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Using Cards or Cash?

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#1
Having seen some comments about using cash or cards, and tried to find some relevant threads without much success, I posted the following reply to a thread, which might also help others, so here it is as a separate thread, with some minor additions.

To all you experienced Camino Walkers out there who might read this, and say, "It's not like that", add a comment! These personal thoughts are borne out of 40 years in retail, business and corporate banking, as well as 30 of those years teaching banking related subjects at Uni level.

So..... in no particular order, and not exhaustive to cover every situation.......
  • Travellers Cheques are old school now. Several Banks in Europe don't issue or accept them any more. Don't use them for holiday cash in Europe, you might not be able to exchange them. Would be interested from a professional perspective if they are still widely used as cash in the USA. Anyone like to comment?
  • Cash is available from any ATM, although check carefully that it is a mainstream bank for that country (branch size can be a good clue, or a name you see often), as sometimes you might find a small ATM in a shop which is simply provided through the shopkeeper, for which an additional (large) charge is made when you withdraw funds. Spain seems to have lots of regional banks.
  • I'm planning cash carrying on the basis that ATM's will only be in the larger towns / cities. No doubt there is wider provision, but that seems a safe strategy.
  • Fees by your own Bank tend to be percentage based, so amounts that you draw should not matter, however check your own banks charges structure to be clear, in case a minimum fee will be charged.
  • Always use a Debit Card if you can, as interest will accrue on a credit card from the day you draw the cash, even if you do clear your card monthly. If you are always in an Overdraft (US residents excepted) compare the interest costs to see which is cheaper!
  • The popularity of Pre Paid Cards ( especially from so called Challenger Banks and FinTech enterprises) should not be underestimated, but only get one from a provider you research throughly and feel you can trust, not the first one on a Google Search. If the card is lost or stolen that it is easy to block (sometimes online) and your main bank arrangements are untouched. It should also be easy to get a replacement card. Some new providers also link to Apple Pay if you have a recent Apple Phone, not sure how much Apple Pay is available on the Camino though, perhaps not a lot.
  • Generally, Cash is King is all situations, with an option for cards from time to time.
  • Cards tend only to have popular usage in Tourist or obviously Commercial situations, such as supermarkets, large retail centres, reasonably sized towns etc.
  • Be prepared for smaller shops / towns to only accept cash.
  • Take several cards from different banks or providers if possible. Having travelled in several countries a card / ATM , or retailer equipment might work one day, not the next or vice versa, or even different cards work, and some don't, it is rarely the card, often the quality of the data connection from the ATM.
  • Draw out what you reasonably need so that you don't have to hunt around for an ATM at every town you pass through. AND keep the PIN safe, and not with the card. Basic advice I know, but some still do that.
  • Much talk these days about RFID readers being able to read chip enabled cards. So much so, that it is now easy to buy metal wallets to protect your cards. Some just wrap cards in silver foil. That would work.
  • I suspect RFID threats are very low on the Camino, however I routinely use a metal wallet for my cards now.
  • Spread cards and cash in different parts of your rucksack / luggage. Carry a small wallet / purse with what you need for the day, easily accessible.
  • Never let your rucksack out of your sight. OR have a trusted friend watch it.
  • Don't flaunt cards, (by this I mean don't have all your cards in one place, so that when you open your purse or wallet, all the cards you have are there for all to see) or make a show of cash in a wallet. You could easily become a target for a pickpocket.
  • Keep your Passport separate, and always have a paper copy of your passport.
  • Take a picture of your Passport / ID, and email it to yourself or a family friend, so that you can always get a copy. However I would not use one of the popular email providers for this, such as hotmail, google etc. Personal choice.
Overall, think of the risk and do something to minimise it.

Buen Camino
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
I would endorse what you say about travellers cheques being outdated. In practice these days they are virtually useless in Europe. Several years ago I shared a room in Brussels with an Englishman who had spent several hours searching the city that day for a bank willing to cash his travellers cheques and eventually found just one - in a capital city which is the administrative centre of the European Union! He had been relying on very out-of-date advice in an old guide book. With the spread of global ATM networks they are now redundant.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#3
We use a travel cash card (Mastercard) from Thomsons, but PO and Brittany Ferries and others also do them. Pre-loaded with euros and then our bank card is taken for emergencies only.
Passport photos - we turned them into locked pdfs which those using Open Office or Libre Office can do easily. Then emailed them to our family.
We have also noticed that the old Bureau de Change have often disappeared as most of the EU has the euro and non-euro countries can use cards in the ATMs.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#5
Great advice and tips, @CaptNoglos.

