Credit Cards in the US - and the real solution is...ATMs?!

Summer 2009 CSANews Issue 71  |   Posted date : Jul 21, 2009.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

I would like to warn CSA members about using ATMs in the USA, based on my personal experience.
In early March, I attempted to withdraw US$300.00 from my CIBC Canadian account at a Chase Bank ATM located in a Walgreens Drugs outlet in Mesa, Arizona.  Although I received a receipt stating that I had received the cash, I did not receive a penny.  From that transaction, Chase Bank withdrew from our Canadian bank account CDN$397.00, based on the exchange rate at that time. 

At the time, Walgreens were of no help and simply told me that they had nothing to do with the ATM in their store.  I immediately phoned Chase Bank at the 800 number on the ATM machine and was told that I would have to contact my own bank in Canada.  I called CIBC in Canada at their 800 number and they started an investigation into the matter.  As of today, more than two months later, CIBC has not received any reply from Chase Bank.

I would suggest that ATMs located at stores or in malls not be used in the U.S. to withdraw cash, unless perhaps the ATM is located right at a U.S. bank location, preferably where you also have a U.S. bank account.  If the same problem occurs there, at least you can discuss the matter with the bank immediately.  One bank representative in the U.S. told me that this type of problem occurs all the time and that he would never use an ATM for cash.  I have since opened an account at a U.S. bank and am now using the CSA Snowbird Currency Exchange Program.

I'm curious to know if many other CSA members have experienced a similar problem.

M. Danielson

Response :
Ed: I had the same problem with an $800 ATM withdrawal at a machine that was attached to my U.S. bank. I immediately went into the bank and they agreed that I did not get my money ( I think I was lucky on that part), but I would have to wait to get my money. It took about two weeks. I refuse to use ATMs at gas stations and convenience stores because of the outrageous charges and low limits. Some limit withdrawals to $100 and charge $5, which is 5% thrown away; there may also be charges from your own bank on top of these. I withdraw cash at my Canadian and U.S. banks only, and get the maximum withdrawal every time to avoid those "little" charges which add up to very big charges. You will love the CSA's Snowbird Currency Exchange Program and it will save you a lot of money.

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