Euronet ATMs: Best to Avoid If You Can

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A few years ago, I used a Euronet ATM in Berlin. I withdrew €20 and, unbeknownst to me, was charged a €5 withdrawal fee for the privilege. The ATM never said that I was being charged a fee (otherwise I would have found another one) and so I used another one a few days later.

Thankfully, I was checking my bank account a few days later and I noticed the fees. In just a few days, I’d been charged €10 to withdraw €40. I also got a pretty terrible conversion rate. That was the last time I ever used a Euronet ATM.

Recently, I’ve noticed these ATMs popping up everywhere and so I’ve decided to write something about them. They’re all over Lisbon and Porto. They’re also in the Algarve and the Azores. They’re the most common ATM at Porto Airport (there are Santander ATMs, but they’re harder to find) and they were the only ATM at Ponta Delgada Airport on São Miguel. And, it’s not just in Portugal either: I’ve seen them all over Europe. 

Some people might see that as a small price to pay for convenience. After all, these ATMs are typically in prime locations. Personally, I’d rather forgo the convenience and find an ATM that doesn’t charge me instead. 

Euronet Fees: How much do these ATMs charge?

A lot. According to a SOL news report, you can expect to pay the following in Portugal:

  • €15 for withdrawing €200
  • €6.24 for withdrawing €50
  • €3.95 for withdrawing €20

Obviously, these fees can change at any time but, basically, you can expect it to be a lot more than you would expect. The worst bit is that most machines don’t tell you that you’re going to be charged a fee (some now seem to), so it catches you completely unaware.

Some banks will refund you if you are charged ATM fees abroad, but it’s unlikely they will refund you the poor exchange rate that you’ll also get. 

What Should You Do Instead?

If you *need to use an ATM, go to an ATM that’s actually attached to a bank if you can. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Portuguese banks aren’t allowed to charge ATM fees. Your own bank might charge you a fee or give you a crappy conversion rate, but the Portuguese ATM won’t.
  2. If your card gets sucked into the machine, you can go into the bank during opening hours and get it back.

Don’t underestimate the importance of point 2. If your card gets stuck in one of the ‘portable’ ATMs that you see at the supermarket or airport, it could take weeks to get it back. Firstly, someone has to come to the ATM and retrieve your card. Secondly, the ATM management company will often post your card to your bank rather than give it to you personally.

*An ATM may or may not be the best way for you to withdraw money while you’re in Portugal.

If your bank doesn’t charge you a fee (some banks charge a flat fee and some charge a percentage), it’s probably the best way of getting Euros. If your bank does charge you a fee, it may make more sense to buy Euros in advance. Note: do your research, and see who offers the best rate. Airport currency exchange services are usually best avoided.

Your credit card may also offer a good rate and, if that’s the case, it might make sense to pay for as many things as you can with a credit card. It may also make sense to book as many things as you can in advance. Hotels, car rental, and many tours & activities can all be booked in advance.

Join The Conversation

  1. Hello, it’s Laura from Euronet here. I thought I’d clarify some of the concerns you raise.

    Customers using our ATMs with a foreign currency card are offered a choice to accept or decline currency conversion. The rate offered (and any other applicable fees) are clearly displayed before the transaction and you can choose to decline or accept this rate before proceeding to the withdrawal. Indeed, you can also cancel the transaction at any stage.

    As you would expect, Operating ATMs costs money – for security, technology, rent and service. We believe our charges are fair and reasonable and they are clearly displayed prior to any transaction; our services and charges fully comply with relevant rules/ regulations in each country.

    Regarding your point about potentially losing your card; if this happens there is a customer service number to call on each ATM and any issue will be investigated following a robust process (often together with your bank). Many banks will issue a new card for you immediately. Having said that, we would like to inform you that almost all our ATMs in Portugal are now equipped with “DIP Card Readers”, a new component on the ATM that does not allow the card to be captured, thus eliminating such possibility altogether.

    We place our ATMs in direct response to demand from customers. We offer an important facility to consumers and local businesses as they benefit the most from access to cash.

    I hope this helps answer some of the concerns raise in this blog. Customers with any issues can of course contact us through our customer service channels.

    Reply
  2. A few comments based on my recent experience with ATMs in Portugal. I withdrew cash from ATMs outside a bank (Santander, BPI) four times. Each time I was first presented with the direct currency conversion option. You are shown the exchange rate and the amount you will be charged in your home currency. This can be declined and the conversion rate charged will be determined by your bank card. You will still get your cash. The DCC rate is typically 8-10% higher than the current rate. You could easily miss this if you’re in a rush, tired, or otherwise distracted. If you withdraw cash using your credit card this is treated as a cash advance and interest is charged from day one on top of any exchange rate or other fees.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jack,

      Yes, I should probably mention somewhere about using a credit card for a cash advance. I assume most people know that interest is charged on it, but maybe they don’t as they wouldn’t withdraw money this way at home.

      Reply
  3. Hello,

    I have a double complaint about Euronet ATM during the time I was in Romania 2 weeks ago.
    1. I tried to withdraw 1000 lei which is roughly 210 euros. They charged 243 euros for that! That’s right, we speak about 15% commissions for exchange rate! The ATM just behind was charging 212 euros…
    2. When I tried to withdraw money, the ATM had an issue and I got a receipt “DISPENSER ERROR OCCURRED ATM COULD NOT DISPENSE MONEY YOU HAVE NOT BEEN CHARGED”. Guess what? I was charged the 243 euros! It’s now 10 days and the money didn’t came back on my account!

    Conclusion, try your luck in any ATM which is not Euronet ATM.

    In case Euronet doubt about my feedback, the receipt indicate 09.09.2019 13:09 SEQ 2537 in location ENR00687. And I’m the CEO of https://concerty.com so I’m not anonymous!

    Reply

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