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Cash withdrawing machines (ATM) on the camino.

Don Kim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#1
I can't find any information of how most pilgrims carry the money (euro) during the entire walk. I understand most Albergues do accept cash only. You do not want to carry a large amount of euro from the beginning.
Is it fairly easy to get a cash from ATM in the towns on the way to Santiago? And how often do we need to withdraw? One more question about how easy to find a cash machine ? Would appreciate any suggestions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#2
Is it fairly easy to get a cash from ATM in the towns on the way to Santiago? And how often do we need to withdraw? One more question about how easy to find a cash machine ?
Yes it is easy. All the medium-to-large towns have them. Many people take out 300 Euros or so, enough to last a week ormore. It's also good to keep 100 Euros hidden away, only for emergencies.

At your starting point, in a good sized town, test your bank card and take note of the bank name (or a couple of banks) where your card works. (I have found a few banks don't.) Throughout your camino, you should look ahead to be sure you will be passing through a good-sized place before you run out of money.

It is also wise, if possible, to use only bank machines that are attached to a bank, and only when the bank is open. That way you can recover your card if it is "eaten"!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#5
And believe or not, but finding an ATM is old Santiago also difficult. There used to be one that could read my card, but it's now gone.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016, Sarria to Santiago.
#6
Yes old Santiago was a challenge! I ended up asking for ATM locations at the tourists' office, and they marked a map for me. (And they spoke English, yay!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016, Sarria to Santiago.
#7
Also, Don Kim, I found it gave me peace of mind to stash smaller amounts of cash throughout my clothes and accessories, rather than all in a wallet (but needed to be careful not to leave my jacket unattended).

Also I carried two cash machine cards, in different places (one in my wallet, one in a neck pouch): same account, but two different PINs, so if one got lost, I could phone my bank to cancel that card, and use the second card with its own PIN.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#8
Its easy to find ATM's and easy to use them. Carry enough cash for a few days - top-up when you are in any of the larger towns.

The European standard chip & pin card uses a 4-digit PIN, 6-digit PIN's will not work.
Hola Tinca - good tip about the "4 digit PIN" -like most people in Oz I use a 6 digit PIN - so to get around the EU 4 digit issue I end my PIN in "00" which I can drop in France or Spain. Otherwise its do a PIN change before departure and hope that you can remember it. Cheers
 

DuaneS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 4th from SJPDP - May 5, 2017.
#9
Also, Don Kim, I found it gave me peace of mind to stash smaller amounts of cash throughout my clothes and accessories, rather than all in a wallet (but needed to be careful not to leave my jacket unattended).

Also I carried two cash machine cards, in different places (one in my wallet, one in a neck pouch): same account, but two different PINs, so if one got lost, I could phone my bank to cancel that card, and use the second card with its own PIN.
That's smart - I usually take two bank cards too. Also, if you take a credit card, you can always do a cash withdrawal on that too as a last resort (you'll pay interest on it, but it's better than not having any money at all in a pinch!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#10
It took the two of us 58 days to get from SJPdP to SdC in 2015. 48 days walking and 10 days for touring, resting and recovery. 11 days prior to arrival in Santiago were in private rooms. We made 14 ATM withdrawals and each time it was for 300 euros (easier to keep track of money and to look for fraud.) From previous threads it seems that we were spending about the same amount of money per day that most other older couples were. We averaged 36 euros a day each and, on average, stopped at an ATM every 4 days but sometimes we visited an ATM early in case we might not find one in the smaller towns. We stocked up in Barcelona, Zubiri, Puente de Reina, twice in Burgos, Carrion de Conde, Sahagun, Leon, twice in Astorga, Ponferrada, Sarria and Melide.

Besides the other tips already given I suggest using the same bank's ATMs so you know how to use the machine. The ATMs I used, Telebanco, would often dish out 50 euro notes but I can't recall a complaint in me using one of these like I would at home.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances & Finisterre (Sep-Oct 2016)
#12
And believe or not, but finding an ATM is old Santiago also difficult. There used to be one that could read my card, but it's now gone.
Yes, the 'Old Town' does have some ATMs, but they are difficult to find.
There are a number of banks with ATMs on Rua da Sena on the edge of the 'old town' (heading towards the railway station). Including Santander, that I personally found the easiest to use, were fairly common and they had no additional fees.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#13
Some of the remote sections ... Burgos to Fromista, Astorga to Ponferrada, Vega de Valcarce to Sarria, Sarria to Palas de Rei. Otherwise, any town large enough to have a bank had an ATM.
 

