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Monday, August 10, 2009

Bank of America and Foreign ATMs – Spain Works Free!

Last year, I wrote a prolonged article about my experiences in Italy with ATMs as a Bank of America customer. A quick summary of that article was that I became surprised when I made withdrawals from Bank of America partners (Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, etc.) in Florence, Rome, and Venice – I was charged a number of different fees by Bank of America. These fees included a $5 non-network ATM fee plus an additional international conversation rate fee that amounted to XYZ per 300 euros.

After an email contact with Bank of America asking them to explain the reason since I withdrew the euros from their partner banks – I received a simple explanation. The reason Bank of America charged me was because the funds were not withdrawn in the country of the partnership. For example, Barclays had to be withdrawn in the UK (England) and for Deutsche Bank it had to be withdrawn in Germany.

Based on that message and the experience in Italy, I was under the assumption that the case would be the same on our recent vacation to Spain. One opportunity I saw was our transfer in Frankfurt to catch the flight to Madrid might afford the opportunity to find a Deutsche Bank and pull out as many euros as we possibly could to save ourselves about $20 per 300 euros ($5 international charge + 3% fee). This actually worked out really well, there were several Deutsche Bank ATMs in the Frankfurt Airport – and we were able to get 600 euros between the two of us and save ourselves $40! So, if you’re headed to Italy – try grabbing your Euros in an ATM in an airport in London (Heathrow), Paris, or Frankfurt to save some transaction and conversion fees.

But, in Spain – the good luck continued. As we started to run out of euros, I noticed that there were both Barclays and Deutsche Bank ATMs in Madrid. In fact the Deutsche Bank ATM was just a block from the Westin Palace Hotel where we staying – which I expected to be the identical situation as Italy – lots of fees.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised when I checked my bank account the next couple of days online. No additional fees for non network ATMs or the additional international conversion fees.

And it was not only in Madrid, the same thing occurred in Barcelona – an additional euro withdrawal there did not generate any additional fees. This leads me to conclude that it is likely that all Deutsche Bank locations in Spain do not generate fees for Bank of America ATMs cardholders. That’s great news as compared with Italy, especially since the Deutsche Bank ATMs are pretty much everywhere in Spain..

I did not confirm whether Barclays (which there are seemingly equal numbers of as Deutsche Bank) – if a reader can confirm Barclays with a comment, I would be happy to update the post.

After checking Bank of America’s website once again, there do not appear to be any significant changes (if any) to their international partnership and withdrawal policy. This leads me to conclude that their policy is not as straight forward and varies from country to country. For example, on my previous post a reader mentioned that they were able to withdrawal fee free in South Africa.

If enough folks are interested, I would be happy to continue updating this post with fee-free listings by country for Bank of America ATM withdrawals as they are confirmed by readers. Just let me know with a post below or an email:

For now, the list looks like this:

Able to withdrawal cash fee free with a Bank of America ATM card:
Australia (Westpac)
Canada (Scotiabank)
China (China Construction Bank)
France (BNP Paribas)
Germany (Deutsche Bank)
Mexico (Santander Serfin)
New Zealand (Westpac)
Spain (Barclays, Deutsche Bank)
UK (Barclays)
Barclays - United Kingdom

Fees charged for international network withdrawals:
Italy (All)

Good luck out there and happy fee free ATM withdrawal!


Anonymous said...

We will be going to Rome but a layover at airport in Madrid for a few hours. Any Deutsche Bank atm's at the Madrid airport?

Thank you

Ken Hanscom said...

Hey AG -- I can't be sure, but given the number of Deutsche Bank ATMs in Madrid -- there is a good possibility. If you find one, can you let me know?


Anonymous said...

I had turned to BoA when a rep in TD Bank told me they were going to start charging for ATM withdrawals in Europe. After calling the TD Bank 800# twice they reassured me there was no change as long as I had my ck acct with them. There are no charges at foreign or domestic atm's. Needless to say I will use my TD B cards in Europe. AG

Anonymous said...

I lived in Spain for 10 months 07-08 and had no problem with fees at either Deutsche Bank or Barclay's. I was in Oviedo, a pretty small city in northern Spain, and they had at one branch of each right in the city center. I think Barclay's even had a satellite ATM elsewhere in the city but my memory's a little fuzzy on that...anyway, this was very helpful the first couple of months for paying rent since the teaching grant we were supposed to live off of didn't start paying until at least a month Spain!


Saavi said...

Thanks for the information our family has a plan to visit spain for the next summer


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Anonymous said...

Anyone know the BofA partner in the Netherlands? I have a layover in amsterdam

Kath said...

I spent 4 days in Madrid and used a Barclay's ATM. No fees! As another commenter wrote, I think there are no fees for Bank of America customers at Barclay's in Spain. I'm in Oviedo now, and I'm about to set off in search of a Deutsche Bank or Barclay's. Thank you for posting all of this information!

Aja said...

