In recent years, cash has actually become increasingly rare in Finland as more and more shoppers switch to plastic. That’s good news if you plan to use a credit or debit card there, but makes things tricky if you want to have cash on hand while you visit. Read on to learn what you need to know about finding and using a Finnish ATM.
ATMs are slowly disappearing in Finland. As credit and debit cards have increased in use and popularity and cash has become less and less common, banks have closed some of their rural branches, and when the banks go, so do the ATMs. That means finding an ATM in Finland isn’t as easy as it once was. However, it can still be done. All Finnish banks have partnered under one ATM brand, so to find a local ATM, you’ll want to use the Otto locator tool. You can also find an ATM that shares your card network by using the tools below:
- Maestro ATM locator
- Mastercard and Cirrus ATM locator
- Visa, Plus, and Plus Alliance ATM locator
- American Express ATM locator
US, UK and Australian cards are widely accepted in Finnish hotels, restaurants, stores and markets. Visa, Mastercard and Maestro are most common, and American Express is accepted in some places. Discover isn’t accepted in Finland, so if that’s what you use, you may want to get another card before your trip.
Europe as a whole uses four-digit PIN codes, so if yours is longer, you may want to consider changing it before going to Finland, just to be sure it will work there. Europe also widely uses chip and PIN cards, though, in Finland, magnetic swipe cards can still be used in many cases. This is good news for Americans who haven’t yet widely adopted chip cards. Otto ATMs are equipped to accept cards with or without chips.
The limit for a single withdrawal from an Otto ATM is 1,000 euros. Beyond that, your daily limit may depend on your home bank. Check with them to see if you have a maximum withdrawal limit for your card.
Before travelling to any foreign country, you should let your bank know where you’re going, when and for how long. Otherwise, foreign activity on your card may be considered suspicious, causing your card to get shut down. That’s a hassle at any time, but especially if you’re travelling and suddenly can’t access your money!
You can also check with your bank about temporarily raising your daily withdrawal limit if you need to take out large sums of cash while in Finland.
It’s an unfortunate reality that ATM use often comes with fees. But you can reduce or even eliminate them with the right tricks. Here’s how.
When using foreign ATMs, you may be offered a “helpful” service that converts the transaction into your home currency rather than the local currency, saving you from having to do the conversion yourself. If given the option, always choose the local currency! Dynamic currency conversion may save you from doing some math, but it also allows the ATM to set its own exchange rate, often poorer than the real or mid-market rate. That means you have to pay for the difference in a hidden fee that goes straight to the ATM owner.
Otto ATMs don’t charge fees for use, so if you’re seeing fees at the ATM, they may be coming from your home bank. Your bank may charge a flat fee or percentage as a withdrawal fee, or a foreign transaction fee. Check with your bank to see what fees it charges.
You should do your best to avoid commercial ATMs in shopping centers, hotels and airports, as they may charge fees. Instead, look for fee-free Otto ATMs. You can also choose a card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee and reimburses you for ATM fees. If you get hit with a per-transaction fee, try to make fewer, larger withdrawals, rather than multiple small ones that incur multiple fees. And always remember to pay in the local currency to avoid DCC fees.
Another option is to use Wise to transfer money to Finland ahead of time at the mid-market rate and with no hidden fees or markups, just a small transfer fee. Wise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts that allow users to send, receive and move money in different global currencies, including euros. And borderless accounts now come with consumer debit cards for EU customers.
Hopefully, this guide will help you feel better prepared to find cash in Finland. Safe travels!
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