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Cash / Debit / Credit Card????

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Milton Keynes...
posts: 1
Cash / Debit / Credit Card????

We are travelling to Los Angeles from UK in June 2014 for a 3 week holiday and we are wondering what is the best way to take money? In the past we have used travellers cheques but with this you need to carry your passport with you as proof of id. Last year I lived in Poland and used the ATM's to get cash out from my bank account. Will we be able to do that with the American ATM's???

6 replies to this topic
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 20,610
reviews: 114
1. Re: Cash / Debit / Credit Card????

Yes atms will give you the best exchange rate but there is a per transaction charge so it is better to do larger withdrawls

Credit cards are best when renting a car or a room

TCs are so 20th century

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 41,342
reviews: 57
2. Re: Cash / Debit / Credit Card????


Yes, Folks use ATMs these days around the world!

DO make sure you inform your bank that you are traveling!

You don't want them to block transactions on your credit card or on your debit/ATM card!

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 13,277
reviews: 56
3. Re: Cash / Debit / Credit Card????

I can't imagine that the ATM card issued to you by your bank wouldn't work in the US, but you may want to call your bank to double check. You can also check the ATM network logo's on the back of your card - for instance if it has the "Star" logo on the back it would work at almost all US ATM's - if it does not that doesn't necessarily mean that it wouldn't, however.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 41,342
reviews: 57
4. Re: Cash / Debit / Credit Card????

IF your ATM card says Visa or Mastercard on it then it will work in all the ATMs.

I don't think the star logo is an international one.

Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 22,999
reviews: 52
5. Re: Cash / Debit / Credit Card????

These are common ATM networks in the U.S.:

1. MasterCard/Cirrus/Maestro

2. Visa/PLUS

3. Star

If your card has any of these logos on it, you should have no problem. Check with your bank, however, since the fees applied by ATMs in each network might vary for holders of ATM cards from your bank as a result of any agreements that your bank may have with the network operators.

Be aware that there are potentially two sets of fees for each transaction you make:

a. A fee imposed by your bank (check with your bank about this)

b. A fee imposed by the owner of the ATM

The latter will be disclosed to you just before the money is dispensed and you will be given the opportunity to cancel the transaction if the fees are not to your liking. In Southern California, most ATMs charge between $1.50 and $2.50 per withdrawal so, for example, it pays to withdraw $100 versus $20 each time as the fee is fixed no matter how much money is withdrawn.

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
6. Re: Cash / Debit / Credit Card????

One popular way to avoid ATM fees is to use the cash back feature at many stores. Make a Debit Card purchase, and many grocery and department Stores will offer you Cash back at no additional fee. (It is rung up as one transaction).

One issue that is common for non-US citizens is at Gas Pumps. Most of them have a card reader at the pump, and most folks will just swipe the card and then pump. But you are usually asked for a Zip Code, some folks have reported that 5 Zero's work, otherwise, you can just go to the store clerk inside and have it processed by the clerk.

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