Also, just FYI everyone - once you get to Santiago it is very difficult to find anywhere to exchange foreign currency. There is one local bank that does it, but it charges 30% commission(!!). There is also a little store that does it, but they are closed for siestas and holidays, etc. Better to make sure you have the euros you need to make it through your trip than to count on being able to exchange money in Santiago.
 

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Anniesantiago

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#6
Great advice and tips, @CaptNoglos.

Also, just FYI everyone - once you get to Santiago it is very difficult to find anywhere to exchange foreign currency. There is one local bank that does it, but it charges 30% commission(!!). There is also a little store that does it, but they are closed for siestas and holidays, etc. Better to make sure you have the euros you need to make it through your trip than to count on being able to exchange money in Santiago.
Please don't carry that many euros.
All you need is an ATM card and you can take euros out of any bank, no matter your origin.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#7
Please don't carry that many euros.
All you need is an ATM card and you can take euros out of any bank, no matter your origin.
You're right, Annie - I don't recommend pilgrims carry that many euros. I should have said that I recommend that people can access euros, and not have to count on exchanging any foreign currency. Thanks for the correction.
 

MauraO

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances & Camino Portuguese
#10
Make sure you notify your bank that your going abroad to ensure that there are no hick ups with cash withdrawals from the atms.
We met a young woman who was unable to access her funds and she had to beg from fellow pilgrims for 3-4 days, (well she didn't really have to beg all the time, she was so visibly upset other pilgrims offered to help her). She was in shock and very upset. I know she got by ok as I met up with her again later and she told me about what she had learned from the experience - from the most unselfish caring gestures of strangers to some very hard-learned eye openers!
Actually she learned so much from not having access to money, (perhaps for the first time in her life), that we wondered afterwards if that was her Camino miracle?
I think I've talked myself round in a circle here?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#11
You're right, Annie - I don't recommend pilgrims carry that many euros. I should have said that I recommend that people can access euros, and not have to count on exchanging any foreign currency. Thanks for the correction.
Good Point, refresh the Euro stock in (relatively) small amounts, often. Interesting to learn that exchanging cash is also a major issue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March, 2017
#12
Best bet is using your credit card, and preferably one that doesn't have any international fees. That said, going against what some others on here have said about not carrying cash, my partner and I took out 200-500 euros at a time at select ATMs in large towns and used it to pay for hotels (we stayed in hotels, not albuerges so our costs were higher). Splitting the cash amongst ourselves and in pockets and pack mitigated our chance loss. Only issue was weighty coins, which we changed whenever possible. No problems, no big deal. Always carry some cash.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#13
Make sure you notify your bank that your going abroad to ensure that there are no hick ups with cash withdrawals from the atms.
We met a young woman who was unable to access her funds and she had to beg from fellow pilgrims for 3-4 days, (well she didn't really have to beg all the time, she was so visibly upset other pilgrims offered to help her). She was in shock and very upset. I know she got by ok as I met up with her again later and she told me about what she had learned from the experience - from the most unselfish caring gestures of strangers to some very hard-learned eye openers!
Actually she learned so much from not having access to money, (perhaps for the first time in her life), that we wondered afterwards if that was her Camino miracle?
I think I've talked myself round in a circle here?
That is also a good point. All Banks now have that facility online ( for you to tell them which country you will be going to), and it helps enormously in resolving any potential fraud related red flags that get raised ( yes, they do call it Red Flags) as a result of (apparently) unexpected transactions in another country. There is then far less likelihood of cards being stopped without warning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#14
Best bet is using your credit card, and preferably one that doesn't have any international fees. That said, going against what some others on here have said about not carrying cash, my partner and I took out 200-500 euros at a time at select ATMs in large towns and used it to pay for hotels (we stayed in hotels, not albuerges so our costs were higher). Splitting the cash amongst ourselves and in pockets and pack mitigated our chance loss. Only issue was weighty coins, which we changed whenever possible. No problems, no big deal. Always carry some cash.
That sort of amount sounds like it is an ideal guide. You just need enough until the next town. You never know, you might be able to pay along the way with a card from time to time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#15
Never use your card in a bank ATM if the bank is closed. If there is a problem and the ATM retains your card you cannot get it back until the bank opens.
You are unlikely to get it back anyway. Retained cards are not often simply handed back out. You may of course have had a different experience, but would be unlikely. The reason you might want to use an outside ATM is because the Bank is closed.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#17
And, if you are coming from the U.S., do not forget to inform your bank of your travel plans, dates and countries.
If you are coming from the US (and maybe other countries) you need to ask for a 4-digit PIN for your card as the ATMs do not work on 6-digit PINS.
(The opposite situation is easier - if you have a 4-digit PIN and in a country which requires 6 you just add 00 to the end.)
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#18
This is a very good idea from any country, except Spain.
Our card holder always wants advising of travel outside of the UK, others are happy if it is the EU. Ours also reserves the right to call our mobile and check out our first overseas transaction!