Thank you so much for this information! This will definitely save me money because now I know that I can wait until I get to Spain and get Euros at an ATM in the airport rather than exchanging in the US or at a currency exchange station at a rate that's not as good as the ATM's rate. I will be living in Oviedo for a few months, so it's good to know that I can save so much money on those ATM fees. Please continue to update if you travel to other countries, Thanks! :-)

DHH Arroyo Grande, CA said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for your Blog Post. Based on it I used Barclays while in Barcelona and when I checked my account there were no fees. I'm actually still in Barcelona, about to leave the hotel for the airport...

BTW, there is a Barclays next to the Gaudi Batllo House. I was nervous about pickpockets during my stay and was pleased to find that in addition to the ATM outside, there was also one just inside the lobby right next to a security guard station. It made me feel safe to make my withdrawals there...

Anonymous said...

The Barclays throughout Kenya also do not charge fees.

Anonymous said...

The Barclays throughout Uganda also do not charge fees.

Anonymous said...

My daughter withdrew money today from Barclays in Madrid and was not charged any extra conversion fees or $5 fee. She will be there for an entire semester and if I hadn't read these posts
it would have been pretty costly because I would never have known about Barclays. Thank you all for posting. Btw, Bank of America told me that they do not have any partnership banks in Spain.

autodidakto said...

I'm in Cádiz and Deutche ATMs won't allow me to use my BofA card (Unauthorized Transaction). Haven't tried barclay.

BofA charges $5 to withdraw from international ATMS. In their fee chart, it says: "The non–Bank of America atm fees do not apply at some atms located outside the United States. Call us before you travel internationally for current information about banks participating in the program.

Anonymous said...

I recently contacted BofA and they said they had a new partner bank in Italy called BNL D'Italia. They said if we used BNL's ATM's we would not be charged any ATM fee, only a 1% currency conversion fee. Do you have any updated information on this? Do you know if there are any BNL banks or ATM's in Venice or Florence?

Anonymous said...

Super helpful, I am planning a summer trip now - reading every page of your wonderful blog. Here is a BoA link to a chart of their Int'l partners. See Global ATM Alliance about 3/4 of way down page.

gregrocker said...

I also was not charged using Barclays in BCN and MAD in Summer 09, so went looking for any change in policy and found yours is the only accurately updated source including that of one of the biggest banks in the world. The newer comments reassure me. I have used Barclay's next to the Gaudi House at Paseo De Gracia for some years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this chain. I also just withdrew from Barclays in BCN on 8-23-11 without being charged any transaction or FX fees. I spoke to a BofA representative on the phone today who told me that there is no partnership in Spain, and that fees would be charged at all ATMs, but after seeing the transaction list on my account, the information from BofA is incorrect - and this blog is spot on. Thanks!)

Anonymous said...

FYI, BofA now has an Italian partnership. See and click "International Locations". As of today:

Use your ATM card or debit card within our Global ATM Alliance with no fees in the countries below.
BNP Paribas (France)
BNL d'Italia (Italy)
Barclays (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands)
Deutsche Bank (Germany)
Scotiabank (Canada and the Caribbean, Caribbean countries include: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles (St Maarten), St Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands)
Westpac (Australia and New Zealand)
In addition, Bank of America has arranged for you to use your debit or ATM cards in China at China Construction Bank
ATMs (China Construction Bank ATMs in Hong Kong are not included) and in Mexico at Banco Santander with no ATM
Operator Fees or Non-Bank of America International ATM fees. An International Transaction fee for converting your
currency may apply.

M said...

I am currently studying abroad (Fall 2011) in Barcelona and have been using my BOA debit card at atms (Deutsche Bank and Barclays) to get money. I have not seen any fees posted to my account.

However, I am trying to see if there is any conversion rates tagged onto the withdrawal. So far based on the exchange rates from, the exchange rates I have gotten from the atm have either been exactly that rate or slightly lower (maybe 1-2% at most). I'm not sure if that means that this is a FX fee built into the withdrawal. however, even if that was a fee it is still better than the 3% you have to pay on most credit card and using BOA's card as a debit card at stores.

The one caveat is Deutsche Bank and Barclays is not that common here as compared to other banks/atms. I have gone on a few trips to find an ATM I saw on google maps or the atm location finder, only to find out there is nothing there.

I will be testing out a few other atms to see if there are fees and what they are. I'll post more information if I get it.

Ashley said...

I called BofA and they stated that you can you can use any one of the "global atm alliance banks" in any other country. She stated that they their website lists specific banks per country; however, that is solely just because it is where those banks are primarily located. So according to the BofA rep you can use Barclays, BNP Paribas, BNL Paribas, BNL D'Italia, Deutsche, Scotiabnak, Westpac bank

Anonymous said...

I have a reverse question. i have a 16 year old student from Vienna, Austria, who will be staying with us for the school year. If she opens up a Deutsche Bank account in Vienna, can she use her ATM card at Bank of Americas here in the USA without incurring fees?

Patricia Garcia said...

I was in Rome, Italy .; and withdraw from BNL paribas. And did not get charge any fees. There is one ATM at the termini,(the terminal where you take trains and the metro)
But I wasn't sure about Spain. Thanks