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Caution at ATMs in Croatia after currency conversion: Cost trap for vacationers due to high fees

ATMs in Split / Croatia
At ATMs like this one on the promenade in Split, you should always first see the cost of the transaction and then decide whether you really want to use the ATM. This way you protect yourself from high transaction fees on vacation.Image: Annabell Gsödl - stock.adobe.com

The topic “fees at ATMs in Croatia” moves even after the currency conversion from kuna to euro not only the yacht and boat vacationers, but all guests from Germany and Austria who want to pay a visit to Croatia these days. We took a closer look at the matter and wanted to know what to bear in mind when using ATMs in Croatia after the changeover to the euro and how to save money to protect your vacation funds.

To do this, however, you first need to understand the Croatian banking system. 90% of the Croatian banking sector’s total assets are in the hands of foreign investors, mostly from Italy, Austria, Germany and Hungary. They have partner banks in Croatia, which of course take advantage of the opportunity to set up ATMs. But at the same time, companies such as Euronet also have the right to set up ATMs. And for both incumbent banks and all other service providers, there is a commercial interest in refinancing the investment in the expensive ATMs through fees.

 

Fees at the ATM of the company Euronet when withdrawing euros in Croatia
Even if now no information is required for the conversion Kuna/Euro: The sign “Euronet” indicates that it is an ATM where higher fees are charged when withdrawing or withdrawing in Croatia.

 

The decisive factor is the amount of fees, which also depends on the place of installation, supply of electricity, security, etc. Conversely, this means that if the established banks use their own infrastructure, premises, energy and cash supply, the cost of a withdrawal at an ATM should already be within limits according to normal common sense.

Tip 1:

You should use ATMs of the established banks if possible, since here the greatest prospect of favorable user fees.

ATMs set up away from the banks must finance themselves through the fees. Inevitably, one can therefore assume that in pedestrian areas, marinas, hotels or campsites a withdrawal will be more expensive than directly at a bank.

However, the legislator stipulates that customers must be informed of the amount of the fees of a withdrawal at an ATM for reasons of consumer protection, in the customer dialogue before the final withdrawal.

Tip 2:

Users of ATMs in Croatia should carefully read the legally required customer dialog in the customer menu, here the fees are listed exactly and the customer still has the option to cancel the transaction if the fees are too high.

Raiffeisen Bank International: 4.65 euros per withdrawal

But what fees must be prepared for specifically at Croatian ATMs?

A related inquiry to the press office of Raiffeisen Bank International AG revealed: ” For withdrawing cash with a foreign card, RBA (Raiffeisenbank in Croatia) charges a fee of €4.65, regardless of the amount of the transaction itself.”

 

Fees at Raiffeisen Bank ATMs in Croatia when withdrawing euros
At ATMs of the Raiffeisen Group, withdrawing cash in Croatia costs 4.65 euros; customers of Erste Group Bank AG do not pay any fees at ATMs of their own credit institution in Croatia.

 

First Group Bank AG: Free of charge

Customers of Erste Group Bank AG get off much more cheaply. Here the press office informed: “We charge a fee of EUR 4.75 for cash withdrawals at our ATMs (applies only to third-party customers, editor’s note). Of course, this fee is displayed transparently on the machines and must be confirmed or the withdrawal can be interrupted. For our customers from Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary or Serbia, this fee does not apply at our ATMs in Croatia.

Generally, we recommend in EU foreign countries to fall back on card payment – here there are no fees and the currency risk is also eliminated by euro adaptation in Croatia.”

Tip 3

Withdrawals by foreign customers of Raiffeisen Bank International AG in Croatia are charged 4.65 euros, even if they withdraw money from ATMs of the Raiffeisen Group in Croatia. Customers of Erste Group Bank AG are significantly better off and pay no bank fees at Erste Group Bank ATMs.

German tourists: pay attention to customer dialogue

German tourists who want to withdraw money from ATMs in Croatia, advises the Bundesverband der deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken generally to study the customer dialogue at the ATM carefully before the withdrawal, so as not to experience a nasty surprise regarding the fees. Criticism is particularly levelled there at the clever interface design, with which customers are often driven into the cost trap in the dialog at the ATM. But this, they say, is not a purely Croatian problem, but is handled in this way throughout Europe. One may assume after past realizations that German holiday-makers at Croatian cash machines must pay generally scarcely under five euro per withdrawal.

The press office of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association informs on request:

“Unfortunately, there is no generally applicable answer to this question. Basically, any fees depend on the type of credit card and the conditions of the card-issuing bank or savings bank. In addition, there are regulations on the part of the payment service providers, such as Visa and Mastercard, regarding possible customer fees, which the card-issuing bank and the ATM operator must observe. For example, ATM transactions with a credit card abroad may be subject to a foreign transaction fee and a direct customer fee. In countries where the euro is not the legal tender, a foreign currency fee is also conceivable. Some ATM operators offer the option of converting the local currency into euros on the ATM display. For this service, a currency conversion fee is often required.

For customers, not all fees are avoidable, but with the choice of the right credit card, some fees can be avoided. In addition, depending on their affinity for risk, they can withdraw a certain amount of money in Germany and take it with them. And when withdrawing in countries where the euro is not legal tender, a currency conversion fee can be avoided by answering “no” when the machine offers you a currency conversion.”

Due to the different payment options and the resulting fees, you should in any case check with the card-issuing bank before starting your trip.

Conclusion

Withdrawing money from ATMs, both abroad and domestically, represents a service that different providers charge differently. This payment of the service must be clearly designated, similar to the price on the goods in the store. For this reason, it is important to have the price displayed in the dialog box of the ATM and to say “no” sometimes. Beforehand, however, a conversation with your own account-holding bank can also provide information.

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