A trip to Slovenia will reward you with some of the most stunning - and varied natural environments Europe has to offer. Beautiful coastline, magnificent mountains, and awesome caves - not to mention gorgeous Lake Bled - come together to make a perfect destination for a holiday or a long term stay.
Whether you’re relocating to Slovenia for the long term, or just going for a holiday, you’re going to need some cash. Using ATMs to pay your way, is a convenient choice for many travellers and expats. Here’s all you need to know about using ATMs in Slovenia.
Slovenia is part of the euro area and has a developed banking system. There’s no shortage of ATMs to be found in or near bank branches, shopping centres and supermarkets.
Find the most convenient ATM wherever in Slovenia you happen to be, using either this general map of ATMs in Slovenia or one of the following ATM locators from large national and regional banks:
One of the main reasons people visit Slovenia is to get out into the countryside. If that’s your plan, then it’s a good idea to have some cash in your pocket as it gets harder to find ATMs the more rural you go. Even in the cities, some places will have a minimum spending threshold before they’ll accept a card payment or may deal in cash only.
Don’t forget that not all bank cards can be used in all ATMs. You’ll need an ATM which is on the same network as your card. Discover cards have ‘moderate’ acceptance, meaning that you might struggle to find either a merchant or ATM to use if this is your only card.²
Find a handy ATM to suit your needs using one of the following locators:
- Maestro ATM locator
- Mastercard and Cirrus ATM locator
- Visa, Plus, and Plus Alliance ATM locator
- Discover ATM locator
- American Express ATM locator
Bank cards issued in Slovenia, like elsewhere in Europe, usually have a 4 digit PIN codes, with chip and PIN technology. That means that cards with chip and PIN - from elsewhere in Europe, the UK or Australia, for example - are accepted in Slovenia.
The magnetic stripe card, often issued in the USA, can still usually be used in ATMs in Slovenia, but you’ll need to get the card’s PIN from your bank before you travel.
If you have any concerns, use an ATM in a bank branch during working hours - then you can check with staff if you have any problems.
The amount you can withdraw in one transaction, or in one day, will depend on your home bank. If your card has a maximum daily cash withdrawal limit set up with your home bank, it’ll apply in Slovenia, too. Often the maximum amount is set to a default by your home bank, but you can change this if you ask before you travel.
If you don’t have your own limits in place, then the ATM provider’s rules will apply instead.
The last thing you want during your holiday in Slovenia is to discover you’re out of cash because your bank card has been blocked or limited. It’s not unusual for places to insist on cash payments, with smaller shops, restaurants and hostels sometimes preferring cash payments, especially in the countryside. Running out of cash would be very inconvenient.
However, if your bank fraud department spots a sudden spike of spending overseas, they might put a stop on your card for safety, until they can confirm it’s you using it. Tell them you’re planning to travel, ahead of time, to make sure you can use your card as normal during your trip.
If you bank with a regional or global group which is represented in Slovenia - such as Unicredit - you might get free or cheap cash withdrawals if you use ATMs provided by other banks within the group. That can save you a lot of cash in overseas withdrawal fees.
Aside from that, there are a few extra fees - and potential ripoffs - to watch out for if you use your foreign card in an ATM in Slovenia.
The biggest problem for most travellers who want to get a fair price for foreign ATM withdrawals is dynamic currency conversion (also known as DCC for short). Under DCC you’re asked if you want to pay in your home currency when you’re in a restaurant, buying something, or using an ATM abroad.
Banks promote DCC as a service designed to make life easier for their customers, but DCC transactions can actually leave you exposed to hidden fees. The exchange rate used is often not the real, mid-market rate - the one you’d find on google. Because you only ever see the costs expressed in your home currency, it’s not always easy to even work out what rate has been applied. However, in many cases, the exchange rate, which is set by the foreign bank or ATM provider, is a pretty bad value. You’ll get a better deal if you always choose to pay in the local currency instead. That way, your home bank chooses the exchange rate to use - and as you’re a loyal customer, they’ll want to keep you as happy as possible, with a decent rate.
Even if you dodge DCC, often your own bank will also charge you to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad. Fees can be both flat fees and a percentage of the transaction amount, which soon adds up. It’s a good idea to check out the details in your terms and conditions before you travel.
There are banks in Slovenia which do not charge an ATM usage fee for some cardholders.¹ Unicredit is a good example, of a banking group active in many European countries, which offers free withdrawals for customers of other brands within the group.¹
If you’re banking with a global brand or your home bank has a partner institution in Slovenia, you might strike lucky and get cheap or fee-free withdrawals.
(Source 29 January 2018)
Some of the large regional banks operating in Slovenia offer free withdrawals to their global customers and customers who bank with their partner institutions abroad. If you do your research, you might be able to dodge the worst of the ATM fees, depending on who you usually bank with.
Reduce ATM fees in Slovenia with a few simple tricks, and make your money go further.
As we have noted above, Slovenia is home to some big global and regional banking brands. If you already bank with one of them, you might be able to use ATMs for free. If not, ask your home bank ahead of time, if they have any local partner institution in Slovenia. You might still be able to benefit from free or reduced fee cash withdrawals if they do.
If you have several different bank accounts, it’s worth checking the small print and choosing the one which offers the best deal for overseas cash withdrawals. It’s worth noting, too, that foreign currency cash advances using a credit card are usually an expensive choice, and should be avoided if at all possible.
Not all ATMs are equal. Independent ATMs, which you’ll often spot in the more obvious tourist locations, pubs, nightclubs and so on, might not offer great value. They’ll crank up the fees because they have a captive audience. Stick to ATMs attached to banks, in supermarkets or shopping centres if you can.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget DCC. As long as you choose to pay in local currency, at ATMs, in shops and restaurants, you’ll avoid DCC’s high fees and poor exchange rates.
For a convenient and cheap alternative, try Wise. Wise only uses the real, mid-market exchange rate for transfers, with a transparent fee structure so you know exactly what you’re getting.
If you already have a bank account in Slovenia, or if you’re visiting someone who does, transfer money between accounts, using the real exchange rate, before your trip. Then you can simply use ATMs during your travels in Slovenia to withdraw cash from the local account when you need it.
A borderless multi-currency account from Wise could be an even better value, if you’re a regular traveller or an expat. There’s no monthly account fee to pay, and you can hold your cash in any one of dozens of different currencies, including euros. If you activate your debit card for the account and pay with your euro balance in shops and restaurants, you can avoid ATM fees, and dodgy exchange rates, entirely.
Using ATMs can be a good way to get your cash for your trip to Slovenia, without being hit by unfair fees. Alternatively, use Wise, to send money to a local account, or spend using your borderless multi-currency account card, and avoid ATMs altogether.
¹https://www.unicreditbulbank.bg/media/filer_public/e7/38/e73894d7-8a65-4ba2-b548-57eac1950e18/list_of_banks_in_unicredit_group_14072017_en_final.pdf (January 29 2018)
²https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/help-center/account/international-use.html (January 29 2018)
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