Widgets Scotiabank and avoiding fees in South America - A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care

Scotiabank and avoiding fees in South America

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We already knew that if we were going to charge anything in South America, the Capital One card was the way to go. They have good exchange rates and no foreign transaction fees. (Seriously, if you're doing overseas travel, CO beats AMEX [1], BoA, or Chase hands down.) But credit cards are the least of one's payment problems in Ecuador and Peru. For the most part, establishments are loath to take your plastic, and will frequently charge you a heavy fee for the convenience. While you're down here, cash is king.

Which had been a problem, because we were getting killed by ATM fees: about 10 soles or $3 per ATM transaction. Which puts one in a bind: do you pull out the maximum amount of cash and become an instant mugging target, or do you pile up the fees?

Fortunately, Scotiabank has solved the problem. Its ATMs throughout Peru do not seem to charge ATM fees, nothwithstanding which of our accounts we used for the withdrawal. If you're traveling in this area, it's worth walking over a plaza or two to get to their ATMs. (The GlobalNet ATMs, by the way, are tourist-trap-highway-robbery fee machines.)

Hey, How I Met Your Mother may like to make fun of Canadians, but at least they have civilized cash machines!

[1] Which does, however, have a pretty good platinum concierge service, although it's more likely to get a good result if you ask it a question about stateside services.

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