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Credit Cards on the Caminos

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Just a cautionary note: My bank rang me up last week to say they had cancelled my credit card because of some suspicious activity with it. A new card takes 5 working days, sent to my home address then 2 days later they send the pin number. This got me thinking about what I would have done on the camino in rural France or Spain should this have happened. For starters the bank could not have contacted me and I would have suddenly discovered that my credit card was useless. I usually take cash + credit card (which I have loaded up) and will probably do so again but perhaps others should be awre of potential problems. I know you can take cards which you can load up before you go in the loca currency but here they charge a 1% commission on purchase and 0.8% commision to withdraw unused funds once home.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Re: Credit Cards on the Caminoes

Omar - I think this is real issue especially for pilgrims walking long routes. I always let my bank and credit card company know that I will be in Spain and I carry an additional credit card from a different company which I only use about once a year (to keep it active) as a back up.
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Credit Cards on the Caminoes

Worst case scenario, remember that the post offices in Spain also offer services from Western Union (international money transfers). So worst case, family members could wire you money from home.

Saludos,
Ivar
 

jeff001

Active Member
Re: Credit Cards on the Caminoes

There are enough ATM's along the way that you really don't need to use a credit card very often. Most places prefer cash anyway.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Re: Credit Cards on the Caminoes

I posted a thread on this a while back.

Before you go to Europe you should contact the bank for whatever card you are using, debit or credit, and tell them you're going to be there.

Otherwise, they'll assume it's been stolen and it's a pain in the caboose fixing things from Spain or France. Much easier to make a quick phone call here. Then you don't get stuck in some small village without funds.
 

Telluridewalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1988)
Re: Credit Cards on the Caminoes

Wonder what keeps people up at night...?

I think the plural of Camino should be Caminos, not Caminoes. Camino is a Spanish word, so to form the plural, one would simply add an -s. I don't think Camino is an accepted English word (yet), so it wouldn't follow the English plural rule (of adding -es, like in dominoes).

I feel so much better now...
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
:D :D :D
Telluridewalker, you know you could edit the title of your post to make it Caminos ?! (You don't have to stick with what is at the top of the topic.) Thanks for a laugh to begin my day!

I took a credit card (loaded up with a credit balance) that could be used in an ATM, as well as a straight ATM card, mainly so I had a back-up in case anything went wrong with one or other card. I also informed the bank that I would be travelling in France and Spain. But I found that about the only places I was able to use my credit card as a credit card on the whole Camino were when I booked my train ticket in Paris, then when I bought some souvenirs in SJPP. When I went to pay for my train ticket in Santiago I found I couldn't use Visa there and had to pay cash, as they only accepted Spanish credit cards anyhow.
Margaret
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Jeff001-my credit card serves as both a credit card and as a link to my cheque account so if my credit card is cancelled I can't use it an an ATM.
I always let my bank know when I'm going overseas so they wont cancel my card. The problem last week was that they cancelled it without me knowing there was a problem
Telluridewalker...OK I have changed my heading to Caminos! Now, can all those who can't spell accoMModation change it too?!
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
We were planning to use Travel Cash Cards (Pre purchased Euros), I have a Visa based one and Helen a Mastercard. Has anyone used this type of card on the Camino before?
Col
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
colinPeter, I have seen those advertised here and am wondering whether I will use one next time, but only to get cash from ATMs. I don't remember any albergue that could take cards, and I am not even sure restaurants took cards. I guess the amounts were so small I always paid in cash.
Margaret
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
colinPeter said:
We were planning to use Travel Cash Cards (Pre purchased Euros), I have a Visa based one and Helen a Mastercard. Has anyone used this type of card on the Camino before?
Col

I imagine if you can put it into an ATM machine and use a numerical pin, it should work, but I'd sure ask the bank first.


I don't know b/c I don't know what those are, but I DO know that many places had signs posted that they did NOT take Traveler's Cheques!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Those Travel cash cards are the ones I was referring to with the 1% commission on purchase and I've read that some people have had a lot of trouble cashing in the remainder when they get home but they are probably a safe option. I don't recall an Western Union offices on the VDLP or from Le Puy or Granada-maybe they are more common on the CF.
Anniesantiago-Travel Cash cards are just like credit cards except you load them up with whatever currency you choose before you go away-safer than carrying all of your money in cash. JL-from this forum is also doing a long camino from Vezelay so carrying sufficient funds,and in what format is a bit problematic for us antipodeans-especially now Aus$100 is worth about 3 beads and a hand mirror!
 

jeff001

Active Member
Before you load one of these cards with a foreign currency you should be sure you know what the exhange rate will be. Chances are that it will not be as good as what you will get from a regular ATM transaction.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
omar504 said:
Those Travel cash cards ..... I've read that some people have had a lot of trouble cashing in the remainder when they get home
I hope to have that problem when I get home. But think I'll be lucky if I have "3 beads and a mirror" left on it.
Col
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
I am paranoid about being caught out in the donga somewhere, all on my ownsome, without any access to money, and so I meet this problem by carrying 2 debit cards (1 from a little credit union and the other from a little state bank) and 3 credit cards with varying amounts of credit on them. This way, if one (or 2, 3) is cancelled for what ever reason I am confident that I will at least be able to pay for emergency accommodation and perhaps an emergency train / plane ride home if necessary. I have never bothered with travellers cheques, and always draw out enough cash to generally pay by cash, because that is often the only acceptable way. Only one of my cards is from a big national bank and yet I have never had any problems with access to funds when required. I also ring the agencies concerned and let them know what countires I will be in and when I am going.

