Travelling with Mastercard in Central America
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Aug 5, 2013 6:55 AM Last Post By: marka55
Aug 4, 2013 5:51 AM
Travelling with Mastercard in Central AmericaAfternoon all
I'm going to be travelling in Central America for a few months later in the year and I've found a bank card in the UK which gives you free ATM withdrawals from overseas. The card is a Mastercard and I have only traveled with Visa before.
Has anyone traveled in Central America with a Mastercard and did you have any problems getting cash out at the ATM's?
Is it just as common as Visa?
I'll have a Visa as backup but would prefer to use the Mastercard given the lower cost.
The bank is Metro Bank if anyone is interested in free ATM withdrawals. You'll still incur a charge from the bank you make the withdrawal at but not from Metro so it basically halves your cost, probably more. Looks like a decent deal.
Aug 4, 2013 6:32 AM
1There are a few things. Free withdrawals is not the main fee, the Foreign Transaction Fee is what can can cost you, from $6 or up to 18% on a transaction...
Is it Cirrus/Plus? If not, you will not have much luck with it. Also, Meastro (Spanish MC) is not always as easy to use at a ATM as Visa, but depends on country, town and bank. MC used to give people fits in Nicaragua...
Aug 4, 2013 7:29 AM
Aug 4, 2013 8:22 AM
Aug 4, 2013 8:42 AM
4It does not say Cirrus or Plus or Maestro on the card. The person I just spoke to at Metrobank said it wasn't but to be honest she didn't seem to have a clue what I was talking about.
Cirrus seems to be operated by Mastercard though so strange it would not be compatible. I'll just have to give it a go I guess and take backup.
Aug 4, 2013 8:56 AM
Aug 4, 2013 12:47 PM
6I would go back to the bank and explain that you want to use the CC at ATM's in Central America and you need one of the 3, Cirrus, Plus Maestro, some have both. Make sure it say's it on the card, my MC say's Cirrus on the back. Oh yeah, just before you go call all the bank cards you might use and tell them to them to note your account on CA usage.
Aug 5, 2013 1:24 AM
7Halifax Clarity is another UK credit card that does not charge a Foreign Exchange Fee (i.e. they use the Mastercard exchange rate which is usually within 0.1% of the mid-market rate, most UK banks add a 2.5% to 2.99% charge which they hide in the exchange rate) and Halifax has thousands of branches compared to Metro Bank's seven. I have used that card in Central America with no problems, just make sure that you inform the bank before you go which countries and when you are going otherwise you may find you card stopped by their fraud detection system.
If you want to avoid paying interest on your cash advances, you need on-line banking and set up a payment address book entry for your credit card, before you leave on your trip. When you take out cash, go to your on-line banking and pay whatever amount your credit limit has decreased or the pending transaction shows. This is only the approval amount, based on the exchange rate when you took out the cash. The settlement amount, which may be slightly higher or lower, is the amount that will be on your statement, it will not appear until 24 to 48 hours later and is based on the exchange rate when your bank and the ATM bank settle via Mastercard. If the settlement amount is higher than the approval amount then pay the difference, if it is lower then you will have a small credit balance in your account.
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