"Four Didget Code"

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#1
Buffalo New York
565 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Hello. I am lucky enough to be visiting Australia at the end of a cruise next year. Some helpful people on another site said that I could get AUS dollars from an ATM by just going to an ATM with my US debit card. They mentioned a "four didgit code" that i would need. Is this just my normal pin, or is there some type of special country code? I asked the other folks to clarify but got no response.

I plan to stay in Sydney for a few days, is the ATM the way to go or should I just change US dollars for AUS dollars when I get there or even before i leave the US?

Thank you

Jim
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#2
1,526 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Hi, Thebosn1, you *are* lucky! We have been to Australia once and are returning again in 2014. It is a fabulous adventure, and the people are so friendly and helpful.

Without seeing what you saw about the "four digit code," I think you are on the right track thinking PIN. With my US bank, I usually use a six digit PIN. But when I travel abroad, many countries require only four digits. All of my accounts work if I enter just the first four digits. But you should check with your bank before traveling to make sure! And if your first four include letters, then be sure to figure out the numbers and memorize accordingly!

You can order some Aussie dollars from your bank before you leave, but I've generally found you get a better deal by using an ATM on site, and certainly better than those booths at airports and in tourist areas that offer currency exchange. There will be an ATM at any arrival airport. We usually stop and withdraw some cash, but then try to use a credit card whenever possible. It's a good idea to check with your bank re: foreign transaction fees and currency conversion rates. Ditto your credit cards. If you think you will be spending a lot (Australia is definitely a high-priced destination!), it might pay to do a little research and get a credit card with no foreign transaction fee if you don't already have a no fee card.

Have fun researching and planning!
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#3
Buffalo New York
565 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by Artemis
Hi, Thebosn1, you *are* lucky! We have been to Australia once and are returning again in 2014. It is a fabulous adventure, and the people are so friendly and helpful.

Without seeing what you saw about the "four digit code," I think you are on the right track thinking PIN. With my US bank, I usually use a six digit PIN. But when I travel abroad, many countries require only four digits. All of my accounts work if I enter just the first four digits. But you should check with your bank before traveling to make sure! And if your first four include letters, then be sure to figure out the numbers and memorize accordingly!

You can order some Aussie dollars from your bank before you leave, but I've generally found you get a better deal by using an ATM on site, and certainly better than those booths at airports and in tourist areas that offer currency exchange. There will be an ATM at any arrival airport. We usually stop and withdraw some cash, but then try to use a credit card whenever possible. It's a good idea to check with your bank re: foreign transaction fees and currency conversion rates. Ditto your credit cards. If you think you will be spending a lot (Australia is definitely a high-priced destination!), it might pay to do a little research and get a credit card with no foreign transaction fee if you don't already have a no fee card.

Have fun researching and planning!
Thanks very much!
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#4
Melbourne, AUS
3,111 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Thebosn1
Hello. I am lucky enough to be visiting Australia at the end of a cruise next year. Some helpful people on another site said that I could get AUS dollars from an ATM by just going to an ATM with my US debit card. They mentioned a "four didgit code" that i would need. Is this just my normal pin, or is there some type of special country code? I asked the other folks to clarify but got no response.

I plan to stay in Sydney for a few days, is the ATM the way to go or should I just change US dollars for AUS dollars when I get there or even before i leave the US?

Thank you

Jim
Hi,

The 4 digit code is your pin number. There is no country code.

It is up to you to decide what best suits in exchange. We always just go with the ATM in countries we visit...much easier and we don't have carry wads of cash and differant currencies around with us. But if you shopped around before you left, you would probably get a better rate at home. One good exchange facility here is the local post office. It may differant in your country, but our post offices usually have a reasonable rate and the do not charge and fees or commission.

Definitely DO NOT exchange your money at the airport or street booths...unless you really have to..the rates are very low.

The exchange rate today for us was about $0.92....good for you, bad for us. 2 weeks ago, it was $0.96.
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#5
3,185 Posts
Joined May 2006
To the OP:
Yes, your PIN will work as the 4-digit code.
My only query would be whether your debit card will work. If it's one that you pre-load with a certain amount, it should work, but if it's one linked to your US bank account it probably won't work.
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#6
Buffalo New York
565 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by Fletch1
Hi,

The 4 digit code is your pin number. There is no country code.

It is up to you to decide what best suits in exchange. We always just go with the ATM in countries we visit...much easier and we don't have carry wads of cash and differant currencies around with us. But if you shopped around before you left, you would probably get a better rate at home. One good exchange facility here is the local post office. It may differant in your country, but our post offices usually have a reasonable rate and the do not charge and fees or commission.

Definitely DO NOT exchange your money at the airport or street booths...unless you really have to..the rates are very low.

The exchange rate today for us was about $0.92....good for you, bad for us. 2 weeks ago, it was $0.96.

Good information thank you...

Jim
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#7
Buffalo New York
565 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by celle
To the OP:
Yes, your PIN will work as the 4-digit code.
My only query would be whether your debit card will work. If it's one that you pre-load with a certain amount, it should work, but if it's one linked to your US bank account it probably won't work.
Wow I didn't know that. I do use my linked debit card for most thigs. I will bring credit card or i'll load up a cash card and bring that. Thanks that is good stuff...

