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ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

San Diego
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1 review
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ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

We just come back from our trip to London and Paris. We had no problem getting cash from ATM (only used once) in London. When my husband tried to get some Euro from the Eurostar station in London before heading Paris, with no warning whatsoever, the machine just took his card as if nothing happend. No invalid card message. Then I tried my card at Societe Generale in Paris near the hotel, it seemed to work as it asked for pin and amount, while I was waiting for my card to be retured and the cash would come afterwards, the machines did nothing and eventually said the machine is not available anymore. It kept my card. Later a receipt came out said I withdrew the money. I did verify with Citibank that the transaction was reversed and till this day they don't know why both of our cards did not work and yes, we notified them of our trip in advance. When I got my card back from the bank and tried one more time at their machine, it won't even accept my card, but I have no problem using it to make purchases. Can anyone shed some light?

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Paris, France
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1. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

I would try a different ATM machine. Stuff happens, but its odd to have this happen with 2 cards. Could be that you're using them at a time when your bank's system is down for overnight processing.

San Diego
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2. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

We used our Citibank ATM in Taiwan & Japan with no problem. But after the two encounters with two different bank at two European cities, we were afraid to try it again. I even went in two different banks in Paris and asked to get cash advance with my credit card and they can't do that too. A friend who live in Paris said nowadays Paris bank don't keep cash with them. Our last resort was to get cash at the exchange office if needed knowing the rate and fee won't be good. However, the hotel staff was kind enough to let us charge 50 euro cash. We used our credit card for everything and ended up with over 30 euro left. But now I will need to bring other ATM card and may even open an account with B of A for our future travel to Europe.

Edited: 8:42 pm, July 11, 2013
Paris, France
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3. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

Did you check with Citibank to see if they could provide an explanation. I use a credit union debit card and have never had any issues.And I always take cards from 2 different credit unions, so that I have a back up. I do think your description calling this a "nightmare" is a bitt OTT. You were inconvenienced but nothing terrible happened to you.

San Diego
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4. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

I did check with Citibank and they couldn't provide any explanation. I think my "nightmare" was trusting the atm and did not anticipate any possibility of any problem as I've read so many blogs from many different sites. There were also issues of getting my card back that I didn't share in my original post. Thanks for you reply.

Los Angeles
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5. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

ATM problems occur fairly regularly here in SoCal. Every once in awhile, cards don't work at gas stations. We don't have many of those "stick your card all the way inside" ATM's left where I live - and I only use the one at my bank. Nearly every store will give cash back, though, so that's why it's less of a concern here.

You're right to bring it up - it's always a fear of mine (so we take several different cards; at our first try, my husband could get money from the ATM off the same account I was trying to use the next day - but I couldn't; the bank could not explain why, my card worked the first day, but not the second day, and after a few phone calls to the Wells Fargo service center (had contacted them *three times* before going because in the past one time didn't prove to be enough), my card started working again. At least it didn't disappear (but we've had disappearing card stories here, and on many North American forums too).

Your first card disappeared in London, right? Once it disappeared, it's possible the machine-operators reported it as a lost card - which would make it hard to use any other card on the same account unless you contact the bank...at least for some banks. Some card operators just don't care. But it's possible CitiBank has an active anti-fraud protocol (and the ATM malfunction in London set off this unfortunate chain...)

Virginia, USA
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6. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

Were your two cards both with the same account? I do agree that it is always a good idea to have two different cards on two different banks so that you have a backup.

Was it too late in your trip for Citibank to send you a replacement card? Would it have been possible for you to get emergency service from them?

I always take two different ATM cards from different banks just in case I have a problem with one. When my wallet was stolen on a Saturday, Citibank had a replacement card to me by Monday. On the other hand, my credit union didn't even have a customer service rep to report the theft to until Monday.

NC
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7. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

Good advice to carry 2 cards. I also carry copies of the card numbers, security code, exp date, and international contact phone # in an encrypted file on my phone, laptop and a usb drive. So if lost I have all the info to report it. Do the same with photo scans of passport, health insurance card, and drivers license.

Paris, France
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8. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

Historically there have been problems with foreign cards in France, although things are getting better. The main source of the problem, according to my friends in the industry, is that France was actually rather ahead of the pack in the early days, and French banks developed protocols and such that were specific to them. They invented the smart card (chipped card), too. So all of their infrastructure was in place by the time other countries started adopting smart cards and other protocols. And apparently there are still some conflicts between systems for foreign cards, and when things don't work just right, the out-of-town cards aren't processed correctly or aren't accepted. Still, your problems sound more serious than just not recognizing the cards.

I'm happy to report that ticket machines in the Métro seem to be doing much better at accepting U.S. credit cards than they did even a year or two ago.

Illinois
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9. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

If you plan to get another ATM card for future trips, consider Capital One, which doesn't charge any currency conversion or transaction fees, which most banks, including B of A , do. I think I have read on this forum that Chase doesn't charge these fees either, but I can't vouch for that. I also have two ATM accounts in case of glitches to insure we're not stranded without easy access to cash.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: ATM Nightmare - Citibank ATM/Debit card

I have an Australian Citi debit card which I used in Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Portugal and the USA last year with no difficulties and totally fee free. However we always travel with two debit cards on separate accounts and two CCs also on separate accounts, just in case.