If you love food, wine and beaches, Greece is probably on your list of spots to visit. While debit and credit cards are widely accepted in Greece, especially in places with heavy tourist traffic, it’s still a good idea to have some euros on hand. Here’s what you need to know about finding and using ATMs in Greece.
ATMs are common at Greek banks, in commercial centers, at airports, in hotels, at restaurants and even streetside. If you need one, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one, unless you’re in a truly rural area.
If you’re stuck looking for an ATM, you should try to find a local bank, as almost all of them will have at least one ATM. Try these locator tools:
- Alpha Bank ATM locator
- Eurobank Ergasias ATM locator
- National Bank of Greece ATM locator
- Piraeus Bank ATM locator
There are also a number of international banks that operate in Greece that you can try:
- Credit Suisse Greece ATM locator
- HSBC Greece ATM locator
- BNP Paribas Greece ATM locator
- UniCredit Greece ATM locator
US, UK and Australian cards will widely work in Greece, as long as they belong to a common card network. Visa, Mastercard, PLUS, Cirrus and American Express are also widely accepted. Smaller towns may have only one ATM and that means they may not accept your network, so it is wise to carry along some cash when you are outside the big cities. Check ahead by using your network’s locator tool:
- Maestro ATM locator
- Mastercard and Cirrus ATM locator
- Visa, Plus, and Plus Alliance ATM locator
- Discover ATM locator
- American Express ATM locator
In Greece, cards must have four-digit PINs to work in ATMs, so if your PIN is longer or contains letters (as Greek ATMs use the Greek alphabet), check with your bank to see if you can change it. Chip and PIN cards are most common in Greece, but cards without chips will still work in most places where cards are accepted.
There is no maximum withdrawal limit for foreign cards used in Greek ATMs, so your daily limit will be set by your home bank. You can contact them ahead of time to see what it is, and request to temporarily raise it if you need to for the duration of your time in Greece. Keep in mind, though, that ATMs in Greece often run out of cash. Additionally, ATMs with English instructions tend to run out more often than ATMs that have displays only in Greek.
Always let your bank know when you’re going to be travelling internationally, so it doesn’t interpret foreign activity on your card to be suspicious or fraudulent. Getting your card shut off is always a hassle, but even more so if it happens while you’re travelling!
Trying to reduce your fees at Greek ATMs? There are definitely some tricks you can try.
If a Greek ATM gives you the option to view your transaction in your home currency instead of in euros, don’t do it! Dynamic currency conversion may seem like a helpful service, but it actually allows the ATM to set its own exchange rate, often poorer than the mid-market rate, or the rate you see on Google. That means you have to pay the difference, which is essentially a hidden fee for the ATM to profit off of. When using a foreign ATM, you should always choose the local currency if given the option.
Your home bank may charge you a flat fee or percentage as a withdrawal fee. And for using your card in a foreign country, you may also get hit with foreign transaction fees. Check with your bank ahead of time so you’re not surprised by unavoidable fees once you arrive in Greece.
You should try to avoid ATMs in hotels, airports and tourist areas, as they tend to have higher fees than bank ATMs that locals use. You should also try to get a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, reimburses your ATM fees, or both. If you notice flat fees for every transaction, try to make fewer, larger withdrawals to avoid getting hit with multiple fees. And always choose the local currency to avoid DCC fees.
You can also transfer money ahead of time with TransferWise, which moves money at the exact mid-market rate with no markups or hidden fees, just a small, fair transfer fee that’s spelled out upfront. TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts you can use to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies, including euros. You can also can also get the TransferWise multi-currency debit card, making it even easier to access your money abroad.
Check out how to make your first transfer with TransferWise. And give it a try.
With these tips in hand, getting cash in Greece should be much easier. Good luck and safe travels!
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