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Cash and ATMs in Greece: All info you need for ATMs, fees, limits, exchange, cards

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cash and atms in greece atm fee saver, with currency exchange

Greece, a land where ancient history meets the azure Mediterranean, is a tapestry of sun-drenched islands, historic ruins, and vibrant culture. From the iconic Acropolis of Athens to the idyllic beaches of Santorini, and from the legendary palaces of Crete to the lively streets of Thessaloniki, Greece offers a journey through time and beauty. Navigating the financial landscape is crucial for a smooth experience, so understanding the local currency and cash, ATMs in Greece and payment options is essential. This guide will provide you with the financial knowledge needed to explore the wonders of Greece with ease and confidence, immersing yourself in its rich heritage and stunning landscapes.

Cash or card?

Card is widely accepted, but cash is still commonly used. Foreigners might use a mix of cash and cards, with an estimated 60-70% of transactions in cash.

Cash for:

Street shopping
Public buses
Entry fees for some temples, museums, and historical sites
Local trains (in some areas, ticket machines might not accept cards)
Small purchases
Local markets and bazaars
Many tour operators, especially local or small-scale ones
Tuk-tuks and local taxis (though some cities may have app-based services that accept cards)
Street food vendors
Food from local restaurants, especially in less touristy areas
Tips and gratuities in many places
Many hostels and budget hotels

Card for:

Car rentals
Shopping in malls and branded stores in major cities
Good looking coffee shops in major tourist areas
Expensive tour operators
Fancy sit-down restaurants in major tourist areas
Online bookings for hotels, flights, and tours
Tailoring services in major cities
Spas in major tourist areas
Upmarket hotels
Professional pre-paid taxi booking services (such as in larger cities)
Entry fees for major tourist attractions and theme parks in major tourist areas

So where to get cash?

There are 3 ways to get the cash in Greece. They are:

ATMs, or
Currency exchange
Money Transfer & local pick-up

Find ATMs in Greece

Greece’s 5,000+ ATMs are mostly operated by its major banks and are found in cities and towns. In remote areas, however, ATMs are not as common. Look for them in usual spots like airports, market squares, and shopping areas, Bank branches, Some corporate buildings

These are the places where it will be difficult to find ATMs:

Small airports
Islands
Regional bus stops
Interior of the villages
In small towns, off the main streets
Religious places
Remote resorts and retreats

Popular banks with ATMs

The most popular ATMs in Greece are:

Piraeus Bank
Alpha Bank
Eurobank
Attica Bank
National Bank of Greece

There are other banks with ATMs that also accept international debit and credit cards.

Global ATM alliance: Global ATM Alliance is a partnership among many banks in the world to allow its customers to withdraw cash from all partner banks abroad without any ATM fee. Many banks in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and Latin America are part of the Global ATM Alliance, including Bank of America, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and others. BUT, there is no local bank in Greece part of this network. So don’t rely on this.

Where to find currency exchanges?

In Greece, consider these places for currency exchange:

Authorised currency exchange centres: Located in tourist areas, brands like Argo Exchange, iXchange, Capital Exchange, and Eurochange are popular, but local shops are equally good.
Banks: Easily convert your currency to Euro at bank branches, especially for currencies like US dollars, Pounds, Japanese Yen, and Singapore dollars. Expect a commission fee of 0.5% to 2% per transaction.
Hotels and airports: Both offer currency exchange services, but rates may not be the best. Some larger hotels may provide rates similar to banks.
Tips:

Avoid exchanging at airports due to poor rates.
Beware of the black market to prevent scams.
Bring new notes for better rates or lower fees.
For US dollars, larger bills typically yield higher rates.

Accepted currencies:
Greece mainly accepts its local currency Euros (EUR or €). Note denominations are € 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200. Other currencies are not usually accepted.
US Dollar: Some resorts, hotels and local shops that quote prices in US Dollar.
Pound: Not accepted

Know the ATMs in Greece

Foreign debit and credit cards usage: Indeed, Greek ATMs are hospitable to international bank cards.

Types of cards at ATMs: ATMs in Greece will mainly accept Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus, Maestro and Amex cards. Don’t expect ATMs in Greece to usually accept JCB, UnionPay, Diners, Discover or RuPay cards.

