "Russian Roulette" with your card at the ATM ?
There must be a way to find out what rate an ATM is paying before using it. I'd sure like to save 5-10% on my annual withdrawals. Is there anyone with banking connections who can do a little investigating? -D
Are you talking about getting money as a tourist or a resident? If the latter, what I and a lot of other expats do is to write checks on our personal bank account in our home country (mine is in the US). You establish a relationship with a banco de cambio that generally gives one of the highest rates (Vimenca is the one I use), then you write a check whenever you need money. This works well for the banco de cambio as well as the expat, and it avoids the expat having to pay any bank charges, such as you pay when you use an ATM. It also removes the guess work out of what the rate of exchange will be. You know before you write the check.
Ken - Between the money I send to my girlfriend (I gave her an ATM card) and the cash I withdraw when I'm down there vacationing, the hosing I've been getting lately from the ATM's really adds up. That was not the case a few months ago. Is there anyone at your bank who can tell you how to find out what the ATM rate is? There must be daily information available. - D
I know I've answered this before. But the conversion rate when using an ATM is fixed by the bank of the card issuer. Not by the ATM's bank. Not that I have ever seen, and it would be hard to explain how that would be possible anyway since you're taking out Pesos. The ATM's would have to convert in real-time the Pesos you withdrew to some arbitrary figure programmed in what that is in say dollars and then request that amount in dollars be debited from the host bank. For a whole host of reasons that's just not practical.
If you want to find out what rate you will be charged you have to go the issuer's bank and inquire what currency market they peg their international withdrawl transactions to. Then you can log in and check that information daily. Most of these companies use the same currency market index but I forget which it is at the moment.
FWIW we have never seen a difference between ATM's of different local banks on any given day using the same ATM or credit card. If a withdrawl at BancoProgresso comes out at 49.5:1, I can take out more money with the same card a BancoPopular and be assured of getting exactly 49.5:1 as well.
Danny W, if it is any consolation, the "hosing" you are getting on money your girl friend withdraws from an ATM is peanuts compared to the loss experienced by persons sending money to friends and family by Western Union.
Ken - I'm talking about getting money as a resident. Thanks for advices. Western Union is indeed a rip off but you can use paypal or 2checkout.com . Does the cambio you use set any limits on the value of checks cashed?
I don't know. Most I have cashed is $1,000, and that was done without anybody blinking an idea. Just a routine transaction for them. I use Vimenca, which is one of the biggest in the country. If there is a limit, I would think it would be high. However, you may need to make arrangements in advance if very large to be sure they had enough money on hand at the time you wanted to make the change.