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Pre Paid Debit/cash Passports/currency Cards

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Camino2017, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. Camino2017

    Camino2017 New Member

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    Hi, does anyone have any recent experience of using pre paid debit cards along the Camino ?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    I exclusively used a debit card at ATMs in Spain although mine was from my bank and my checking account. As long as your card has the VISA logo on it, it should work fine, even the pre-paid types. In the case of an emergency, although I didn't have any, I also carried a credit card with me. The only difficulty that I ran into was that smaller, regional banks may not accept the debit card. However, at the larger banks, such as Santandar, there was no problem using the ATMs.

    It is primarily a cash economy along the Camino, particularly at the albergues, so carry enough cash on you to get from city to city. My budget was about 30€ a day. I usually carried about 200€ on me (secured) at any given time, but not much more than that. I found plenty of opportunities to access ATMs except in the small villages. Buen Camino!
     
  3. Camino2017

    Camino2017 New Member

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    Thank you Wily
     
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  4. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Camino 2017 - Just a couple last thoughts for you. One reason that I use my own bank's debit card is that if I were to have any problems with it traveling, there is someone who I can contact. In fact, if I were to loose it or have it stolen, I'd rather be talking with my people for assistance. I'm not sure how it works with the more general pre-paid cards, but with my debit card, if there were any fraudulant withdrawals, my money is still protected. What I have done is to establish a separate debit card within my account that I only use for traveling. Just like a pre-paid card, I only carry so much money on it and it is not tied to my other bank accounts. Because I do bank electronically, if I were to need more money on it, I could just transfer more to it from one of my other accounts. Perhaps it is a bit of over-kill, but it does give me that sense of security and as I said earlier, at the major bank ATMs, it works perfectly! Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  5. Camino2017

    Camino2017 New Member

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    Good points Wily, plus the pre-paid cards seem to charge as much as using your own bank card, not sure there is any benefit, other than it keeps things separate from your main bank accounts. Perhaps a 50/50 mix of card and cash. Thanks for answering.
     
  6. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Camino2017

    Good info from Wily as usual. I would only add one thing and that is to advise your bank that you will be travelling in Spain and give them the dates of travel. Some people have run into problems trying to withdraw cash at ATMs because their banks have seen unusual activity, i.e. being used abroad, and have blocked the card. It can normally be sorted with a phone call but its usually better to inform them in advance.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  7. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Camino2017 - Ditto Wily and Greg's comments. For backup, I use a credit card through Bank of America that is specifically for travel. I set up a PIN and can get limited cash (I think it's $300) out of a machine or bank with the PIN. For my debit card, my local bank definitely wants to know if I'm traveling out of the U.S. The only place I had any trouble using it was in Philly because it had been designated a fraud hotspot by my bank.
     
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  8. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I will be making a second try on the Camino starting in May this year. In addition to all the things that I did last year, I went to my bank and have gotten a second card on its own account. My wife can move money into it and if it gets lost then the loss is predictable and limited. It is kind of like making my own prepaid card with the ability to get it refilled remotly.
     
  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hammy, that it truly great news! I am very happy for you that you'll be picking up where you left off. Congrats!

    As I indicated above, that's exactly what I do regarding a bank card. The only difference is that because I can access my accounts through my iPad, I transfer money myself if or when needed. Either way, I do think it's the safest way to go!

    I'll look forward to hearing more details from you as you put your Camino together. Ultreia!
     
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  10. Armorel

    Armorel Active Member

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    I did use a prepaid card, as I was on a fixed budget and concerned about security if I had lost my normal debit card. It worked perfectly for me - only irritation was that the pound plummeted before I loaded it. Should have done the transfer earlier. It certainly kept me within budget - I came home with 3 euros, having spent up in Santiago on presents!
     
  11. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    That's a fantastic idea, UnkleHammy! I'm SO happy you'll be able to go again.
     
  12. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi UnkleHammy

    Great news indeed. I am heading back to start again in Navarrette on 25 March and hope to make it as far as Fromista. There is something really wonderful about stepping back on the Way, especially if you can do it at St Jean. For me that remains the most wonderful day of many many wonderful days on the Camino.

    Best Wishes and Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Greg- My sentiments exactly! That first day on the Camino, leaving from SJPP was, "the most wonderful day of many many wonderful days on the Camino." So, for anyone wondering where to start their Camino, SJPP would always be my recommendation. Not only is crossing the Pyrenees an exhilarating experience, but the sense of camaraderie that develops with ones fellow pilgrims sets the tone for rest of the wonderful days ahead between there and Santiago. Ultreia!
     