If using a credit card watch for a 'scary' note from some hotel machines. They spit out a 'No Valid' note. Don't panic, it simply wants you to choose £GB or Euros. Then it continues as normal. Always choose Euros, it is cheaper for both you and the hotel/restaurant etc. Many machines work automatically but we have met the other sort and the first time it was 'help', until we read the note again at the 2nd attempt. The hotel owner was not used to UK cards!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#19
Our card holder always wants advising of travel outside of the UK, others are happy if it is the EU. Ours also reserves the right to call our mobile and check out our first overseas transaction!

If using a credit card watch for a 'scary' note from some hotel machines. They spit out a 'No Valid' note. Don't panic, it simply wants you to choose £GB or Euros. Then it continues as normal. Always choose Euros, it is cheaper for both you and the hotel/restaurant etc. Many machines work automatically but we have met the other sort and the first time it was 'help', until we read the note again at the 2nd attempt. The hotel owner was not used to UK cards!
Agreed, I might not have been clear. If you live in Spain, and have a Spanish issued card, you won't need to advise the Bank if you are staying in Spain.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#21
I walked the CF last year. I used the same (Australian) debit card I use at home which accesses my bank account directly. I almost never use cash any more. Minimal fees on the debit card usage - this Mastercard debit card is officially a credit card as far as ATMs are concerned, but fees are lower. As a backup I took a Mastercard credit card with higher fees built in. Never used it. There was an ATM most places, except in the very smallest towns - in small towns there was usually one tucked away in the main square - I never used a small ATM in a shop as they always seem to have stiff fees added. I carried about 100 Euros maximum and always used cash except occasionally during longer stays in cities.

You have to take precautions re pickpockets. I have a wallet with a built-in metal loop - I always tie my wallet to a belt loop with a shoe lace (at home too). Yes, uncool, so what. But I've never been pickpocketed during many lengthy O/S trips including European subways and crowded streets/trains/markets in Manila, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo and Jakarta.

While on Camino, if I was ever mugged, I was ready to grab the bottom end of my walking pole and swing it hard. The handle end is fairly heavy. Sorry, perhaps that's not a very Christian attitude but perhaps I might not be very Christian when assaulted.

Buen Camino, - Mike
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
#22
Contrary to what one might think, this isn't a simple topic.. Based on our experiences roaming thru Ireland and southern Spain, we selected a credit card with an international focus: it does not charge any fees for purchases or ATM cash withdrawals anywhere in the world. Our bank (actually a credit union) wasn't nearly as helpful.

We will be testing said credit card in May, when we'll be touring parts of Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. I'll let y'all know what we discover.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte at the moment, Camino Frances, Camino Ingles in 2013 - 2014, Camino Lebaniego
#23
I usually had some Euro changed in the UK before going to Spain for the Camino, as some coins or small notes come handy to pay for airport bus or metro or just a coffee. The airport ATM tend to charge a fee as you draw money. Otherwise got cash from ATM's as I went on. If possible I change larger notes in a bank to smaller denomination. No barkeeper is happy to accept a 50 Euro note for a cortado and a bocadillo. (Important: virtually all banks close at 14:00). If accepted (Spain is a modern country and most shops will) I paid in shop or Restaurant with card.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte at the moment, Camino Frances, Camino Ingles in 2013 - 2014, Camino Lebaniego
#24
Contrary to what one might think, this isn't a simple topic.. Based on our experiences roaming thru Ireland and southern Spain, we selected a credit card with an international focus: it does not charge any fees for purchases or ATM cash withdrawals anywhere in the world. Our bank (actually a credit union) wasn't nearly as helpful.

