(from gracielle, reposted by requiest)
ATM foreign usage fees - my personal experience.... My US bank is Bank
of the West. My ATM card is affiliated with MasterCard, Star System,
Cirrus (in BA). They charge me US$1.50 per foreign withdrawal. This fee
has been the same since 2000. I am limited to a daily withdrawal of
US$500. I make all my withdrawals at any Banco Nacion ATM dispenser.
This institution is part of the LINK system here and has branches
throughout the country. Banco Nacion does not charge me an additional
foreign withdrawal fee. They only dispense in pesos. They give me the
official exchange rate....yesterday it was $3.12 pesos.
Three months ago, my local Banco Nacion had no funds in their ATM
machines. This usually happens around the first of the month when
retirees withdraw their pensions. I had the choice to go to Banco
Ciudad which is part of the same LINK system but they also heavily
I decided to try out a private bank which is also part of the LINK
system. I went to the ATM dispenser of HSBC. I obtained the maximum
withdrawal of US$500 in pesos at the official exchange rate. Within 5
days, Bank of the West charged me the usual US$1.50 plus a "foreign
bank fee" of US$5.75. I called my California branch of Bank of the West
to get an explanation. The manager told me they passed on to me the fee
charged to them by HSBC Argentina. He agreed to reverse the charge for
this one time only.
I believe the restriction of US$100 (obtained in pesos) per daily
withdrawal is imposed in Argentina by VISA, SA. To date MASTERCARD has
not instituted this practice here. The additional "foreign fee" per
withdrawal is being charged here by the private banks doing business in
Argentina. This practice seems to be regardless whether you have an ATM
card issued by Visa or MC.
Other American expats successfully use internet banks to avoid extra
fees. I do not believe VISA Argentina is likely to change their policy.
But we have other alternative means of obtaining cash here.