  14. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Unkle Hammy - congrats on your decision to walk Camino Frances again.

    Camino 2017 - during our last camino, I purchased Euros through my credit union and brought with me. The exchange rate was not great. When I exhausted those Euros, it was very easy to get euros from an ATM machine at a better rate and modest fee (1%). I can withdraw up to $500 equiv at a time. I brought along with me the updated listing of Albergues per town that Rob linked for us to access on this forum. The directory shows town by town which have ATMs, grocery stores, pharmacies. So it was very easy to plan ahead and know which towns I would withdraw euros from. For our Sept 2017 camino, I won't purchase any ahead - I'll make my first withdrawal at the Madrid airport.

    Bob
     
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  15. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Bob - A 1% bank fee is great! That is definitely the way to go when available. Your bank didn't also charge a fee on top of the ATM fee?

    If you are a AAA member, you can buy currency through them with no fees attached. I regularly buy curriencies through AAA when the exchange rates are in my favor. For my upcoming trip, I bought several hundred Euros a couple months ago when the US$ was particularly strong against the €. My only hesitation about buying more was that I don't like to carry too much cash on me at any given time. Nonetheless, the US$ continues to be relatively strong so, upon arrival in Porto, my first stop will also be at an airport ATM. Just keep in mind that not all US cards are accepted at all ATMs. A smaller regional Spanish bank may not take your card. Carry enough to go between the larger towns.
     
  16. calowie

    calowie Member

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    Talk with your bank about which european banks they collaborate with. Because of these arrangements we could take out money from partner banks with no fees. We have accounts with 2 major canadian banks and in the larger towns would replenish our funds with no fees.
     
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  17. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Just as a follow-up comment to Bob's information, I had a chance to speak with my bank this morning and double-check what their fees were. When using my debit card internationally at an ATM, my bank charges 1% plus $2. There will also be the fee charged by the bank who ownes the ATM, but that will either be posted or appear on a screen that you must accept in order for the transaction to continue.
     
  18. David Fletcher

    David Fletcher Member

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    I preloaded a MasterCard which was accepted almost everywhere; I also took my debit card and made a €200 or 300 every ten days or so. Amex is not as prevalent in Spain. I saw the VISA logo on a lot of places too.
     
  19. Gerry Vandermaat

    Gerry Vandermaat Donating Member Donating Member

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    Great info from everyone. Here is an Australian perspective dealing in Euros. We preloaded a Travel Money Visa Card from my bank in OZ. Not a bad exchange rate either. We used it as a normal Visa Card with all transactions done in Euros. The problem with us if we were to use our normal card from home, we would be charged an ATM fee + an foreign currency exchange fee as well as lose out on the rate of exchange.
     
  20. Amparo Mcdowell

    Amparo Mcdowell New Member

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    Good idea Wily thanks.
     
  21. Bisnick

    Bisnick New Member

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    On my two Camino's I have taken a Visa Debit card from my bank and a MasterCard Prepaid Card to cover just incase one or the other was not accepted. I was lucky enough to load the prepaid card when the £ to euro was at 1.40.
    One problem I encountered was when I took out one amount on a weekend and the ATM dispensed it in 100euro notes! I was worried about handing over one of these for a 6euro overnight stay but was able to change them in a friendly café. They didn't bat an eye and said people pay with 50 and 100 notes for a coffee in the morning.
     
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  22. oldman

    oldman Oldman Donating Member

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    This is the way I have traveled for years . for safety , credit card stowed away in case, in need of major funds ( emergency flight home etc,.) then a separate account with its own two debit card, in this, I then can put all the money I think i may need ( for short trips ) and about 500 for longer trips which I top up from my main account over the Net.
    If it gets stolen and used I am not out by much . If it is lost or stolen I can also get on the net and transfer the money out , until its sorted.
    I withdraw using one card cash for day to day when in bigger towns/cities from the larger banks ( the other get stowed with the credit card) and always advise the credit card company and the bank of the trip,making sure they have all the contact details for me , I also ask them to contact me before stopping my cards.
    Buen Camino
    Oldman
     
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  23. Judy

    Judy New Member

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    And.... not just your bank. If your debit card is a bank issued card & it is Visa. You may want to also let Visa know. My last big trip was India and even though I had notified the bank ... they did not notify Visa so my initial transaction became an issue .... so maybe let Visa know as well. (or whoever).
     
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