We will be testing said credit card in May, when we'll be touring parts of Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. I'll let y'all know what we discover.
In Austria they sometimes ask for a surcharge if you use a Credit Card - to compensate the shopkeeper for the fee the Credit Card Company will charge him.
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
#25
In Austria they sometimes ask for a surcharge if you use a Credit Card - to compensate the shopkeeper for the fee the Credit Card Company will charge him.
True in the US as well -- in some areas. Some US states have made this surcharge illegal. I really don't care as long as I know up-front; sometimes the 3-to-3.5-percent surcharge is the difference between deal and no-deal.
 
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alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
2019- Undecided which Camino to walk
#26
RFID threats are only an issue if you actually have an RFID card. The chipped cards issued by the banks in the US are NOT RFID technology. Totally different technology.
The RFID cards are those that transmit wireless signals. The kind you leave in your wallet and just hover over a card machine. Very few of them in the US. I have no idea about the prevalence of them in other countries. But they were deemed to be too unsecure so that's why we all have regular chipped cards.
RFID wallets are a huge scam being sold to Americans. Extra weight and cost you don't need. Even your passport has and RFID cover built into it. And the information that might be stolen is only what appears on your passport anyway. There is currently no moderate or high threat for passport skimming.
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
#27
Research the cheapest exchange rate in your home country.
As a rule banks will rip you off.
I tend to carry extra cash but I separate it. Wallet, money belt and I even have a wristband where I can stash a few euro bills.
I believe the two largest banks in Galicia are ABanka & Santander
 

MichaelSG

Retired member
Camino(s) past & future
Not enough
#28
If you are coming from the US (and maybe other countries) you need to ask for a 4-digit PIN for your card as the ATMs do not work on 6-digit PINS.
(The opposite situation is easier - if you have a 4-digit PIN and in a country which requires 6 you just add 00 to the end.)
Since 2012, I never needed a 4 digit PIN to get cash from an ATM in Spain. It always asked for my 6 digit code because that's what my card required. That said, I hope to post photos next week of the ATM specifically asking for my 6 digit code. I hope that will then kill off this - possibly - outdated advice.
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#29
Since 2012, I never needed a 4 digit PIN to get cash from an ATM in Spain. It always asked for my 6 digit code because that's what my card required. That said, I hope to post photos next week of the ATM specifically asking for my 6 digit code. I hope that will then kill off this - possibly - outdated advice.
Hola @MichaelSG - likewise I use a 6 digit pin at home ( Oz) for both my credit and debit cards. But can adapt it for Europe - by ignoring the last two digits (usually zeros) - for the credit cards - but have retained the six digits for the debit card without any problems although I usually pick major banks rather than small private ATMs. Cheers
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#30
Since 2012, I never needed a 4 digit PIN to get cash from an ATM in Spain. It always asked for my 6 digit code because that's what my card required. That said, I hope to post photos next week of the ATM specifically asking for my 6 digit code. I hope that will then kill off this - possibly - outdated advice.
The advice is given in good faith and may help some-one rather than needing 'killing off'. We have yet to find a machine requesting a 6-digit code, Norte/Primitivo area 2016 being our latest current experience. This might be 'bank specific' so it will be interesting to see whose machines you were using.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#31
The advice is given in good faith and may help some-one rather than needing 'killing off'. We have yet to find a machine requesting a 6-digit code, Norte/Primitivo area 2016 being our latest current experience. This might be 'bank specific' so it will be interesting to see whose machines you were using.
I think that it might be card-specific rather than 'bank specific'. An intelligent system would recognise that the particular card being used required a code of a specific length (either 4 or 6 characters) and then prompt the user to enter the appropriate numbers. I suspect that a number of Spanish banks may have introduced machines capable of accepting either type of PIN in recent years while in the past they would only accept 4-digit codes. That might account for the different experiences being reported above. As a UK resident whose bank cards have always used 4-digit codes I have never had to test the matter.
 

