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Citibank Debit Card is Great.

travelislife

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Feb 9, 2011
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In Japan last October my card was declined due to 'inactivity'. I complained to Citibank about this as they had accepted deposits to the account prior to departure, and I hadn't been told the account was inactive. I couldn't see anything in the monthly statement emails that advised that the account was inactive.

Visited again last month and had no trouble withdrawing cash at an ATM in the hotel lobby (excellent rate and no fee). I had done a test withdrawal of $20 prior to leaving Australia, and will always make sure I do this prior to any future travels.
I always do the $20 withdrawal in Aus a few days before leaving now, otherwise the card sits in the drawer.
 

JFi

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
122
Thanks for the suggestion of doing a balance query, I didn’t know that qualified as activity. I will endeavour to do that.
I'm not sure if this works or not, maybe it's different if you do it in Australia. I had the exact same thing happen recently. I regularly use my account online to pay for my Citi card but was over a year since I used the debit card at an ATM.
Tried to withdraw from a 7/11 in Japan and got denied. However, I was able to check my account balance. It only got denied when I tried to withdraw so I'm not sure if the balance query counts as an activity. On the phone, they said a withdrawal counts as an activity so I'll probably do a withdrawal before my next trip just to be safe. Unfortunately, by the time I got it sorted the rate for the Yen went from above 80 to 76...
 

theblank

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Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Messages
1,132
Every other transaction I've ever made - be it when travelling overseas or buying on the internet, with Visa or MasterCard, has been at a lower rate than the XE.com rate - as I expected.
all wrong. Mastercard sets the rates the day before.
your matching to XE.com is purely coincidental - and a waste of time. There is no way for you to predict the time of day to check the rate to compare against mastercards set rate, unless you work out the exact moment that Mastercard makes the decisions,

Noting that the time of day Mastercard sets the rate, doesnt mean they made that decision in that moment, could be hour/s before that.

The fact remains that any card product that doesnt add a % fee, is the cheapest way to get money overseas. There is no need to check it.
 

Vic

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Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
469
The fact remains that any card product that doesnt add a % fee, is the cheapest way to get money overseas. There is no need to check it.
That just doesn't match. plenty of bank products that do not charge a fee on overseas ATM use but do include a BIG margin on the exchange rate. (for example Mastercard/Visa issued by any of the big 4 banks can be as much as 5 cents worse that the mid market rate)
That's how buying and selling works, there is a spread in the cost. That's how organisations don't lose money on currency exchange. (or they how they make money to pay for their operations).
XE publishes the mid market rate. Perfectly valid to check achieved exchange rate against mid market rate.
 

Renato1

Established Member
Joined
May 1, 2015
Messages
1,432
all wrong. Mastercard sets the rates the day before.
your matching to XE.com is purely coincidental - and a waste of time. There is no way for you to predict the time of day to check the rate to compare against mastercards set rate, unless you work out the exact moment that Mastercard makes the decisions,

Noting that the time of day Mastercard sets the rate, doesnt mean they made that decision in that moment, could be hour/s before that.

The fact remains that any card product that doesnt add a % fee, is the cheapest way to get money overseas. There is no need to check it.
I'm happy to be stood corrected.

But if I am all wrong, then just exactly how many times have you used your MasterCard or Visa card and found that you got a better rate than the Xe.com rate at any time during the day of your purchase?

You presumably would have a large number of such instances.

Note also the Visa card and MasterCard rates are not the same on each day, and that both - on days of low to average volitality, are always lower than the xe.com rate.
Regards,
Renato
 

RooFlyer

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Check out the ING card.
Is that the ING Orange Everyday Debit card? https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Orange_Everyday_Fees_and_Limits_Schedule.pdf (PDF)

I have an ING account so checked it out; according to ING on the phone just now, that card attracts a fee of $2.50 per international withdrawal which is rebated if a) you deposit $1000 per month to the linked account from an external source and b) you make 5 qualifying purchases on the card per month.

If that's the card referred to, then its vastly inferior to the Citi debit card, which has no Citi fees for withdrawals (and is also fee free on the vast majority international ATMs) and has no deposit/purchase criteria.
 

jb747

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Is that the ING Orange Everyday Debit card? https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Orange_Everyday_Fees_and_Limits_Schedule.pdf (PDF)

I have an ING account so checked it out; according to ING on the phone just now, that card attracts a fee of $2.50 per international withdrawal which is rebated if a) you deposit $1000 per month to the linked account from an external source and b) you make 5 qualifying purchases on the card per month.

