St. Petersburg seems to have ATMs everywhere you turn. This is because the machines are frequently used by both locals and travelers needing to access their funds as they shop within the unique stores around the city. However, travelers tend to be somewhat nervous about using ATMs because they are not sure whether or not their debit cards will work.
The good news is that the odds of the card working are greater than the odds of the card not working. This is especially true if your card has the Visa or MasterCard logo on it. Visa and MasterCard are accepted worldwide. If your card does not contain either one of these logos, you will need to consult with your bank as to whether or not it will work in Russia. If it will, you may then be restricted to certain ATM machines.
The first thing you want to do is tell your bank that you are traveling to St. Petersburg so that they do not put a fraud alert on your card. A fraud alert can keep you from accessing your funds and, in some cases, allow the ATM to retain your card until you are able to go into the financial institution that owns the machine and show proof of identity. Even after getting the card back, you have to call your bank and tell them you are traveling. This can be a very expensive call.
You also need to compare exchange rates with the exchange rate of your bank plus their fees to see if using the ATM is more feasible than simply exchanging currency. If you do find that the ATM is going to give you the best rate, you are going to save money. But as a safety precaution, you need to make sure you have two cards with you at all times just in case something happens that you cannot use one of them.
Another thing that you can do is keep your money in a savings account that you can transfer money from to the bank account the debit card is attached to so that you can only access the funds you need for the day. You may be able to anticipate how much money you will need each day. By simply accessing your bank account on the Internet, you can transfer funds the night before to cover you for the next day. That way if something happens such as a machine taking your card or you lose your card, not all of your funds are at risk.
Avoiding Fraudulent Charges
While it is not common for this to happen, it is best to withdraw your funds from one of the ATMs in St. Petersburg before doing such things as buying a sandwich or buying an item in the store. The reason for this is because it is possible for your bank to inadvertently violate daily withdrawal limits or per transaction limits on your account due to glitches that could exist. By limiting your card use to ATMs, you can avoid this happening to you.
ATMs You Can Use While on Tour
If you are traveling to St. Petersburg on a cruise, you can find ATMs inside the St. Petersburg Cruise Port Terminal. You can also find ATMs in The Hermitage Museum vestibule, inside Catherine’s Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and Spilled Blood Church. And these are just the few mentioned. If you are arriving by plane, there are a couple of ATMs inside Pulkovo International Airport. If you travel by train, you will definitely find ATMs inside the train station. Here is the map of Sberbank ATMs (the major Russian bank) in St. Petersburg. You can use it or ask your tour guide to show you the ATMs that are closest to your destination. All ATMs offer you to select the menu in English.
Read more of our articles: Currencies on the Baltic Cruise
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