ATMs are everywhere, and Greece is no exception. But before you just stop at any old ATM, like at the airport for instance, you should think for a moment because choosing the right ATM could save you a fair bit of money. The best ATM to use in Greece will depend on which cards you have and which bank you use. Therefore, it’s best to plan ahead of time if you can.

Keep reading this article to avoid hidden fees, unfavourable exchange rates, and limited cash withdrawal options. We’ll go over ATM fees in Greece and help you figure out which ATM is best for the bank you use back home.

Best ATM to use in Greece
Best ATM to use in Greece

Should You Take Cash Or Card To Greece?

The answer is, you should take a little bit of both. 

Ideally, you’ll want to have a reloadable card like Monese, Wise, or Revolut that allows you to make payments internationally and take out currency from ATMs at a discount.

You could also bring cash from your home country and exchange it for Euros. However, this is not always going to give you the best exchange rate. You’ll get a good rate for US Dollars, but Australian Dollars? Maybe not.

Why You Need Cash in Greece

In Greece, having a modest amount of cash on hand is always a smart move. While credit and debit cards are widely accepted, particularly in major cities and tourist areas, there are instances where cash is preferred, or even necessary. Small tavernas, local markets, or remote locations might not have card facilities. Also, ATMs are conveniently located in cities, towns, and even on many islands, but keep in mind, during peak travel periods, smaller islands’ ATMs could run out of cash. Try to bring some to the island ahead of time.

We will cover which ATMs offer the most favourable terms to various cardholders in a bit.

Credit Cards in Greece

Credit and debit cards are increasingly popular in Greece and are commonly accepted in hotels, shops, fuel stations, and restaurants in urban and tourist-heavy areas. However, you should inform your bank about your travel plans to ensure your cards remain active while overseas. Otherwise, you might get your card banned. I have had mine banned for online payments overseas several times myself. 

One further point to note is that on occasion, establishments such as bars and taverns may claim their card machines are ‘faulty.’ Whatever the reason is for this, (hint: taxes) it’s always best to have some cash on hand for such instances.

Contactless Payments in Greece

In the age of digital banking, contactless payments have become a widespread method of transaction in Greece. Most establishments that accept card payments also allow for contactless options such as tapping your card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. However, it’s worth noting that there may be a daily limit for contactless transactions. Therefore, while packing your wallet with various cards is a good idea, having some cash can prove handy for covering all bases during your stay in Greece.

Which Cards Work With Atms In Greece?

Navigating which cards are compatible with ATMs in Greece can help ensure a smooth financial transaction experience during your visit. The ATMs in Greece generally accept cards that belong to widely recognized networks such as VISA, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, and American Express.

Here are some of the main card categories that work with ATMs in Greece:

  • Debit Cards: Debit cards linked with a recognized network like VISA or Mastercard are generally accepted across all ATMs in Greece.
  • Credit Cards: Credit cards from popular networks like VISA, Mastercard, and American Express are typically compatible with Greek ATMs. However, using credit cards for cash withdrawals may incur additional charges from your home bank.
  • Prepaid Travel Cards: These cards, like Revolut or Wise, are often accepted and can provide excellent exchange rates with minimal fees.
  • Contactless Cards: Most Greek ATMs also accept contactless cards, which offer an additional layer of convenience.

Here are some foreign cards that are popular to use with ATMs in Greece:

  • Bank of America
  • Barclays
  • HSBC
  • Wells Fargo
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Capital One
  • TD Bank

ATM Fees In Greece

While ATMs provide the convenience of accessing cash anywhere, it’s essential to be aware of the associated fees. Most ATMs in Greece will charge a withdrawal fee, typically ranging from €2.50 to €3.50 per transaction. Notably, the ATMs at the airport tend to have the highest fees and less favourable exchange rates, so it’s advisable to avoid them if possible.

Below is a breakdown of the withdrawal fees for some popular banks in Greece:

BankATM Withdrawal Fee
Alpha Bank€2.50
National Bank of Greece€2.50
Piraeus Bank€2.50
Eurobank€3.75

Note that these fees are in addition to any fees your home bank may charge for international transactions. Usually, they will take 2-5% for themselves.

 Also, some ATMs may offer dynamic currency conversion, which can result in less favourable exchange rates. When possible, opt to be charged in the local currency (euros) instead of your home currency to avoid this.

Remember, the best way to minimize these fees is to make fewer, larger withdrawals rather than several small ones. However, for safety reasons, avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Even if Greece is mostly safe, pickpockets and other opportunists are abundant.

Where Can I Find ATMs in Greece?

ATMs in Greece are ubiquitous and can be found in a variety of places, providing easy access to cash whenever you need it. Here are some of the most common places you’ll find ATMs:

  • Airports: As you exit the arrivals area, you’ll often find an ATM. However, it’s advisable to limit your withdrawals from airport ATMs due to higher fees and less favourable exchange rates. If you’re at Athens airport, you can easily 
  • Supermarkets: Larger supermarkets often have an ATM machine located inside or close by.
  • Shopping Districts: ATMs are common in city centers, shopping areas, and commercial districts.
  • Banks: The best places to withdraw cash are ATMs located inside or directly outside banks. They typically have more secure settings and better exchange rates.
  • Tourist Locations: Key tourist destinations like Santorini and other Greek islands have plenty of ATMs to cater to visitors’ needs.

Greek ATMs for American Banks: 

Don’t fear, several major banks in Greece have ATMs, and many have affiliations with American banks. Some of the common ones include:

  • Alpha Bank: Associated with American Express
  • Piraeus Bank: No direct American affiliation, but compatible with most US cards.
  • National Bank of Greece: Part of the Global ATM Alliance, offering fee-free withdrawals for Bank of America cardholders. If you’re looking for a Bank of America ATM in Athens, for instance, then this is the most compatible one.
  • Eurobank: No direct American affiliation, but compatible with most US cards. Note that this is the most expensive ATM to use in Greece. Generally, speaking, you should avoid it.

Always remember to check your home bank’s partnerships and overseas withdrawal policy before you travel to avoid unexpected charges.

Are ATMs Safe In Greece?

Greece is a fairly safe country, but you should still exercise caution when using ATMs in the country. While the vast majority of ATM transactions occur without incident, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks such as ATM skimming.

ATM skimming involves capturing card data using a fake card reader attached to the ATM, often accompanied by a hidden camera or fake keypad to record your PIN.

To protect yourself, here are a few safety tips:

  • Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations. ATMs inside banks or busy areas are usually the safest.
  • Check the ATM for any suspicious devices before using it. If anything looks out of place or the card reader seems loose, use another machine.
  • Cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN to prevent any hidden cameras from recording your keystrokes.
  • Don’t use ATMs that a stranger brings you to, they might be trying to mislead you and skim your card.
  • Monitor your bank statements regularly to spot any unauthorized transactions.

In general, ATMs in Greece are relatively safe to use, but taking these precautions can help ensure your financial security while travelling.

Recap: Which Is The Best ATM to Withdraw Money in Greece?

There isn’t any one-size-fits-all answer. Look into your specific bank and card situation, and consider getting a prepaid card if you plan on making many international transactions.

At the end of the day, Greece, like many countries in the EU, is gradually moving towards cashless transactions, so having a compatible card on hand is equally important. Don’t rely solely on cash, but don’t abandon it entirely either. A balanced approach, utilizing both card and cash, can provide flexibility and security throughout your trip. 

If you’re going to stay a long time there, I put together a Greece digital nomad guide to help you plan your trip thoughtfully. The article I linked covers everything from finding a place to stay all the way to eating out.

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