My Only Use For Bluebirds (or, Cash Abroad Via Amex When Your Bank Fails You)

as i discussed in an earlier post, i was forced by bank policy to be debit card-less during this past week in Riga, as it’s one of the countries on their block list.

i managed to survive, though, thanks to discovering that Bluebirds work in overseas ATMs as well! i only got a Bluebird in case i wanted to dip my hand in the points game, but it’s been sitting dormant in my drawer for months now. i’m glad i had it so i could use it for this, though! (google Bluebird points if you’re not familiar and aren’t afraid of diving into the deep end of a realm i never thought existed.)

there are several points to keep in mind:

so the other option i investigated (and learned about through that ATM finder page) is Express Cash, which lets you pull money out using your Amex card at an ATM (that supports Amex). for my Amex, since it’s not a credit card but a charge card, it will pull money right out of your checking account. for Amex credit cards, it will let you pull from your cash advance allowance. i called to set up the program with my checking account information, but it took a week or so for the PIN to arrive via snail mail (you cannot set it over the phone like an agent told me), and i was gone by that time, so i didn’t have a chance to try it out. (well, truth is i did get it emailed to me by my bf who i had open my letter, but didn’t use it because i knew Bluebird was working by that time.)

note that the withdrawal fee, however, is significantly more than with Bluebird. from the Cardmember Agreement for Express Cash that i’m looking at: “The fee for each cash transaction at a Machine using the Card is the greater of $5.00 or 3% of the transaction amount, with no maximum.”

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