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How Much Does It Cost You To Withdraw Cash At An ATM In Europe?

Drawing cash at an ATM in Europe
Beggar with dog next to an ATM in Europe [Image by user32212 from Pixabay]
Which are the most expensive countries in Europe when it comes to drawing cash at an ATM? The answer may surprise you. In the old days of travel, we used to go to the bank to buy travelers’ checks when going on vacation and then cashed them in for handy traveling money. These days, people tend to rely on drawing cash from ATMs in their destination country. However, that can prove expensive, as some countries in Europe are more expensive than others.

Which are the most expensive countries in Europe to withdraw cash?

Drawing cash at an ATM in Europe
[Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay]
According to the technology company Wise, Iceland, Albania and Turkey are the most expensive countries in Europe to withdraw cash from an ATM. This was due to the high commissions charged in that country.

Wise released a list of 15 countries in Europe, starting with the most expensive and the percentage charged, to the cheapest as follows:

  1. Iceland – 4.60 percent
  2. Turkey – 3.59 percent
  3. Albania – 1.31 percent
  4. Austria – 1.23 percent
  5. Czechia – 1.20 percent
  6. Georgia – 1.01 percent
  7. Croatia – 0.80 percent
  8. Serbia – 0.79 percent
  9. Greece – 0.78 percent
  10. Bosnia and Herzegovina – 0.77 percent
  11. Spain – 0.70 percent
  12. Poland – 0.63 percent
  13. Republic of North Macedonia – 0.59 percent
  14. Ireland – 0.56 percent
  15. Norway – 0.44 percent

Where should you withdraw cash on vacation?

Person drawing money from an ATM
[Image by Moshe Harosh from Pixabay]
Naturally, those on a budget can benefit from knowing where it is cheapest to withdraw cash in Europe. As noted in the list, Iceland is clearly the most expensive, taking 4.6 percent of your hard-earned cash. Spain comes just over midway in the list at 0.70 percent, while Norway is the cheapest at 0.44 percent.

Despite the fact that the world is edging close to a cashless society, travelers often do need cash to meet their expenses on vacation. Examples include some Spanish coastal towns that lay on a market at the beachfront during summer. Those stalls are not equipped to take cards, so people need cash to buy that cute souvenir or gift to take home. Moreover, in many European cities, buskers sing, pose, or dance for a few euros, and obviously have to be paid in cash.

Meanwhile, some small businesses are wary of the cost of accepting credit or debit cards and prefer to receive cash. Another example is charity shops run by organizations such as the Lions. These shops cannot take cards and cash is essential

However, when drawing cash, it isn’t always clear during the transaction how much that bank is going to charge. Fortunately, in many European countries, there is a facility to use the ATM with English instructions. As an example, if a traveler in Iceland withdraws €50 per day for a week, they will end up paying more than €16 in commissions. Meanwhile, when in Ireland, travelers would be charged €1.96 for withdrawing the same amount of money.

How can you avoid ATM charges in Europe?

How much does it cost to withdraw money at an ATM in Europe
Drawing cash at an ATM in Europe [Image by Ralph from Pixabay]
When traveling in Spain, for example, some banks add their own charge for using an ATM with another bank’s card. However, while using the ATM it gets to a stage in the transaction where it lists the charge. If you find it too high, you can cancel the transaction and try another bank’s ATM.

Basically, experts recommend researching where to draw money, as you may find it cheaper to draw money before you leave. One thing you should avoid is using exchange offices at airports, which usually offer an unfavorable exchange rate to hide the cost to the consumer.

One of the best ideas is to check what commissions the provider of your card charges you for drawing cash internationally. One recommendation is to carry a multi-currency card to withdraw cash at your destination.

Also, avoid using your credit card to draw cash at an ATM as the commissions are very high and almost always attract interest. Meanwhile, if you are given the option to pay “in € or £”, or “in € or $” always select the euro, as this is more beneficial for travelers in Europe.


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