Types of cards to swipe: You can comfortably swipe Visa and Mastercard at numerous outlets. Using an Amex or another card type could be more hit-or-miss.

Opening hours: The operation of ATMs is almost unfailingly around-the-clock. You can use standalone machines at any time, though those inside banks are generally open from 9 am to 3 pm.

Workings and functionalities of the ATMs: Greek ATMs stand on par with international standards, reflecting the design and operation seen in top economies. Some ATMs might hold your card throughout the transaction, so be sure to remember it afterwards.

ATM names: Word ATM is widely used

PIN type: ATMs in Greece primarily accept 4-digit PINs. Longer PINs are generally not accepted.

Also, many merchants used old machines which require a magnetic stripe on the card and not just a chip-and-pin card.

Language options: Greek ATMs will greet you with options for Greek or English, and sometimes French, German, and Spanish. If the language is a hurdle, Google Translate’s camera function might be a real-time solution, but ensure you check the translations carefully.

Know the foreign exchanges to get cash in Greece

Foreign debit and credit cards usage: Currency exchanges prefer hard cash for exchange. Visa is accepted at many places, mastercard next. Please be mindful of the fees you will pay if you use your card at a currency exchange.

Opening hours: Currency exchanges generally favor cash. While Visa is a common choice, Mastercard is also accepted, but take into account the fees when using a card.

Languages to interact in: Staff at currency exchanges in Greece can usually interact in 2 languages– Greek and English

Exchange names: Places for exchanging currency may be known as ‘Currency Exchange’, ‘Forex’, ‘Money Exchange’, or just ‘Exchange’.

ATM withdrawal limit and ATM Fees

Withdrawal limit: ATMs typically restrict the withdrawal per transaction from €600 to €840 per transaction. Some ATMs do not restrict the per transaction amount and allows you to withdraw as much as the limit of your bank card.

ATM fees: Unfortunately, there are no fee-free ATMs in Greece. ATMs fees range from €1.5 to €2 per transaction, most common being €1.8. So you can at least find an ATM with the lowest fees.

Ways to avoid high fees

For ATMs:

Use fee-free ATMs in the country.
Use the ATM Fee Saver app to find fee-free or low-fee ATMs.
Opt for “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion” during ATM transactions.
Consider getting fee-free cards from your home country.
For more in-depth insights and alternative methods, check out our detailed article, Withdrawing cash abroad? 9 best ways to save foreign ATM fees.

For currency exchanges:

Avoid no-fee exchange offices at all costs to get cash in Greece – If they say no fee, which means they account for their fee in the exchange rate. Nothing is ever free in currency exchanges
Avoid using credit and debit cards for direct transactions

Ways to find fee-free ATMs in Greece

Explore fee-free ATMs, currency exchange, and money transfer services in Greece with the ATM Fee Saver app. It reveals the fees for using foreign cards at ATMs in Greece and their withdrawal limits. The app includes a calculator to determine the exact fees for withdrawals. Plus, it provides navigation to the ATM of your choice and covers 50 countries, including Greece.

Cash in Greece and safety

Carrying cash

Carrying a sensible amount of cash in Greece is generally safe and necessary. To safely carry cash:

Distribute your cash across multiple locations.
Use a safety belt or fanny pack for some of your cash.
Avoid displaying a large amount of cash publicly.
Be discreet when making payments.
Store your wallet in front pockets for better safety.
Be cautious with your belongings in crowded public spaces.

Safety at ATMs & currency exchanges

ATMs in Greece are generally safe, with security features like cameras and guards. However, there have been reports of skimming devices near keypads. Use ATMs inside bank branches, monitor your card transactions, avoid public Wi-Fi for banking, keep your card visible during transactions, and carry a backup card. Choose authorized places for currency exchanges.

FAQs

Fee-free ATMs and possible to withdraw cash free of cost?

No, there are no fee free ATMs in Greece for foreign card holders.

Foreign cards from US, UK, India, China, Europe accepted?

Absolutely yes! You can usually use cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries at ATMs in Greece

Bitcoin ATMs

Yes, there are a few Bitcoin ATMs in Greece.

Foreign banks’s presence in Greece

Bank of America: No
Citbank: Yes, there are a few Citibank ATMs in Greece.
Barclays: None at all
HSBC: Yes, there are a few HSBC ATMs in Greece.
Standard Chartered: None at all

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