If that's the card referred to, then its vastly inferior to the Citi debit card, which has no Citi fees for withdrawals (and is also fee free on the vast majority international ATMs) and has no deposit/purchase criteria.
Well, for various reasons, the $1000 deposit and 5 transactions are not an issue. Note that it says linked account too, not that specific account. A transaction between two people with ING accounts, one in each direction, also fulfils that requirement.

Anyway, I pay no ING fees at all. They rebate ANY ATM fees, whether within Australia or outside.
 

kpc

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I wouldn't say the ING orange is vastly inferior to the Citibank card. The $1000 deposit is easy as you will need to deposit $$ anyway. The 5 transactions are easily done eg at your local supermarket self checkout by making 5x $1 (or less) payments with the card in a row. ;) The local ATM fee charged is increasingly more common I find eg most US, all Thai (~$5 per withdrawal) and the Portuguese, Sapporo and Okinawan ones I used recently. The Ing Orange card rebates those fees! I have the Citibank and +1 the Orange Ing...worked well for us recently when my Citibank account was deactivated!!
 

RooFlyer

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I wouldn't say the ING orange is vastly inferior to the Citibank card.
OK, maybe not vastly inferior but for me its a no-brainer to go no further on it.

I've been using the Citi product for years, but only on overseas trips. I wasn't aware of the non-activity related suspension but as I haven't traveled for 6 moths or so, I suspect mine might be deactivated, so thought to check up on JB's suggestion.

To need to deposit $1K per month and to do 5 transactions per month is just a PITA in my case, where I'm just after a low cost overseas ATM card, even though I already bank with ING (term deposits). That would be the tail wagging the dog.

The only place I've paid a fee on the Citi card is in Chile, and once in the US where I needed cash at an airport and they only had a fee-charging brand there. I don't remember paying any fees in Japan, but maybe I co-incidentally used the no-fee options there.

But sure, if you are regularly banking with ING and use their cards in everyday life then their debit card would be good for overseas ATMs. But having a Citi card, there is no need for me to go further. I'll go out now and see if my Citi card is still live. :rolleyes:
 

pauly7

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Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Messages
4,451
I wouldn't say the ING orange is vastly inferior to the Citibank card. The $1000 deposit is easy as you will need to deposit $$ anyway. The 5 transactions are easily done eg at your local supermarket self checkout by making 5x $1 (or less) payments with the card in a row. ;) The local ATM fee charged is increasingly more common I find eg most US, all Thai (~$5 per withdrawal) and the Portuguese, Sapporo and Okinawan ones I used recently. The Ing Orange card rebates those fees! I have the Citibank and +1 the Orange Ing...worked well for us recently when my Citibank account was deactivated!!
I don't think its vastly inferior either, but it's annoying enough to ignore for me, got no times for that kinda stuff :)
 

RooFlyer

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Ok, my Citi card still works. According to the call centre, it is deactivated only after 12 months of inactivity. Still ahead :)
 

jb747

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I don't think its vastly inferior either, but it's annoying enough to ignore for me, got no times for that kinda stuff :)
That kinda stuff more than offsets the risk of the card simply being invalid 'cos I haven't used it for 3/6/12 months. Whatever it is....

I did investigate Citi once, back when the QF guys liked it, but they actually put hurdles in the way when opening one...and I wasn't interested in something that I couldn't complete from my office.
 

pauly7

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That kinda stuff more than offsets the risk of the card simply being invalid 'cos I haven't used it for 3/6/12 months. Whatever it is....

I did investigate Citi once, back when the QF guys liked it, but they actually put hurdles in the way when opening one...and I wasn't interested in something that I couldn't complete from my office.
Never had an issue with it being inactive and I never withdraw money from it (in AU), so haven't encountered this 'risk'.

But maybe because I instant message Citi when I go OS, its a habit.... perhaps that 'reactivates' the account....? who knows.
 
Last edited:

stm1sydney

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2018
Messages
265
all wrong. Mastercard sets the rates the day before.
your matching to XE.com is purely coincidental - and a waste of time. There is no way for you to predict the time of day to check the rate to compare against mastercards set rate, unless you work out the exact moment that Mastercard makes the decisions,
Good grief. All Renato was saying was that the Citibank product uses the standard Mastercard rate and Mastercard has a very thin buy/sell margin compared to other products (such as the Money Exchange machine cited; also the Travelex machines, travel money cards and cash exchange would fall into this category). And that comparing each to the benchmark xe.com mid-market rate of the day is a useful way to quantify the narrowness (or width) of the margin for each such product.
 

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