So, i'm planning my first trip to Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. I know my ATM card will work in most places, but i was wondering if that's all i should take (aside from some cash). I don't have a credit card and it'd be too complicated to get one since i'm leaving the US for good...any ideas from you, more experienced travellers? travellers checks, maybe?...
You need a debit card then. Lots of banks and American Express issue debit cards (the AMEX card is electronic travel checks with same refund policy), carrying only cash is too risky, travel checks are too bulky and you'll spend a long time in bank lines in some countries cashing them. ATMs are everywhere in large cities. Most people I know travel with a debit card using VISA or MC logo.
Here I´m after 9 years traveling without credit card, beliebe me is possible!
Thanks! I do have a debit card. I guess it'll have to do. I'm a little worried, though, about the daily extraction limit being lower than usual in different countries. has anybody encountered a problem with that?
As far as I know, if you have dedit card there is no daily limit, since the limit is set by the amount of money you have on your account.
However, almost all countries in SA have an limit to the amount you
can withdraw (per withdrawel). If you need more money than this limit,
you will have to withdraw several times (on the same day). This is
what I did, and it worked. It is a bit stupid, since you normally pay
a fee everytime you withdraw. But, this is the only possibility and
at least it is safe.
You can definitely get by without a credit card I think, although they are handy to have. I have two and I have not used them since NY for anything other than cash withdrawal.
The only places that seem to take them here in Peru anyway are hotels and the higher class restaurants, the bus companies and some good stores. Everywhere else just looks at you aghast if you try to pay with a credit card.
Also, VISA seems to be the type of card most widely accepted here. Have seen very few Mastercard signs.
Hope that helps!
One less thing to worry about...
If your debit card has say an MC or Visa logo and you wish to withdraw more there are certain banks you may visit in each country or region to arrange a larger withdrawal,in Central America it's "Credomatic" etc. However do not ever give your PIN number to anyone or use it front of even a bank employee. If your card gets stuck in the machine and don't speak Spanish don't panic, find help and call the bank as soon as possible..always try and make withdrawals in large cities that have ample ATM facilities rather than in small tourist destinations...for example Granada in Nicaragua has one ATM located outside the main bank..last year some non Spanish speakers from Canada recruited local children for help and a couple weeks later were robbed, the children showed up riding new bicycles..when it comes to your money don't trust anyone.
Oh yeah, VISA. VISA is everywhere in Latin America..MC less so.
Thanks so much for that info. I'll look into it.