Overseas ATM fees

Recently I used my Starling card to withdraw cash from an Austrian ATM (Sparkasse). Local withdrawal charges seem common in Austria but I was not charged anything to do this by Sparkasse. My friend who also has a Starling account was charged 4.95 Euros for a similar withdrawal. Any ideas why? I’ve had my account for longer (since 2019) but we couldn’t think of any other reason!

The charge won’t have been from Starling. It must have been from the owner of the ATM.


Sparkasse are normally local savings banks - so could be a different one or change of policy.
I’ve used my cards in Austria ATMs without (local) charge so can’t comment further.

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I know it was a local charge, what I don’t understand it why I wasn’t charged it! My current theory is that maybe there was previously some kind of agreement that only applies to older cards. So when my card is re-issued then I’ll start being charged as well. It would be interesting to know if ther’s a list for each country somewhere of which banks apply a local charge. If this is becoming more widespread then there is little point in using one’s card in an overseas ATM. We’ll all end up going back to buying currency before we travel.

It depends on the bank - in Hungary the bank branches didn’t have many ATMs outside so you’re often left with the Euronet rip off. At least you’re only being charged on one side.

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Did he withdraw in £ or €? ATMs often charge a fee for doing the exchange for you instead of the bank

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Some also do phrase that choice quite deceptively in an effort to push you towards selecting the option which allows them to do the conversion.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happened, you do really have to be on your guard sometimes to avoid the charge.

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