The Traveler’s Guide to International ATMs

The Traveler’s Guide to International ATMs

Use international ATMs and exchange currency with caution and confidence! Here’s what you need to know.

Whether you need euros or krona, making a withdrawal from an international ATM has never been easier. Savvy travelers can use the local ATM system to withdraw cash and exchange currency without accumulating high fees. Learn how to be financially prepared for your next trip, and discover the best ways to navigate international ATMs! 

Locating an ATM

ATMs, also known as cash machines, are easy to locate internationally. In the UK, ask for a “Bankomat.” In France, you may hear an ATM referred to as a “distributeur.” Most banks have ATMs on the exterior of the building. Not only are bank ATMs easy to find, but they are generally more secure options. Finding an ATM in a city will be easier than in a small town or rural village. If you’re leaving the city to explore a rural area, stock up on cash before you catch the train or bus. 

Withdrawing Money 

International ATMs have English-language instructions and work almost identically to the cash machines you use in the states. Keep in mind that you are withdrawing cash in the local currency, which may decrease or increase your daily limit depending on the exchange rate. Consider withdrawing large sums rather than smaller sums each time to reduce excess fees. Some ATMs have withdrawal limits, so you may need to use multiple cash machines to receive the amount of money you need. 

Exchanging Currency 

One of the biggest advantages of exchanging currency with an ATM card is that the rates are significantly better than a local counter or airport kiosk. To avoid high rates at ATMs, skip the independent companies such as Travelex and Moneybox. Independent ATMs try to trick users with “dynamic currency conversion,” which is a fancy excuse for charging you more than a bank ATM for the same service. Whenever possible, exchange currency at a bank ATM located in the bank lobby or near the bank itself.  

Safety Tips 

Whenever you use a cash machine, whether at home or internationally, be vigilant. Withdraw money during the day. If you must withdraw cash at night, choose a cash machine located in a well-lit area, and consider using the buddy-system, especially when venturing out at night!

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