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Which credit card to take?

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Past OR future Camino
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
I recently applied for a Charles Schwab online banking account.
They offer a debit card with NO ATM fees!
If the bank in Spain charges you a fee, they will reimburse you at the month's end.
 

merrellj

Member
Whilst it's not exactly a credit card, I would definitely recommend using a Caxton card. You can get one or all of 3 types, Global Traveller, US$ and Euro cards. You pre-load these, the GT with sterling, the $ and Euros at favourable exchange rates, and can withdraw the equivalent of £300 maximum per day with no ATM charges.

You can choose how much you want to top up anytime via the internet and all you need to do to open an account is pre-load £10 which is automatically credited to your card.

I used one of these traveling overland to Australia and it saves a whole lot of currency exchange hassle with no ATM charges. I will be taking a EuroTraveller card with me to Spain which you could pre-load yesterday at nearly E1.18.

Not trying to promote this, but you will find it a really useful addition to your credit card. Have a look at http://www.caxtonfx.com for more information.

John
 
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KiwiNomad06

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Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Toobizy,
While walking the Camino you are unlikely to use a credit card very much at all- most albergues etc will only take cash.
Margaret
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
One every year since 2007
Toobizy said:
would AMEX or VISA be more likely accepted?
VISA no problem, AMEX a problem.
Mastercard will also do.
Plenty of ATMs in larger towns to get cash for walking a day or two (albergues, meals, out of pocket expenses).
 

Toobizy

Member
Thank you all! Maybe the Charles Schwab will be an option for me (since I am USA based), as it looks like my Wells Fargo debit card will not work in Europe. Giant bummer! I really appreciate everyone's input! This is an amazing site.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
"as it looks like my Wells Fargo debit card will not work in Europe"

We have WF and have never had a problem with our debit card anywhere that we have tried to use it in Europe - at any ATM or any business. The only issue is with unmanned terminals (ticket machines, gas station pumps, etc.) that want the chip-and-pin cards rather than the magnetic stipe cards that we have in the US. As long as there is a person to process the transaction, then it won't be a problem. ATMs are set it take both types of cards. The only time I had trouble with an ATM was when I had forgotten to call WF and tell them I would be out of the country and they blocked my card - a phone call and it was straightened out.
 
Past OR future Camino
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
Whichever card you decide on, be SURE to call and contact your bank or credit card company and let them know you will be traveling in Spain. Do this about 2 weeks before you leave. I have seen more than one pilgrim have their account locked because they did not do this and their bank thought the card had been stolen.

It's easier to deal with this from home than in Spain long distance in the middle of the night (time change).
 
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Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).

jirit

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
I always pay with cash unless it train tickets or something like this when I travel in Europe

Paying in cash gets you better service and sometimes better deals too

And no large credit card bills to pay later when you get back home
 
Past OR future Camino
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
I pay in cash also, but I sure don't carry around $2000 in cash on me! Yikes!
I take my cash out in 200-300 euro increments as needed.
You carry all that cash? :shock:
 

jirit

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Anniesantiago said:
I pay in cash also, but I sure don't carry around $2000 in cash on me! Yikes!
I take my cash out in 200-300 euro increments as needed.
You carry all that cash? :shock:

I rarely carry that much cash with me but I do try to take the daily limit which depending on your bank and the ATM machine and country you are in does vary. Portugal for example has a 200 euro limit regardless of what you arrangement with your bank is. Spain and elsewhere you can sometimes take out 600 euros, good for 2 weeks on the Camino for one person. Generally the big national banks in Europe allow you to take more out per transaction than the local regional banks and credit unions.

I do recommend contacting your bank to let them know that you will taking out significant amounts of cash out weekly while on the Camino. Banks at least here in Canada, set daily and weekly limits based on your withdrawal behavior in the past. You will probably that while in Europe you will exceed these limits. And remind them twice and reconfirm that they have change your daily and weekly limits prior to leave. It has happened to me twice; once in Spain and again in Italy, the last time my paid for the extra charges I incurred and the expensive phone call I had to make to tell them off for the third time.

Finally check with your bank to see if they have reciprocal agreements to forgo the withdrawal charges with banks in Europe. My bank has a number of agreements with many European banks whereby I am not charged the withdrawal charge. Whereever possible I try to take money out these banks and load up if need be.

You can tell I just don't like paying banks charges if I don't have to

:)
 

vagabondette

Active Member
Just another reminder to carry 2 cards! I have been back in the US for about 3 weeks now and my US bank started freaking out in the last 48 hours. I was briefly frozen yesterday and today only every other transaction worked. It was fine because I had cash, but tonight I tried to buy my round and my main card was declined. I luckily had my 2nd card with me so I just used that but it could have been a nightmare of explaining that the shot I just treated everyone to ... now everyone had to pitch in to cover the tab.
 

Toobizy

Member
Thanks all! I did set up with my Wells Fargo for exact dates of travel & use of my debit card (a Visa). Then I spoke with my Visa credit card people & insured use of those (2) cards in Europe. Magic! I now feel much more in control & less fearful. Confidence comes from preparation. Also, my Wells Fargo can order euros for me prior to travel. Yippee!
 
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vagabondette

Active Member
check the exchange rate of those euros. in my experience it's rarely a good deal to get money before you leave because the exchange rate is bad. it's almost always better to just hit the ATM at the airport.
 
Past OR future Camino
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
I agree. The bank exchange rate is horrible when you order euros here. You should ask what they will charge you. The ATM is usually a LOT cheaper.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
Some people don't like arriving in a country without any local currency, so if it makes you feel more comfortable to exchange a couple hundred dollars to euros before you go, then go for it. The echange rate won't be good, but the difference in real money won't be a lot.

I just bring about US$200 with me as a back up - which I could exchange for local money if I needed to.
 

AlanB

Active Member
1 visa debit and 1 mastercard. Both Santander Bank. Zero charge for withdrawals and plenty of branches if there is a problem
 
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Yallah

Camino Guidebooks (Village to Village)
Past OR future Camino
Francés, Finisterre, Portugués, Norte, Primitivo, Inglés
You didn't say where you're from, but if you're from outside of Europe, I would recommend getting a credit card which does not charge a currency conversion fee. Many credit cards charge 3% on each transaction in foreign currency. I'm American and have a Capital One Mastercard, which has worked great all over the world without a conversion fee.
 

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