Back to our cover

Brazzil Forum [ return ]
FromMessage
Alex
Guest


11/06/2002
16:25:03
Subject: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
OK, from what I've read so far, people seem to say that there are more ATMs in Brazil that accept Visa/Star cards than Mastercard/Cirrus cards...is this true?

I have a Mastercard/Cirrus ATM card and plan on travelling around Brazil for a month, then settling in Rio for a couple more months. Will I have trouble finding ATMs for my card, or are these ATMs only a little bit harder to find than the Visa/Star ATMs?

I could switch my bank account here in the States to a bank that has these Visa check/ATM cards. I just need to know if doing that is worth the time and effort: will it really save me a lot of hassle in Brazil?

Thanks to anyone who can help.


braslvr
Guest


11/06/2002
21:24:20
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
What you've heard is correct. In Rio, SP, and other large cities, you can find plenty of ATMs that will accept your Cirrus card. The smaller the city, the less the chance. For some reason, the Cirrus machines seem to malfunction more often too.

Here is the KEY thing. EVERY SINGLE Banco do Brasil branch in Brazil can and will give you a cash advance with a Visa/star/plus card.(Bring your passport) Every one. Even the smallest, most remote places in Brazil have a Banco do Brasil nearby. Most, but not all, have ATMs that accept Visa/star/plus. I would not go without a Visa card, period.


Anonymous
Guest


11/07/2002
08:24:41
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
What about regular ATM cards such as Bank of America's? How widely are they accepted?


braslvr
Guest


11/07/2002
09:11:10
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
Unless the card says Plus, Star, or Cirrus on the back, it won't work in any ATM that I have seen in Brazil. Not sure about cash advances inside the bank. Never tried that with a generic Visa.


Blame Canada
Guest


11/07/2002
10:56:13
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:


the last poster was a bit misleading...


My experience in Rio and Sao Paulo a couple of years ago was that you needed to have a Visa card to get cash at most ATM's. All I had was a Mastercard on the cirrus network, which limited my choices to Citibank, as far as I could tell.

SO, it's not enough that your card is on Cirrus, it has to be a Visa card on cirrus (or some other networks?) to be usuable at most locations.

I think some folks awhile back posted that this doesn't work so good in less popluated cities.

By the way, the exchange rate I got with Citibank was very, very good. Only fractions off from the official rate.

So, bottom line:
Your best option is to have a Visa card. Your second best option is an ATM card, or credit card, on the Cirrus network, which can be used at only SOME locations.




braslvr
Guest


11/07/2002
14:36:57
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
I wasn't trying to be misleading. :)

I actually consider myself somewhat of an expert on this subject, as I have withdrawn cash from Brazilian ATMs with American issued ATM cards well over 100 times in the past 5 years. I also have made made many, many unsuccessful attempts in the first 2 of those 5 years.

The ATM situation in Brazil has changed dramatically since 97-98. At that time, in SP, Recife, and Campinas, only a few Bradesco ATMs would take US issued cards, and they had to be Cirrus. No other ATMs would work. I could not find any bank that would do a cash advance inside either.

Things are much better now.
In a correspondence I received from VISA regarding this matter over 3 years ago, They specifically said that Banco do Brasil is the only bank in Brazil that will accept Visa cards in ALL of their branches for inside cash withdrawls.(Just re-read their letter and it does not need to be Star, Plus, or Cirrus for inside transactions) They also have WAY more ATMs that will accept Star/Plus/Cirrus Visa cards than any other Brazilian bank, and they are everywhere. Done deal.

That said, Remembering my hellish experiences from my first couple of trips, I often try random ATMs from many other different banks with my Cirrus Mastercard, Star Visa, and Plus Visa just to see if they will work. In the past 12 months, my guess is about 40% success rate having all 3 cards to try. Bradesco is second best, and Itau a distant third.

Other than passing through airports, I spend most of my time in very small cities and towns in Brazil. One in particular is so small and remote, that virtually no one there had ever seen a American in the flesh until I arrived. Banco do Brasil has an ATM there that takes US Visa cards nao problemo. :)


Alex
Guest


11/07/2002
16:33:13
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
From these responses, it seems that there are such things as Visa/Cirrus cards. Is this true?

I assumed that Visa always had Star and Plus written on the back, while Mastercard always was on the Cirrus network. Isn't this the case? Now I'm worried that there are Visa/Cirrus cards!

If I'm reading all this right, it sounds like a Visa/Star/Plus would be the best for ATM withdrawals. I don't need to worry about cash advances--they seem pointless to me when ATM withdrawals are virtually free and cash advances usually have a $5 minimum. Why would anyone opt for a cash advance on a credit card?


Anonymous
Guest


11/07/2002
18:00:01
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
From what I understand from my bank, Bank of America, regular ATM cards have star/plus on the back without a visa logo, but check cards which work in ATMs or at merchants have visa logos as well as the star/plus. They assured me that my regular ATM card with only star/plus will work in ATMs in Banco do Brasil and Bradesco. However, so far, I have never needed to use the card there as I usually carry american cash in big bills and convert it to Reais as needed which goes a long way. However, I also do not carry this cash around on me and stay in a tight security hotel, using the in-room lock box. I've been told traveler's checks are a pain there, so I haven't even tried that.


braslvr
Guest


11/07/2002
21:23:55
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Brazil?
IP: Logged

Message:
For Alex: I have an ATM/check card which is a Visa/Cirrus, so yes this is certainly possible. In fact I used it extensively in April in Brazil.

For Anonymous: You're getting screwed by exchanging US$ for Reais in Brasil. If you're going to do that, it's better to buy Reais from your bank in the US before you go. There is still no better exchange rate than using a US ATM card at a Brazilian bank.


Initial Alex
Guest


11/08/2002
14:08:39
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Bra
IP: Logged

Message:
I just wanted to state for the record -- though there's likely no
real point, as this post is neither offensive nor particularly
ignorant -- that the Alex who posted this thread is not me, an
altogether different Alex, who has participated in the political
and economic discussions. To help alleviate confusion, I will
not post again in this thread, and I would suggest that, should
he wish to participate in other threads, this Alex invent a
distinguishing designation for his handle, e.g. Alex2 or
something to that effect. Thank you.


Before initial Alex
Guest


11/08/2002
16:32:36
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Bra
IP: Logged

Message:
I was the original Alex. I posted 14 years ago on this site. So
every other Alex can go to the Dmv and get a form for Name
Change. It would be appreciated, thank you.


Vargas
Guest


11/11/2002
12:40:01
RE: Do you really need a Visa card for cash in Bra
IP: Logged

Message:
Dear Alex2,

14 years ago? Whatever, man. Get a life. The other Alex is the
only Alex I've seen around this site, but then again I didn't call
the Brazilian government's Department of Cultural History and
request the archives of all social commentary distributed on
electronic media, including the ones scripted in DOS on an
Apple II+ and coded across a WarGames-era dialup. Maybe
you were sending in letters to the original incarnation of some
kind of Brazzil.com magazine way back in the early '60s, but I
didn't see those either. Just because you actually brought up
the "14 years ago" thing, I'm siding with the real original Alex,
the only Alex, the initializer, the postulatizer, the analyzer,
Alex1, aka Alex. The one -- the only.


P 1

Back to our cover