Cash or Card? Countries where you still need cash.

I was recently in Ecuador and many shops etc. only accepted cash. The good news though is that they use USD as their official currency and everything was very affordable, so getting cash wasn't a big problem.

I was also in Argentina recently. Many businesses do accept credit cards, but offer discounts in the order of 10-15% if you pay in cash. You can also save quite a lot of money by bringing USD with you and changing them to Argentinian pesos on the street. The exchange rate you get is around 15% better than the official exchange rate. So by changing cash on the street and paying cash, you're effectively saving up to 30%.
 
I’d be interested to know if UniCaja Bianco ATMs want to charge a fee for your ING card?
I did the test.
I used the ING card at a UniCaja ATM. The ATM didn’t charge a fee, ING charged $5 and then rebated it (I jumped the hoops last month), and the transaction converted within 0.3% of XE rate.
Test successful…
 
I did the test.
I used the ING card at a UniCaja ATM. The ATM didn’t charge a fee, ING charged $5 and then rebated it (I jumped the hoops last month), and the transaction converted within 0.3% of XE rate.
Test successful…
Excellent. Many thanks for the feedback!
 
Further to foreign ATMs, Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and the like…

Today I withdrew cash from an IberCaja ATM in rural Spain (Galicia).
The ATM very generously offered to convert the EU amount into AUD for me.
The rate offered was 1 AUD = 0.562148 EU, while the XE rate at the time showed 1 AUD = 0.6133 EU
In this instance I was withdrawing 600 EU, so the ATM was offering to charge me 1067.33 AUD (which I declined…), while my ING account is now showing a charge of 981.51 AUD (i.e. 1 : 0.6113)
If my rusty arithmetic is correct, the ATM offer would have been about an 8.7% higher cost than the ING charge 🙀
 
Just returned from Mexico and Cuba.

Mexico. Could not find anyone (including 4 banks, 2 x Fx, and two hotels) who will accept AUD. To get money we used ATMs to get pesos. USD accepted everywhere but not at good rates. Whether card or cash was acceptable varied from venue to venue, The places that accepted card often wanted to charge in USD and were more expensive than places that took local currency cash (pesos). ANZ charged AUD5 ATM fee for each withdrawal.

Cuba - take cash in USD or EUD. DO NOT change at official currency exchange places (rate fixed at USD1:CUP120). “Black market” rates (at private accom houses etc) varied from USD1: CUP310-400+. Paying in CUP always better prices than USD/EUD
 
Asking here so as not to start new thread.

Does anyone use Citibank Readycredit for cash advances overseas? Yes I know silly question but I may be in a bind half way through trip to Thailand and I don't have Wise card.

Is it 3% on cash advance + 150 baht ATM fee + poor foreign currency exchange? I don't really have any test transactions while I am in Australia but I can spend 200 baht at 7-Eleven with 28 degrees and 200 baht with Citibank readycredit as well and see difference in foreign currency exchange.

It's only about $1500 at the most so ~$50 + poor foreign currency exchange.
 
Asking here so as not to start new thread.

Does anyone use Citibank Readycredit for cash advances overseas? Yes I know silly question but I may be in a bind half way through trip to Thailand and I don't have Wise card.

Is it 3% on cash advance + 150 baht ATM fee + poor foreign currency exchange? I don't really have any test transactions while I am in Australia but I can spend 200 baht at 7-Eleven with 28 degrees and 200 baht with Citibank readycredit as well and see difference in foreign currency exchange.

It's only about $1500 at the most so ~$50 + poor foreign currency exchange.
Don't forget the interest rate that will be compounding at usually around 20.99% (pa) from the moment you cash advance til when you pay it.
If you leave it for a bit, it'll stack up.
 
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Japan’s thirst for cash has been well documented here. I just returned and I got by with credit cards most of the time, but some unpredictable places where it was cash. Restaurants in smaller towns.
 
A little glimpse of Sweden: I asked from a friend what's their smallest banknote. She didn't have a clue any more because she hasn't used cash in such a long time. Everything has been on card & digital for years.

The ATM I used, had minimum of 200 SEK (about AUD 30). The smallest note in circulation is 20 SEK.
Finding an ATM was another fun thing. They are pretty few and far in between. I was in a larger "hub" suburb of Gothenburg and the whole suburb had two ATM's, one at the transport interchange and one by a bank near the local shopping centre (and none in the centre). It's like having one, max two, ATM's in Brisbane Chermside, Parramatta Westfield or Melbourne Chadstone.
 
I would guess the Bhutan is compatable with the Indian system (it seems as though around 2/3rdsof Tourists to Bhutan are from India.)

I will be finding out more in June when I am back in Bhutan and will be giving the Bank of Bhutan (BoB) app a try.
Just got back from Bhutan again.

We used the Bank of Bhutan App (GOBOB) successfully around the country but some issues.
  1. You need a Bhutan phone number for the app to work so you need a local sim rather than roaming or an Esim.
  2. Because we had a local sim we couldn't get the confirming code from our Australian bank so we couldn't do a transfer direct into the GOBOB account. We ended up drawing money out of the banks ATM to deposit cash in the account at the main branch in Thimphu.
  3. Because we couldn't transfer directly from our account we could not transfer back to our account at the end of the trip. We had to manage our GOBOB account in conjunction with cash to ensure we left nothing in the account before we left Bhutan.
 
Just got back from Bhutan again.

We used the Bank of Bhutan App (GOBOB) successfully around the country but some issues.
  1. You need a Bhutan phone number for the app to work so you need a local sim rather than roaming or an Esim.
  2. Because we had a local sim we couldn't get the confirming code from our Australian bank so we couldn't do a transfer direct into the GOBOB account. We ended up drawing money out of the banks ATM to deposit cash in the account at the main branch in Thimphu.
  3. Because we couldn't transfer directly from our account we could not transfer back to our account at the end of the trip. We had to manage our GOBOB account in conjunction with cash to ensure we left nothing in the account before we left Bhutan.
Sounds like another good reason to put your local Oz service on eSIM to free up the physical slot for a local SIM when required!
 
Sounds like another good reason to put your local Oz service on eSIM to free up the physical slot for a local SIM when required!
Yes our problem is we have been using Aldi for years and they don't do E-Sims . . . if the bank could send confirmation by email it would be fine (after all they have been told that we are overseas!)
 
Yes our problem is we have been using Aldi for years and they don't do E-Sims . . . if the bank could send confirmation by email it would be fine (after all they have been told that we are overseas!)
Maybe time to switch! There’s some recent and useful discussion here about cheap Oz telcos and roaming bundles (most available on eSIM) eg amaysim, Felix, Boost, etc

 
A little glimpse of Sweden: I asked from a friend what's their smallest banknote. She didn't have a clue any more because she hasn't used cash in such a long time. Everything has been on card & digital for years.

The ATM I used, had minimum of 200 SEK (about AUD 30). The smallest note in circulation is 20 SEK.
Finding an ATM was another fun thing. They are pretty few and far in between. I was in a larger "hub" suburb of Gothenburg and the whole suburb had two ATM's, one at the transport interchange and one by a bank near the local shopping centre (and none in the centre). It's like having one, max two, ATM's in Brisbane Chermside, Parramatta Westfield or Melbourne Chadstone.
In September last year we visited Stockholm for 30 hours, and Malmo for a few hours in September 2022. We never needed cash even to use a public toilet where card was accepted. :(
 

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