MichaelSG

Retired member
Camino(s) past & future
Not enough
#32
The advice is given in good faith and may help some-one rather than needing 'killing off'. We have yet to find a machine requesting a 6-digit code, Norte/Primitivo area 2016 being our latest current experience. This might be 'bank specific' so it will be interesting to see whose machines you were using.
I don't doubt that the advice given about this by anyone is anything other than genuine good faith. I just think it's outdated. Fortunately, I had done 3 Caminos in Spain before I heard the advice and it made me curious. I never had a problem withdrawing cash at a variety of ATMs with my 6 digit Singapore debit card in Spain so I thought the advice was new. When I went to Italy last year, I actually asked my bank if I could change the code to a 4 digit one and they said no. My US card could be changed to 4 digits but I had to travel to the US to change it so that was out of the question. I just prayed and went to Italy, hoping that the cards would work. It turned out that I could use both without a problem. I ŵorried for nothing. I just reckon that the advice was good at some point but technology has caught up with us when we weren't looking. Peace.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#33
You know when the cash machine says 'would you like to be charged in £ or EUR', I never know the best answer. Can anyone shed any light on this?
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#34
You know when the cash machine says 'would you like to be charged in £ or EUR', I never know the best answer. Can anyone shed any light on this?
We were told that it is always best to ask for euros, otherwise there is a charge made to your account by both banks (yours and the sellers/ATMs/etc). Also, last year, one hostal in Galicia told us that she will only accept card payments using the euros option as she gets charged a significant amount otherwise to change from another currency to euros in her account. We were happy to oblige.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#36
Having seen some comments about using cash or cards, and tried to find some relevant threads without much success, I posted the following reply to a thread, which might also help others, so here it is as a separate thread, with some minor additions.

To all you experienced Camino Walkers out there who might read this, and say, "It's not like that", add a comment! These personal thoughts are borne out of 40 years in retail, business and corporate banking, as well as 30 of those years teaching banking related subjects at Uni level.

So..... in no particular order, and not exhaustive to cover every situation.......
  • Travellers Cheques are old school now. Several Banks in Europe don't issue or accept them any more. Don't use them for holiday cash in Europe, you might not be able to exchange them. Would be interested from a professional perspective if they are still widely used as cash in the USA. Anyone like to comment?
  • Cash is available from any ATM, although check carefully that it is a mainstream bank for that country (branch size can be a good clue, or a name you see often), as sometimes you might find a small ATM in a shop which is simply provided through the shopkeeper, for which an additional (large) charge is made when you withdraw funds. Spain seems to have lots of regional banks.
  • I'm planning cash carrying on the basis that ATM's will only be in the larger towns / cities. No doubt there is wider provision, but that seems a safe strategy.
  • Fees by your own Bank tend to be percentage based, so amounts that you draw should not matter, however check your own banks charges structure to be clear, in case a minimum fee will be charged.
  • Always use a Debit Card if you can, as interest will accrue on a credit card from the day you draw the cash, even if you do clear your card monthly. If you are always in an Overdraft (US residents excepted) compare the interest costs to see which is cheaper!
  • The popularity of Pre Paid Cards ( especially from so called Challenger Banks and FinTech enterprises) should not be underestimated, but only get one from a provider you research throughly and feel you can trust, not the first one on a Google Search. If the card is lost or stolen that it is easy to block (sometimes online) and your main bank arrangements are untouched. It should also be easy to get a replacement card. Some new providers also link to Apple Pay if you have a recent Apple Phone, not sure how much Apple Pay is available on the Camino though, perhaps not a lot.
  • Generally, Cash is King is all situations, with an option for cards from time to time.
  • Cards tend only to have popular usage in Tourist or obviously Commercial situations, such as supermarkets, large retail centres, reasonably sized towns etc.
  • Be prepared for smaller shops / towns to only accept cash.
  • Take several cards from different banks or providers if possible. Having travelled in several countries a card / ATM , or retailer equipment might work one day, not the next or vice versa, or even different cards work, and some don't, it is rarely the card, often the quality of the data connection from the ATM.
  • Draw out what you reasonably need so that you don't have to hunt around for an ATM at every town you pass through. AND keep the PIN safe, and not with the card. Basic advice I know, but some still do that.
  • Much talk these days about RFID readers being able to read chip enabled cards. So much so, that it is now easy to buy metal wallets to protect your cards. Some just wrap cards in silver foil. That would work.
  • I suspect RFID threats are very low on the Camino, however I routinely use a metal wallet for my cards now.
  • Spread cards and cash in different parts of your rucksack / luggage. Carry a small wallet / purse with what you need for the day, easily accessible.
  • Never let your rucksack out of your sight. OR have a trusted friend watch it.
  • Don't flaunt cards, (by this I mean don't have all your cards in one place, so that when you open your purse or wallet, all the cards you have are there for all to see) or make a show of cash in a wallet. You could easily become a target for a pickpocket.
  • Keep your Passport separate, and always have a paper copy of your passport.
  • Take a picture of your Passport / ID, and email it to yourself or a family friend, so that you can always get a copy. However I would not use one of the popular email providers for this, such as hotmail, google etc. Personal choice.
Overall, think of the risk and do something to minimise it.

