How to Avoid Paying ATM Withdrawal Fees While Visiting Greece

How to Avoid Paying ATM Withdrawal Fees While Visiting GreeceUntil you know the best banks to use and the ones to avoid, escaping ATM fees in Greece is a bit like a game of Russian Roulette. Depending on which bank you choose, the fee for making a cash withdrawal from an ATM in Greece can range from €2.00 to €3.00. Then again, if you choose the bank carefully, or just make a lucky choice, you can make a withdrawal without paying any charges at all.

When I first arrived in Athens, I tried to make a withdrawal, from an ATM owned by Piraeus Bank. The machine wanted to add a charge of €3. I don’t like paying to access my own money, so I cancelled the transaction and redeemed by card.

After a little wandering around I found an Attica Bank and the ATM dispensed the money I wanted without charging any extra fees at all. Guess which Bank’s ATMs I’ve been using ever since.

One day when the ATM outside the Attica Bank wasn’t working I had to go looking elsewhere. I went to Alpha Bank. The machine wanted to charge me €2.50 and a message on the screen informed me that this would be on top of any fees my own bank charged me (in my case zero). I cancelled the transaction and continued my search.

My next port of call was NGB (i-Bank). This time the ATM only wanted to hit me with a fee of €2.00. That’s a lower cash withdrawal fee than Piraeus Bank and Alpha Bank wanted to charge me, but I was still unwilling to pay it. Two or three euros here and there can add up to a lot of money by the end of the year. I work hard for my money. I’m not going to throw it away.

So, if you are visiting Greece and want to make a withdrawal from an ATM and avoid paying any fees at all, Attica Bank is the one to use.

UPDATE (January 2020)

If you check out the comments section below this post you will see Attica Bank now charges for withdrawals and there is no longer a way to avoid paying ATM fees in Greece. However, NBG is apparantely the best bank to use because its ATMs only charge €1.40 (Thanks for the info Alexandros 🙂 )


How to Avoid Fees from Your Own Bank When You Use an ATM in Greece

It’s also possible to avoid the ATM fees your own bank charges when you withdraw cash in Greece, or any other country of the world.

The trick is to open a Transferwise Borderless Account and send the money to it first. The funds are there within a few minutes and you can then with withdraw the money using your Transferwise debit card.

I’ve been using my account for over a year—every week. It saves me a fortune on fees. Based on my own experience, I recommend the account 100%.

You can get more information about the Borderless Account HERE

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  • alexandros

    20th January 2020 at 1:31 pm Reply

    Bad news Attica started to charge foreign cards! 2.00€ is fee there is no free withdrawal in Greece anymore but good news is the other banks have changed the tariff by the time of writing this the cheapest is NBG 1.40€

    • Steve Calvert

      21st January 2020 at 2:10 pm Reply

      Hi Alexandros,

      That is indeed bad news. Thanks for letting me know and sharing the cheapest option. People may not be able to aviod the ATM fees in Greece anymore but at least they can reduce them.

  • steven poulos

    13th December 2019 at 6:55 pm Reply

    The 2 to 3 Euro fee is nothing. What matters is the foreign conversion rate the bank uses to dispense cash.
    Piraeus bank is the biggest thief of all. I have being charged nearly 10% for my ATM withdrawals using my US issued debit cards. Try Panellinia bank. They are very reasonable, of simply stay home

    • Steve Calvert

      13th December 2019 at 10:58 pm Reply

      Hi Steven,

      Those two and three euro fees all add up. Especially if you travel full-time like I do. Nobody should line the bank’s pockets if they don’t have to. I write posts like this to try and help people avoid the fees if they can and pay lower fees if they can’t.

      Thanks for the tip about Panellinia bank. I may try that one next time I’m in Greece. If there are any fees though, I’ll stick with Attica Bank, presuming it’s still not charging any fees, that is.

      I agree, the foreign conversion rates are always bad. You can save money by not accepting the offer of Dynamic Currency Conversion and letting your own bank sort out the conversion instead. You don’t have to let your own bank screw you on the conversion rate either. As I mentioned in the blog post, I use TransferWise instead. There are plenty of other similar services you can use instead.

      Stay home? Where’s home? I’m a nomad. For me home is wherever I hang my hat. It’s easy to travel and pay little or no extra fees to access your money abroad. Nobody needs to stay “home” or anywhere else. Life is an open road.

  • Mahlee

    7th November 2019 at 7:44 pm Reply

    But it is not just this fee, the ATMs in Greece seem to all take commission of around 5.5%. I checked four banks today. I will try Attica later.

    • Steve Calvert

      7th November 2019 at 11:28 pm Reply

      Hi Mahlee,

      Sometimes it can be hard to tell if the fees come from your own bank or the machine. The ATM usually just hits you with a set charge. You didn’t use dynamic currency conversion did you? Dynamic currency conversion is when the machine offers to do the conversion for you. It’s a trick by the banks do. The machine does the conversion at an ufavourable rate. It always costs you more. You need to select the option that shows you the amount in Euros.

  • Dylan Meade

    5th October 2019 at 2:42 pm Reply

    Could you share locations for some of the attica atms? Can’t find them in the city on Google maps

    • Steve Calvert

      5th October 2019 at 3:53 pm Reply

      Hi Dylan.

      Sorry, I can’t help with that. I’m living in Spain at the moment. I left Greece earlier in the year. There are plenty of Attica ATMS in Athens though. I saw a lot but used to use the one in Dafni because that’s where I was living. The best thing to do is ask a local for directions. Alternatively, use the normal Google search engine and enter the search term “Attica Bank near me” then click on the options that provide directions.

  • Steve Calvert

    22nd September 2019 at 12:36 pm Reply

    Hi Alexander,

    I’m happy to help. However, although Attica wasn’t charging ATM fees when I visited Greece earlier in the year, this may change in the future. I just went to one of my favorite ATMs in Spain and discovered the bank is now charging a €2 fee. I hope Attica remains fee free though. It’s very hard to find fee-free ATMs in Greece.

  • Alexander Hood

    12th September 2019 at 11:12 pm Reply

    Really useful man. Thanks so much, going to be in Athens for a year and thought I would have to pay €3 on every transaction, you have saved me a lot of money. Very grateful.

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