Patch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (June 2014)
St Jean to Leon (Sept 2015)
Burgos to Santiago (June 2016)
Porto to Finisterre (June 2017)
#14
Like the previous post I never found a problem anywhere apart from when crossing the Pyrenees, although not many places to spend anything either. I just had in my wallet what I would normally carry which is around 100 Euros/pounds. Most(meaning I cant remember any that didn't) restaurants , supermarkets, bars, hotels, bus and train stations would accept cards.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
#15
St Mike writes that most cards in Australia only have a 6 digit pin, which I found very surprising. I have been using cards issued by a major Australian bank that only have a 4 digit pin, and indeed have never heard of a 6 digit pin in this country. I carry 2 cards - a debit card and a credit card kept separately and both linked to the same cash account so that I can withdraw cash using my credit card out of my cash account. I never use it to get cash from my credit (Visa) account
 

marbuck

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Condom to Pamplona April 2016.
Le Puy to Condom France - April-May 2015.
Roncesvalles to Santiago April - May 2014
Finisterre to Muxia May 2014
#16
Hola Tinca - good tip about the "4 digit PIN" -like most people in Oz I use a 6 digit PIN - so to get around the EU 4 digit issue I end my PIN in "00" which I can drop in France or Spain. Otherwise its do a PIN change before departure and hope that you can remember it. Cheers
Really!! I am an Australian and have only ever used a four digit pin.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#17
Really!! I am an Australian and have only ever used a four digit pin.
Your choice of how many digits you use in your PIN - I was advised to switch to a 6 digit PIN about 4-5 years ago. But if you and your bank are happy - keeping using 4. Cheers
 

DowtyCamino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-July (2014),
May-July (2017)
#18
Be very aware of any fees that your bank may charge for "Foreign" ATM withdrawals. They can add up fast. Good news, there are many ATM cards that have no foreign transaction fees. I have a special card (I call it my Camino Capital One) that I got specifically for our 2014 Camino. I use it now for all of my foreign trips.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#19
I agree about the fees. Some ATMs along the way wanted to charge me €5 for the pleasure of giving me my own money in addition to all the usual charges involved in international transactions. But the charge was stated up front ie written on the screen, so I just picked ATMs that didn't make that charge. Also was grateful that virtually all ATMs had an option to select English as preferred language.
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May 2016- 14 July CF
Hospitalero, Zamora Dec 15-31, 2017
#20
Depending on your banking organization, they may provide an online service so that you can search for an ATM when you are at an albergue or bar in a mobile device. We did this sometimes. Other times we just asked a local person where the nearest ATM was located. Additionally the guide book by Raymond Joos tells you when there will be a stretch without an ATM and advises you so that you won't be stuck somewhere without enough cash. I don't recall if the Brierly book does that too?

We were pleasantly surprised that the ATM we used in SJPDP gave an option to withdraw smaller bills along with large ones. This was not the norm the rest of the trip.

When in Santiago old town we did not find it difficult to find an ATM, but because it was a weekend, all the ATM's in the area near the cathedral were out of available cash rather quickly and were not "re-stocked" until the next business day. We ended up going to the bus terminal to find an ATM instead.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#21
I used Google Maps on my phone to find ATMs. Usually, when I had the address and directions they were easy to find, but I remember walking back in forth by one in Triacastela before I realized where it was.
And I use Charles Schwab bank, which refunds me all ATM fees, so I don't feel the need to take out large amounts to avoid transaction fees.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
#22
I agree with the previous posts;
1. I used debit card for cash from ATMs and credit cards for purchases.
2. Make sure you have an international chip (check with issuing card company/bank for any special instructions).
3. Notify issuing card company/bank of your dates of travel and countries you'll be visiting. (Some banks will require notification every 30 days !?).

Buen Camino!
 

lynee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
april "2015"
#25
Hola Tinca - good tip about the "4 digit PIN" -like most people in Oz I use a 6 digit PIN - so to get around the EU 4 digit issue I end my PIN in "00" which I can drop in France or Spain. Otherwise its do a PIN change before departure and hope that you can remember it. Cheers
my cards from aus have a 4 digit pin. I usually use my 28 degrees card os. I put money in it so I am using my own money so no interest and they do not have an international l conversion fee.
 
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