Jim
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#8
perth australia
1,545 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Look for the "Cirrus" logo on your card and on the ATM machine - it is world wide

With my bank the debit/credit card is basically what it says - but they said to use the "credit" button when drawing cash out overseas - been doing that for years. As it is your own money - it's no issue. Your PIN is the same the world over. As an afterthought - one of our Managers was in Europe recently - and had a problem because he didn't have a PIN on his business credit only card - as over there they are nearer to obliterating "signing". I spoke to my bank (I always let them know when I am going overseas so they don't stop my cards ) and they advised that signing will be obliterated (not their words) at the end of the financial year here in Aus (June 30th 2014). So I trotted off to the bank and got a PIN on mine now - don't want to get killed in the rush
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#9
1,526 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
OP, may I suggest you go to your bank's website and find the worldwide ATM locator, plug in Sydney--there ya go! Your linked debit card will almost definitely work at those locations at a minimum.
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#11
Australia
786 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
BTW it is not restricted to a 4 digit PIN, I have a 6 digit one.
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#12
Sydney Australia
575 Posts
Joined May 2005
Just be mindful that there are only three ATMs in Sydney and they are easy to find as the queue (or line as Americans say) is usually very long and can go around the block on very busy days. Just make sure you have a bottle of water and just smile and grin and bear it. Hopefully we may bet another few in 2014 which will make things a lot easier.

Mark.
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#13
Coppell, TX
85 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Don't waste your money getting foreign currency before you go. The exchange rate your bank will give you will probably not be good and the foreign transaction fee lousy as well. Don't even think about using AAA for this either - unbelievable ripoff.

I recommend that you make sure your ATM PIN is 4 digits. 6 digit PINs are not yet a standard so I would not want to assume that an ATM machine can handle it.

Use your ATM for cash. I usually take the max out if I am going to be hit with a withdrawal fee. Check with your bank, or credit union, and see if they have any alliances with foreign banks. Bank of America has an alliance with Westpac Bank which is in Australia and New Zealand. I checked their website and it looks like they have quite a few ATM's in Sydney. This saves some money if I use the ATMs within BofA's alliance. I won't have to pay either bank's ATM fee. There will be a 1% transaction fee but that isn't bad. Do not use the exchange places at the airport. Total ripoff.

Check the airport's web site and see if they have ATM machines.

For non-cash transactions, get a Capital One credit card. Their exchange rate is favorable and they charge no foreign transaction fee. Not uncommon to see other issuers charge a 4% fee on each transaction. Always have charges in the local currency - don't have the merchant convert to US dollars. The credit card issuer will do the conversion and you will get a much better rate.

Finally, AVOID the ship's ATM. Awful exchange rate plus terrible fees.
#14
Tasmania, Australia
709 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by Aussie Cruisers
Just be mindful that there are only three ATMs in Sydney and they are easy to find as the queue (or line as Americans say) is usually very long and can go around the block on very busy days. Just make sure you have a bottle of water and just smile and grin and bear it. Hopefully we may bet another few in 2014 which will make things a lot easier.

Mark.
Sorry Mark but I'm confused.

Only 3 ATM's in Sydney...there were at least 4 in the shopping area in Darling Harbour close to where we stayed in Setdmber, .plus all the 100's if not 1000's around the city and on the outside of most banks.
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#15
1,526 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
I think he was pulling some Americans' legs. . (I thought it was hilarious. We're from Texas. A lot of people, no matter where they're from, think we are all cowboys down here!)
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#16
Hervey Bay, Queensland close to fraser Island (World Heritage Island)
554 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Here in Australia, we have two different banking cards - 1st Debit Card & 2nd Credit Card, quite often the cards can be linked for convenience.

I use my Bank of Queensland Credit Card for purchasing items overseas, for payment of our seapass account on the ships, etc

If I visit an ATM both here in Australia or overseas I use my ANZ Debit/Visa Card, mainly because that is the account that solely holds my holiday savings.

What you read is right in regard to the PIN required here in Australia, we use a four digit PIN.

I think everyone who answered your query has given you excellent advice.
#17
Australia
1,040 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
I'd be surprised to know the signing credit card process is going. All large operators, ie supermarkets have electronic pads that you sign, same as a courier service. Taxi and mobile vendors still have the paper rolls. Print original to sign & leave with vender, 2nd print fir customer/purchaser. No need for that to change. Gas been done that way for past 10 years I can think of.

Just remember, what you withdraw at an ATM is that denomination's value, ie $300 is au $300 from your account in Australa, not USA $300 converted to the equivalent amount in Aus dollars. Hope that makes sense!
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#18
Sydney, Australia
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Joined Oct 2007
We recently had a letter from our bank advising that signing on credit card purchases was coming to an end and if we did not already have a pin number, then we would need to acquire one.
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#19
Bowie, Maryland (suburb of Washington, DC)
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Joined Jun 2006
We leave in a few weeks. We have asked for DEBIT cards with the chip in them and find they are not available (but coming). Credit card has chip in one but not the other. Will we have difficulty getting money from ATM in NZ with a debit card that has a 4 digit password but no chip? (Assuming the cash level is OK in the account ) What is the easiest way to get cash in NZ without using ATM?

Went to Capital One and found that by changing the type of checking account (and keeping a minimum $ over all accounts) can get ATM fees from other banks refunded up to $15 US/month. Helps as does the no foreign transaction fees on the Capital One Venture card. I would suggest that you check out your credit cards for extra givebacks -- I had a card for a long time and was not getting as many rewards as some of the cards are now giving.
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#20
Brisbane, Australia
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Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by Cruise_me_Crazy
I'd be surprised to know the signing credit card process is going. All large operators, ie supermarkets have electronic pads that you sign, same as a courier service. Taxi and mobile vendors still have the paper rolls. Print original to sign & leave with vender, 2nd print fir customer/purchaser. No need for that to change. Gas been done that way for past 10 years I can think of.

Just remember, what you withdraw at an ATM is that denomination's value, ie $300 is au $300 from your account in Australa, not USA $300 converted to the equivalent amount in Aus dollars. Hope that makes sense!
It's true, signing will go the way of the dodo this year. CUA has advised us 31/03. PIN only from then, I guess unless network is down.
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