April 3, 2009, Newsletter Issue #88: (80) Using ATMs for Cash in Ports

Tip of the Week

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are a convenient source of cash for shopping in ports of call. Take this advice from an international banking expert when using an ATM card in ports:

Activate and try out a new ATM card before leaving on your trip. An ATM card can only be activated by doing a balance inquiry at an ATM machine or from your home telephone number. Donít wait until you need cash before activating the card.
Memorize your pin number. Do NOT write it on the card or in your checkbook. Many international ATMs use only numbers. If your pin number is composed of letters, look on the telephone pad and convert the letters to numbers (memorize the numbers) before leaving the country. This is not about getting a ďnewĒ ATM pin number. It is your same pin just in a different format.
Check and possibly increase your daily withdrawal limit. Most ATM cards are capped with a $300 daily limit. You can request, in writing, that the limit be increased. Plan ahead. You canít do this by telephone after leaving the country. Use ATMs in well-lighted locations. Guard your pin number during usage. Shield the keypad with your other hand. Donít use a machine when there is someone loitering nearby.
Donít toss the ATM receipt in the nearest trash can. It can be a source of bank account information for thieves on the prowl for identity theft opportunities. Hang onto that receipt; you will need it to verify the correct transactions to your account when you return home.

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