Using ATMs and Credit Cards on holiday
By Duncan Rhodes
Some basic advice on accessing your dinero when in Barcelona, Spain.
Spain adopted the euro in 2002 (RIP the peseta), and travellers who remember the good old days when a few quid could be exchanged for a new infinite amount of beer tokens will arrive in Barcelona disappointed. Pack your bags for East Europe if a cheap weekend on the lash is what you had in mind.
The main benefit of the euro is of course that it’s simple, especially if you’re continuing your sojourns in neighbours France and Portugal where you won’t need to change up any currency. In fact, what with our modern globalised society, your only money problems in Barcelona will be how quickly you spend it, but if you are still concerned seek out the answers below…
ATMS (Cash Machines)
ATMs are plentiful, but if you do have trouble finding one the magic words are cajeros automaticos, combined with much shrugging of shoulders and a puzzled look on your face. Your bank back home will charge you for using your card abroad, but with the competitive rates you get vs. exchange counters this is still your best and safest access to a fistful of euros.
One important point to remember is to press ‘no’ to any ATM offering you cash in your native currency – see our tips and advice page as this is essentially a legal con by the global banking mafia.
Any hotel, restaurant, bar or shop worth its salt will accept all the major credit cards, however you may be asked to produce photo ID to confirm that you really are Dr. Joe Bloggs esquire and not a light-fingered ragamuffin with a burning desire to purchase two ‘I heart Barcelona’ t-shirts and a miniature model of La Sagrada Familia.
If you’re old enough to remember traveller cheques then you should probably be more worried about your medical insurance than your finances.
Bureaux de Change
Rendered somewhat redundant by the rates you get from your bank at the ATMs, if you do have some cash to change up best to check at least two bureaux in case one is a stinker. There are several around Placa Catalunya.