We all know, US Dollar is the most popular currency in the world. So much so that travellers going to any foreign country are advised to carry some spare US Dollars as emergency cash. Euros and Pounds are the next most popular currencies.
If you’re travelling abroad the first time or travelling from developed to developing countries, it is easy to assume that you can get US dollars or euros abroad from an ATM. So let’s prepare you on what to expect from ATMs abroad.
Can I get US Dollar or euro abroad from an ATM?
In general, ATMs abroad in foreign countries will give you cash in the local currency of that country. Do not expect to be able to easily withdraw US dollars or Euros from an ATM abroad. That is, US Dollars or euros are not usually available at ATMs outside the United States or the Euro zone.
Where can I withdraw US Dollar or euro abroad from an ATM
Some foreign countries can provide you an option to withdraw US Dollars or euros from their ATMs. This is when:
- If and when a foreign country accepts more than 1 currency – Official local currency and/or US Dollar or euros in their day-to-day transactions.
- Where a foreign country’s ATMs will only dispense US Dollar to “foreign card” holders, even if the official local currency is different.
- Where a foreign country’s official currency is the US Dollar also, outside of the United States.
- The country offers multi-currency bank accounts to its residents.
Which foreign countries use or have US Dollar or euro at ATMs?
In Peru, the official currency is Peruvian Soles (PEN or S/). In some cities, ATMs offer foreign card holders the option if they want to withdraw money in Peruvian Soles or US Dollars. US Dollars is accepted by tour companies for payments, but restaurants or supermarkets may not necessarily accept US Dollars.
In Cambodia, the official currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR or ៛). However, the US Dollar is widely accepted as an alternate currency for all day-to-day expenses. In fact, if you use a foreign card at an ATM in Cambodia, it will likely only give you the cash in US Dollars.
But when you do spend the US Dollars in a supermarket or pharmacy or for any expense, you will get the change back in Cambodian Riel. The conversion exchange rate that you get from these daily expenses can also be average (not the best).
In Turkey, some ATMs offer foreign card holders the option of withdrawing cash in local currency Turkish Lira or Euros and US Dollars.
In Costa Rica, some ATMs will give you Costa Rican Colon but will charge the ATM Fees in US Dollar.
In Bolivia, immigration accepts US Dollar as the visa-on-arrival fees, even though the official currency is Bolivianos.
Note: This is not a comprehensive list.
How do I find out if an ATM abroad gives US Dollar or euros?
If a foreign ATM has the option of withdrawing US dollars or euros, it will offer you the option at the start of your cash withdrawal transaction. Try 2-3 ATMs if you must have US Dollars or Euros in a foreign country and from a local ATM.
You can also ask your tour agency, hotel, hostel, taxi before hand if this option is available.
What is the exchange rate I get if I do this?
Good question. And sadly, not a favourable answer. Note: The exchange rate you will get in these transactions for US Dollars or Euros is typically poor. Local ATMs will include high fees in such transactions. You can read more on this in the “Accept” conversion section of this article: Withdrawing cash abroad? 9 best ways to save foreign ATM fees.