Cost trap ATM Croatia: Reject always suggested exchange rate

Rip-off at cash machines: Pay attention to the exchange rate when withdrawing money on vacation in Croatia.
Rip-offs at Croatian cash machines for cash withdrawals in kuna: Whoever decides quickly, pays for it. We show how to withdraw "correctly".

When it comes to withdrawals at ATMs abroad, especially in countries like Croatia that have not yet introduced the euro, many users still fall into the cost trap. The perfide to it: Usually one notices only after the return from the vacation that the costs of the use of an ATM in Croatia are excessively high. Even if one is annoyed in the moment, up to the next stay one forgot it usually again and falls again on the tricks of the Aufsteller of cash dispensers into the trap.

Reject suggested exchange rate!

How should you proceed if you want to withdraw money from an account in Germany or Austria as a holidaymaker in Croatia without falling for the ATM rip-off when withdrawing money in the Croatian currency Kuna? First you insert the card into the ATM, select the amount to be withdrawn in Kuna and then you will be given the option to “reject exchange rate” or “accept exchange rate”.

ATM Croatia: Reject proposed exchange rate
The machine suggests 6.69 kuna as exchange rate. Those who reject it will get much better conditions from their bank.

On some machines you are additionally tempted to accept the exchange rate, as it is called a “safe exchange rate”.

Cash dispenser Croatia: Misleading notice - safe exchange rate -
Who would not like to have a guarantee? At Croatian cash dispensers one should do without it. If you choose “no guaranteed exchange rate” here, you will really save money in the end.


Exchange rate of the banks in the home country significantly more favorable

This supposedly “safe exchange rate” is set by the company that installs the machine. In our example the exchange rate was 6.7 kuna for one euro. However, at that very moment the usual bank rate was 7.38 kuna for one euro. See picture 2, which shows the debiting of the account. This process corresponds to the amount shown on the ATM which is based on a real withdrawal.

ATM Croatia: Receipt exchange rate
The surprise comes only at home – you will not find anything about the exchange rate on the receipt which you will receive after withdrawing cash in kuna from Croatian ATMs.

The difference is not exactly insignificant: 332.73 euros would have been charged to the account with the currency conversion suggested by the cash dispenser, as one can easily see.

300 Euro withdrawal from the machine costs an additional 26.68 Euro

If one rejects the suggested exchange rate however, only 306.05 euro are debited to the account, since now the own bank determines the exchange rate and that corresponds obviously rather to the reality. The saving for the withdrawing user of the cash dispenser: 26.68 euro, only because he rejected the given exchange rate. With several withdrawals in the course of a stay in Croatia this can add up already not insignificant.

Cash dispenser Croatia: bank statement favorable exchange rate
Picture 2: Exchange rate rejected, here the account statement after the rejection: instead of 332.73 euro only 306.05 euro are charged to the account, thus 26.68 euro less. The difference of 26.68 Euro would have been paid into the cash box of the vending machine operator if the suggested exchange rate had been accepted.


Also with exchange offices look exactly on the course

In plain language this means: 26.68 Euro is paid additionally if one accepts the suggested exchange rate. By the way: Even when exchanging on the spot in many exchange offices, you should take a close look at the exchange rate beforehand: Many offer similar exchange rates as suggested by our greedy cash machine. Answer of the German DKB-Bank: For safety’s sake we have once again contacted the press office of the German DKB-Bank, whose friendly press spokesman sent the following statement: “Cash withdrawals in foreign currency are free of charge for active customers on the part of DKB; for standard customers, a currency conversion fee of 2.20% of sales is charged. If the customer directly chooses currency conversion at the ATM when withdrawing kuna, a fee charged by the bank issuing the ATM will be included in the conversion rate. This can be very expensive under certain circumstances. When choosing the “unguaranteed exchange rate”, the scenario described above comes into effect. The exchange rate used is the DKB exchange rate, which is the Euro reference exchange rate of the ECB. In the past, we have found that the exchange rate of the ATM issuing bank is less favorable than the conversion by the DKB.” statement Raiffeisenbank Österreich Austrian banks also confirmed this practice: The Raiffeisen Bank International additionally stated: “A Raiffeisen ATM card in Germany/Austria does not automatically make you a Raiffeisen customer in Croatia” and pointed out that you should always have a look at the offered exchange rate. statement BAWAG Österreich And the BAWAG stated: For withdrawals in foreign currency (Kuna), the exchange rate is calculated and the fees are charged by the card-issuing bank. If EUR is selected, the dynamic currency conversion (DCC) is used to calculate the exchange rate and charge fees. These costs are beyond our control. When selecting DCC, it is advisable to compare the exchange rate quoted at the ATM with the current exchange rates..

Do not take cash with you

Unproblematic for the Holiday in Croatia is when the holidaymaker forgoes large amounts of cash, i.e. euros, and instead withdraws the Croatian currency kuna from ATMs. Then however in any case on the exchange rate look and the suggested exchange rate reject, so that the conversion can take place with the own house bank to clearly more favorable conditions.

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