ATMs in Malta: Credit cards and fees


Malta may be small, but it’s a fascinating place, packing in a whole load of history, culture, nature and a cool city vibe. Popular for holidays, it’s not surprising that many expats looking to live and work somewhere with sun, sea and sand, also end up choosing Malta for their home.

Whether you’re moving to Malta for good, or just there for a short holiday, you’re going to need some cash to make the most of it. If you plan on using ATMs to withdraw local currency while you’re in Malta, here’s all you need to know to avoid common pitfalls, and unnecessary fees.

Where do I find ATMs in Malta?

Malta is multi-cultural and has a thriving tourist industry. As a result, finding an ATM will be no problem** in populated areas- just look in or near bank branches, shopping centres and supermarkets. However, if you’re headed off the beaten track, to somewhere more rural or one of the less populated islands of the Maltese archipelago, it’s worth taking some cash with you, as ATM access will be more limited.

Find the most convenient ATM wherever in Malta you happen to be, using one of the following ATM locators from large national and regional banks:

Will my credit or debit card work in Malta?

Visa and Mastercard tend to be the most common networks, but Amex should also be accepted in larger, and high-end locations, and a handful of ATMs. Discover is more rarely used, and you’ll struggle to find an ATM which will accept a Discover card.

Find a handy ATM on the same network as your card, using one of the following locators:

Maltese ATM PINs

Bank cards issued in Malta have chip and pin technology, with a 4 digit PIN code.

If you have an American magnetic stripe card, you can still use it in ATMs in Malta, as long as you get the card’s PIN from your bank before you travel. Cards issued elsewhere in Europe, the UK and Australia, for example, usually have chip and pin technology and should be accepted with no problem in ATMs and stores.

Maltese ATM max cash withdrawal limits

What you can withdraw from an ATM in Malta depends to an extent on whether you have a maximum daily cash withdrawal limit set up in your home bank. If you do then this is likely to apply in Malta, too.

If you don’t have any limits set on your card, then the ATM provider’s rules will apply. There may be limits per transaction, and also daily limits. APS Bank in Malta, for example, limits customers to €1,000 a day as a standard.

(Source, 11 January 2018)

Give your bank a heads up before you travel to Malta

For most people, using a credit or debit card abroad is a convenient and easy solution. However, if you don’t inform your bank before you travel, you could find that their fraud department limits or blocks your card, because of the change in spending pattern. It’s worth telling your bank where you’re going, ahead of time, just in case. Usually, this is as simple as popping into your local branch or completing an online form.

What are the fees at Maltese ATMs?

If you use an ATM to withdraw cash in Malta - or anywhere else in the world, for that matter - there’s a good chance you’ll be charged by your home bank and also the ATM provider. However, as long as you avoid common exchange rate rip-offs like DCC - described below - it’s still a good option for many travellers.

Exchange rate fees at ATMs in Malta (DCC)

Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) is the most common pitfall when it comes to getting a fair price for your foreign currency ATM withdrawal. You can come across it anywhere you use your card - in a store, restaurant, or using an ATM. Under DCC, you’ll be asked if you want to pay for your transaction in your home currency as opposed to the local currency.

It might sound like it makes life easier, but DCC transactions leave you exposed to hidden fees. The exchange rate used is often not the real, mid-market rate - the one you’d find if you googled it. Instead, if you choose to pay in your home currency, the exchange rate is set by the foreign bank or ATM provider. They have no need to keep you happy, as you don’t bank with them, so they often offer a poor rate, and pocket the difference as their profit. Always choose to pay in the local currency instead. This means your own bank will choose the exchange rate and are far more likely to give you a good deal.

Your home bank's fees

Many banks charge their customers to make withdrawals from ATMs overseas. This could be a flat fee per transaction or a percentage, depending on the type of account. Check the details in your terms and conditions, before you go.

Maltese banks’ fees

As well as your home bank fees, many banks and ATM providers in Malta will add their own fee when you withdraw cash. In most cases though, this fee is displayed on the screen for you to review before you commit to the transaction.

Can I get free cash withdrawals in Malta?

If there’s a currency conversion needed, because your home account isn’t held in euros, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get completely free cash withdrawals in Malta. However, if you bank with a global brand, or your bank has a branch or a partner institution in Malta, you might be able to access reduced fees if you use the right ATMs.

Are there any tips to avoiding ATM fees in Malta?

Although you’ll probably be hit with a fee somewhere along the line, you can at least reduce some of the likely ATM fees in Malta with a few simple tricks.

Check if your bank is a part of a fee-free (or reduced fee) network

Before you leave, ask your home bank, if they have any local partner institution in Malta. Often banks work together, to offer free or cheap international cash withdrawals to their customers overseas. Choose an ATM run by a partner bank to benefit.

Choose your card wisely

If you have several different local bank accounts, read the small print about overseas ATM fees, and choose the one which offers the best deal to use while you’re away. Every account will have its own charging structure, and some are much better than others.

Credit card cash advances using a foreign currency are usually an expensive choice and should be avoided if at all possible.

Avoid ATMs around the airport or hotels

All ATMs are not made equal, and the fees in tourist locations, pubs, nightclubs and other places with a captive audience, might not offer great value. ATMs attached to banks, in supermarkets or shopping centres tend to have the lowest fees, and are safer, too.

Always choose to pay in the local currency

Don’t forget what to do if you’re asked whether you want to pay in your home currency or local currency. Choosing the local currency is always the smartest choice - or you could be hit with high fees and poor exchange rates because of DCC.

Check out Wise for a cheap alternative

Wise is a convenient and cheap alternative to get the euros you need for your trip to Malta. All transfers are done using the real, mid-market exchange rate, with just a transparent fixed fee, which is set out before you complete the transaction.

If you have a bank account in Malta, or if you’re visiting someone who does, you can send money to Malta ahead of time, and take cash from ATMs during your stay. With Wise you’ll get the best exchange rate available, with no hidden charges to worry about.

Alternatively, if you travel a lot, or are moving to Malta for a longer time, a borderless multi-currency account from Wise is a great choice. Keep your cash in any one of dozens of different currencies, including euros, with no monthly account fee to pay. All you need to do, is set up your debit card for the account, and pay with your euro balance in shops and restaurants, to avoid ATM fees, and poor exchange rates, entirely.

Nobody wants to be hit by unnecessary costs when travelling. If you steep clear of DCC, then using ATMs can be a convenient way to get your euro cash for the trip, with a fair exchange rate. Alternatively, use Wise, to send money to a local account, or spend using your borderless multi-currency account card, and avoid ATMs altogether.

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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