Buen Camino

I hope this is not paralysis by analysis
 

MichaelSG

Retired member
Camino(s) past & future
Not enough
#37
I just got cash out of the Deutsche Bank ATM in Bilbao. My US based Bank of America card has a 6 digit code and I needed all 6 digits to get my money. Modern ATM's appear to be smart enough to know how many digits your ATM PIN is. As noted, for the past 5 years, 6 digit codes were all I ever used in Europe for all my debit cards. Luckily, I didn't hear about the "need" for a 4 digit code until long after I successfully used 6 digit codes.
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
#38
RFID threats are only an issue if you actually have an RFID card. The chipped cards issued by the banks in the US are NOT RFID technology. Totally different technology.

The RFID cards are those that transmit wireless signals. The kind you leave in your wallet and just hover over a card machine. Very few of them in the US. I have no idea about the prevalence of them in other countries. But they were deemed to be too unsecure so that's why we all have regular chipped cards.

RFID wallets are a huge scam being sold to Americans. Extra weight and cost you don't need. Even your passport has and RFID cover built into it. And the information that might be stolen is only what appears on your passport anyway. There is currently no moderate or high threat for passport skimming.

In Europe last week, some one took my US Visa Card (from a Bank in Florida) and tapped it, I did not know it was RFID, as there are no markings, so there may be more around than you think.

But I am from Canada and RFID is a very common occurrence here. All my Canadian credit cards and all my debit cards are RFID, you can have it turned off by your bank if you request it, but for small purchases, almost everywhere, Tap to Pay is a way of life.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
2019- Undecided which Camino to walk
#39
In Europe last week, some one took my US Visa Card (from a Bank in Florida) and tapped it, I did not know it was RFID, as there are no markings, so there may be more around than you think.

But I am from Canada and RFID is a very common occurrence here. All my Canadian credit cards and all my debit cards are RFID, you can have it turned off by your bank if you request it, but for small purchases, almost everywhere, Tap to Pay is a way of life.
That's why I said that I referring to cards issued in the US. There are very few around here. Very few banks are issuing them. BoA, Chase, Barclay-all the major banks are still not using RFID technology. Hopeful never will. The warning should be for each person to find out for themselves what kind of card they have before wasting money on products they may not need. Not to be confused with Apple Pay, too.

Sorry to hear to had to deal with the hassle of getting hit by a thief. That sucks.
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
#40
That's why I said that I referring to cards issued in the US. There are very few around here. Very few banks are issuing them. BoA, Chase, Barclay-all the major banks are still not using RFID technology. Hopeful never will. The warning should be for each person to find out for themselves what kind of card they have before wasting money on products they may not need. Not to be confused with Apple Pay, too.

Sorry to hear to had to deal with the hassle of getting hit by a thief. That sucks.

Sorry - I wasn't clear. A sales person took my US Visa card (issued by a US bank) and tapped it for me, and it worked. I didn't know it had RFID, as there was no symbol on the card, but it did, and the RFID worked. My point was - not all RFID cards issued in the US have markings on them.

There was no thief, my trip was fantastic!
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
2019- Undecided which Camino to walk
#41
Sorry - I wasn't clear. A sales person took my US Visa card (issued by a US bank) and tapped it for me, and it worked. I didn't know it had RFID, as there was no symbol on the card, but it did, and the RFID worked. My point was - not all RFID cards issued in the US have markings on them.

There was no thief, my trip was fantastic!
Oh, gotcha. Well, that's good. :)
 
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