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Money Abroad

Using ATMs  and your ATM card abroad may be a little more challenging than at home.  Read our article to find out the "gothchas" that you might encounter.  Read our recommendations to resolve unexpected problems you might encounter in ATM use abroad.


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Travel Advice - ATM use abroad

Most ATM’s abroad  have keypads that feature only numbers.

  • If you normally use a “pin” that is a name, be prepared to convert the name to numbers or be disappointed.
  • The keypad on an ATM is like that on a phone.
    • Usually the key for the number 1 is not used to represent any letters.
    • ABC starts at 2.
    • Keys 7 (p,q,r,s) and 9 (w,x,y,z) are the only ones that represent four letters)

While some machines will allow you  a choice of languages for operation of the machine, most machines outside of international airports will function only in the native language of the country that you are visiting.

  • Many ATMs  feature an automated sequence that allows you to withdraw a set amount of cash and this helpful feature is usually recognizable regardless of the language used to present the text at the ATM.


Many ATM’s feature “programmable” or “soft keys” shown as text of the screen that is linked to a physical key positioned along the side of the screen (as opposed to those on the keyboard).

  • These keys represent options presented on the display screen immediately adjacent to each of these keys. Selecting and successfully operating these options will often require a working understanding of the local language.

In some European countries, using the  ATM may be the easy part.  If you have a few spare moments, read our article on how two jet lagged travelers were stumped trying to get into a bank in Italy to use the ATM. 

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