Figuring Out Foreign Finances, Pt. Deux

Because I plan to obtain euros when I arrive in Europe later this week, I thought it would be a good idea to contact my bank about maximum daily withdrawal amounts from ATMs. As it turns out, I got more than I bargained for.

A few weeks ago, after finalizing my travel arrangements, I called my bank's credit card department to let it know I'd be traveling overseas (see "Figuring Out Foreign Finance").

Today, for whatever reason, I thought I'd call my bank's ATM division to be sure I have the permissions necessary to withdraw €500 upon my arrival in Europe. As I learned, the fact that I let the credit card department of the same bank know of my travel plans did NOT mean the ATM (checking account) department had that same information.

Imagine, if you will, arriving in Europe, putting my debit card into an ATM, expecting to withdraw €500 or so, only to be told, "Your transaction has been declined. Please contact your bank for details." YIKES!

The take-home lesson is simple: before you leave, make two calls: to your bank's the credit card department and a second call to your bank's ATM department. It's an extra call you shouldn't really have to make (it is, after all, 2009 and the bank's departments SHOULD talk to each other), but if you don't, you could be heartily sorry.

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