Hope that at least sets the southern hemisphere pilgrims minds at rest. Cheers, Janet
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
jl said:
I am paranoid about being caught out in the donga somewhere, all on my ownsome, without any access to money, and so I meet this problem by carrying 2 debit cards (1 from a little credit union and the other from a little state bank) and 3 credit cards with varying amounts of credit on them. This way, if one (or 2, 3) is cancelled for what ever reason I am confident that I will at least be able to pay for emergency accommodation and perhaps an emergency train / plane ride home if necessary. I have never bothered with travellers cheques, and always draw out enough cash to generally pay by cash, because that is often the only acceptable way. Only one of my cards is from a big national bank and yet I have never had any problems with access to funds when required. I also ring the agencies concerned and let them know what countires I will be in and when I am going.

Hope that at least sets the southern hemisphere pilgrims minds at rest. Cheers, Janet


EXACTLY!
 
A

AJ

Guest
Last year I used the Travelex Cash Passport, available from post offices in Australia. I transferred funds to it from my savings account as needed through internet banking whilst in Spain. I could use it at any ATM that accepts visa and had no problems. It is valid for 3 years.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
jeff001 said:
Before you load one of these cards with a foreign currency you should be sure you know what the exhange rate will be. Chances are that it will not be as good as what you will get from a regular ATM transaction.
The exchange rate is the rate you get when you top up. In our case we've been adding Aus dollars for the last 6 months, so your rate is already "done & dusted". No more fees for transactions that's also handled "upfront".
We (Helen & I) plan to use 2, 1 Visa based & 1 Cirrus based, hopefully we will be able to get our cash out at which ever of these we come to along the way, and pay by cash wherever we go.
Col
 

jeff001

Active Member
The point I was trying to make is that you should know how the rate you got when you converted your $ to Euro compared with the "official" conversion rate at the time. This may or may not be important to you but it could be to some, especially if you get charged a similar "fee" when you try to convert the Euro on card back to $.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
Hi jeff001,
Yes, they try to squeeze a dollar out of you at everyturn.
Thanks
Col
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
So, I hope I understand this.... there is a credit card that I can load euros on it here in the states, at the exchange of today and I could then use it in Spain and not be charged all those little fees for each purchase or money withdrawals? I just scrolled and is it only available in other countries, not in the states? And if it is available here, where would I find that? It sounds ideal. I hated seeing my credit card bills last year showing sooooo many foreign transaction fees on it. It made the euro, which was officially 1.60 closer to 2 dollars. There must be a better way.
Lillian
 

johnBCCanada

Active Member
about credit cards my experience in Spain was that people didn't really want to take them. I think I used mine only once. I used my bank card to obtain cash (no problem) and then kept a small amount handy and that worked fine.

John
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
John BCCanada
What I usually take is my credit card but by that I mean a card that I can use at ATM's to get cash out and not really to use in hotels etc-that's why I load it up before I go so that it's in credit. But the responses to this post have been excellent and I will probably take cash,my loaded up credit card and a Travelex Card in euros.
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
I went to that website and after not believing what I read, I called the company and sure enough those Travelex cards cannot be sold in several states, including Florida. Crazy rules. I will keep searching, there has to be others out there.
Lillian
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I thought I had better get some more up to date info so I went to find out the latest on Travel Cards from my bank-ANZ.Travel Cards offer a (very) slightly better rate than buying cash off the bank. They charage $11 for the card and the first load up is free (ie no commission) subsequent load ups attract a 1.1% commission. You are issued with 2 separate cards with separate numbers and PIN's so if you lose the primary one you can still use the backup. These cards expire after 2 years. There is 2.10 euro fee for cash withdrawals but none for buying goods/services in shops/stores/restaurants or on line. This compares with a very unfavourable exchange rate when withdrawing using your own credit card (with your own currency loaded on to it) PLUS a fee for withdrawing money out of a foreign ATM-about $4-$5. They no longer charge 0.8% fee if you want to cash in the unused portion on returning home.
No wonder banks here are profitable!
Lillian-there must be banks near you that offer the service,American Express? All the banks here (but we only have about 8!) offer them. They seem like a good option along with some cash and the credit card. JL has the belts and braces approach which looks good too.
 

Javier Martin

Veteran Member
johnBCCanada said:
about credit cards my experience in Spain was that people didn't really want to take them. I think I used mine only once. I used my bank card to obtain cash (no problem) and then kept a small amount handy and that worked fine.

John

It's true. In big stores (Carrefour, El Corte Ingles) no problem to use it even for small spends, but in little towns they prefer always cash. When possible I always pay with credit card, when not ... just money.

It's not difficult to get money in bigger towns, at least each two days is possible.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

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