Thursday, September 1, 2011

ATM Tips for Tourists

WARNING: ATMs in Paris do not operate the same as they do in the US.

Point #1: ATMs in Paris have a time limit (yes, you read that correctly a TIME LIMIT) associated with each transaction. So, if you need to pause for a few moments while you rack your brain trying to remember your pin, you are most likely going to run out of time at which point the machine will SUCK YOUR CARD BACK IN! In order to get it back, you need to go into the bank and present a picture ID. Pain in the ass? You bet! But imagine this. Imagine the bank is closed when this happens. Now you are without your card until the bank reopens (which could be anywhere from a couple of hours to couple of days, if you are in town during one of the many French holidays). Point #2 Paris ATMs are silent. They do NOT make that annoying beeping noise to remind you to take your card after you’re done, so your card just sticks out of the machine, waiting for a total stranger to yank it out and go on a shopping spree at Louis Vuitton. Before you stick your card in any ATM follow these three steps 1) make sure the bank is open and will continue to be open for the next hour at least. Parisians relish their TWO hour lunch and consider that time sacred. So, if you are going to make the bank manager late for his déjeuner to get you your card back, the staff will tell you to come back at three o'clock. 2) Familiarize yourself with the keys before you begin. Know exactly where the withdrawal key is in relation to the number pad. Also, try depressing all the keys. Do they all seem to work? If not, do NOT use that machine. My card was sucked into a London ATM because the #3 button did not work. Which reminds me of the most important point of all: DO NOT make a mistake when entering your PIN! The machine will automatically assume you are NOT the owner of the card and SUCK IT IN! You get only one SHOT at it, so don’t screw it up!

1 comment:

  1. FABULOUS post!
    I never knew...boy have I been lucky not to get s...
    Amazing information
    merci carolg