The tiny Principality of Monaco is a little slice of paradise on the Mediterranean coastline, and the second smallest independent state in the world, at just over 2 square kilometres. Known for its high-end casinos and luxury hotels, it’s a perfect place for spotting superyachts, and enjoying a taste of the high life.
But even if you’re not a high roller, Monaco isn’t cheap. You’re going to need some cash to make the most of it. ATMs are a handy way to withdraw local currency while you’re in Monaco, as long as you avoid common pitfalls and unnecessary fees. Here’s all you need to know about ATMs in Monaco.
You’ll have no problem finding ATMs in Monaco. You can just look out for a bank branch, or spot an ATM in or near tourist and shopping areas.
Wherever you are, you can find a convenient ATM by using one of the following ATM locators:
- Banque Populaire ATM Locator
- Crédit Mutuel ATM Locator
- Crédit du Nord ATM Locator
- Crédit Agricole ATM Locator
- LCL ATM Locator
You can use Visa and Mastercard credit and debit card in ATMs in Monaco. If you usually use an Amex or a Discover card, you might find it harder to find a suitable ATM, so carry an alternative card or some euro cash to cover your stay.
Wherever you are, check out the nearest ATM on the same network as your card, with one of the following locators:
- Maestro ATM locator
- Mastercard and Cirrus ATM locator
- Visa, Plus, and Plus Alliance ATM locator
- Discover ATM locator
- American Express ATM locator
ATMs in Monaco, like most everywhere in Europe, use a 4 digit PIN code. That means that cards with chip and pin, from elsewhere in Europe, the UK or Australia, for example, should pose no problem. However, if you hold an American magnetic stripe card, and don’t usually use a PIN, you’ll need to get a PIN issued by your bank before you travel.
If you have a daily cash withdrawal limit set up at your home bank, then that’ll dictate how much you can withdraw from ATMs in Monaco.
Otherwise, the ATM provider or bank’s policy will apply, which might mean there is a per transaction and a daily limit imposed by the cashpoint.
Getting your bank card blocked or limited is a sure-fire way to ruin your break. And bank fraud departments might just do that if they identify a change in spending pattern, just in case your card is lost or stolen. It’s a security measure, but it can be extremely frustrating.
Avoid issues by letting your bank know your travel plans in advance. Just find the online form, usually available by logging into your online banking, or call into your local branch.
If you use ATMs in Monaco, you might find that you have to pay a fee per withdrawal, but the exact cost can depend on where and by which bank your card was issued.
Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) is a common, and costly, problem for travellers. Luckily it’s also entirely avoidable.
DCC is where you’re asked if you want to pay for your transaction in your home currency as opposed to the local currency. You can come across this in stores, restaurants and ATMs.
The issue is that DCC transactions don’t generally use the real, mid-market rate - the one you’d find if you googled it. Instead, the foreign bank or ATM provider decide the exchange rate for you. They can mark up the exchange rate they offer and pocket the difference, and you’re none the wiser - at least until you check your bank balance at the end of the trip. Pay in the local currency instead, and you’ll almost always get a fairer rate on the exchange.
It’s common for banks to charge fees for overseas ATM withdrawals, but the exact amount is different for every account. Some levy a flat fee, and some a percentage of the total withdrawal, so it can work out very costly.
As well as fees from your own bank, you might also be charged by the local bank when you use ATMs in Monaco.
If you have a euro-based bank account from France which also has branches in Monaco, or from a bank which works in partnership with an institution in Monaco, it’s possible you can get free cash withdrawals. However, if your account is in a currency other than euros, the chances are you’ll be charged by either your home bank or the ATM for the currency conversion.
There are some simple tricks to help you to reduce ATM fees in Monaco, even if you can’t avoid them entirely. Here are some ideas to start you off.
Ask before you go, if your home bank works in partnership with an institution in Monaco to offer free or cheap international cash withdrawals to their customers overseas. If so, you might be able to reduce the costs by using ATMs affiliated with the partner bank.
If you have more than one bank account, check the different sets of terms and conditions. You could find it saves you money, as each bank has its own charging structure for international cash withdrawals. By doing a bit of homework ahead of time, you can choose the account which has the fairest fees to use during your trip to Monaco.
Foreign currency credit card cash advances are usually an expensive choice. If you can, avoid them.
You’ll likely find that the worst deals on ATMs are to be found in places with a captive audience - ATMs in tourist locations, casinos, bars and nightclubs are likely to be expensive. Stick to an ATM in or near a bank branch, if at all possible.
If you’re offered the opportunity to pay in your home currency, that’s DCC. And as we mentioned above, it’s smart to always say no. Pay in local currency and avoid the high fees and poor exchange rates associated when using DCC.
TransferWise could be a better way to get cash for your trip for Monaco. With a TransferWise transfer, your cash is converted using the real, mid-market exchange rate, with just a transparent fixed fee, set out upfront.
If you or a friend have a bank account in Monaco, you can transfer money between accounts ahead of time, and withdraw euros from ATMs when you need to during your stay. You don’t have to carry around too much cash or worry about exchange rate rip-offs.
Another option which works well for frequent travellers is to keep your cash in euros, or any one of dozens of other different currencies, in a borderless multi-currency account from TransferWise. There’s no monthly account fee to pay, and you can switch between currencies with just a small fee, whenever you want. You can also get a debit card, and spend your euro balance directly in shops and restaurants, so you don’t have to carry too much cash aroundt with you.
ATMs are a convenient way to get the cash you need for a visit to Monaco. And, as long as you can avoid DCC, the exchange rate used should be relatively fair, too. Just be sure to check out the fees charged both by your bank and the ATM provider to make sure you’re not getting ripped off. Or, use TransferWise, to send money to a local account, and avoid overseas withdrawal charges altogether.
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