When traveling in a foreign country -- especially one where you don't know the language -- it's not unusual to feel a little nervous and out of your element. This may be especially true when it comes time to withdraw money from an ATM. You may have heard stories of travelers being robbed or having their information stolen while withdrawing cash. However, you need cash to get by in most countries, so using that ATM is a necessity. Here's how to do it safely.
See if you can find ATMs with partner banks.
Many U.S. banks have partners in foreign countries. Before you leave home, call your bank and ask if they have a partner in the country you're visiting. Then, one you arrive, seek out the partner bank's ATMs to use. This way if anything does happen (such as your information being stolen or your transaction failing to go through properly), you'll have an easier time following up through your bank at home.
Take cash out during the day.
Don't wait until it's dusk and you're desperately in need of cash to make your withdrawal. Plan on taking money out earlier in the day. This is a good idea for two reasons. First, you'll be more visible and there will be more people around, so you're less likely to be robbed. Second, if the first ATM you find seems to be questionable or in an insecure location, you'll have time to find a different one.
Look for ATMs located inside banks.
In many countries, you'll see some ATMs on the sidewalk outside the bank branch. You'll see others inside the bank. It's always best to use the ATMs inside the bank. You're more likely to be on camera inside, so there's a smaller risk of theft. Plus, there will be bank employees nearby, which will deter most thieves. On the sidewalk, it's far too easy for someone to grab your wallet or card as and dash around the corner before you can do anything.
Use your card chip if you have one.
If your card has a microchip, use this in the ATM rather than the magnetic strip. The U.S. was one of the last countries to adopt chip technology, so ATMs in most countries should accept this type of card. Put simply, using the chip decreases your chances of having your information stolen because of the way the information is transmitted.
If you have any other concerns about using ATMs in foreign countries, talk to your banking representative. Contact a company like NCATM Associates LLC for more information.