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I recently moved from the UK to Austria (Graz) and bought a prepaid travel card from the Post Office beforehand. Unfortunately this does not work in any bank or ATM I can find, and I do not have a valid UK bank card, so I cannot withdraw any money and only have about 2 euros left in cash.

The Post Office has agreed to refund my prepaid card to my UK bank account, so I want to buy Euros via a bank transfer and collect them from some shop or bank as soon as possible. Is this something that one can do in Austria? Or would it be quicker to set up an Austrian bank account and make an international transfer from the UK?

And, as a side question, does anyone here have any experience at getting a prepaid Post Office "travel money card" to work in Austria?

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    Just to be sure, are you talking about postoffice.co.uk/travel-money/card ? If so, that's an ordinary Mastercard, so I'm surprised it isn't accepted in Austria. Have you activated it as instructed? – TooTea Aug 5 at 9:15
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    Yes, Maestro (Mastercard) is very common. Did you try going to a Sparkasse and ask them to check the card? – Mark Johnson Aug 5 at 9:38
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Send yourself some money via Western Union - they exist in both the UK and Austria, you can send money from your UK bank account account and pick it up in Austria at a WU location. Once the transfer is set up, it should be fairly quick.

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    This is defenitely the answer. Besides, I think Western Union should be in every traveler's "toolkit" - it has been my saviour on several occassions in very secluded areas, or conflict areas. It's very widely represented around the world. – Damiaan Reijnaers Aug 5 at 9:14
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    @DamiaanReijnaers it's not always the cheapest option but I agree that it's the most universal, fast and easiest option there is that works pretty much in every country (definitely useful when you're stuck abroad with no money). – kiradotee Aug 5 at 13:51
  • @kiradotee Interesting enough, in Argentina it is by far the cheapest option. – Bernhard Aug 6 at 19:58
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In addition to WesternUnion suggested above:

1. If you can wait around 9 working days for a card delivery and/or want to move money regularly, you could consider ordering a Revolut card.

It's a VISA physical card that you can top up using your UK bank account, or debit card or credit card for free.

Once you have the physical card delivered, you can use any ATM to withdraw cash or simply use it at the shops.

Fees for ATM withdrawals: up to £200/month free, above that it's a 2% fee. Please don't select a "dynamic currency conversion" in the ATM but choose to pay in EUR instead of GBP, otherwise the ATM will charge you more.

Fees for card payments: Free (but like with the ATM, the shop is able to select dynamic currency conversion which would charge you more, this happened to me only in small corner shops normally).

2. If you can open a bank account in Austria or an N26 bank account which might be easier to open, you can either use Revolut or TransferWise to transfer money from your UK bank account or bank cards into euros to your Austrian bank account. This normally takes about 1 working day I believe for the transfer. Otherwise, you can also simply transfer money internationally without using a service such as Revolut or TransferWise but it will be more expensive.

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  • "it will be more expensive" Do you know that for a fact for this particular case? I generally found TransferWise to be more expensive than bank transfer. – AndreKR Aug 5 at 20:32
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    @AndreKR It's hit or miss in most cases what approach will be least expensive when dealing with currency conversions, because it quite often depends on the institutions involved as well as the exact choice of service (and what type of transaction, some banks handle wire transfers differently from credit/debit purchases when foreign currency is involved). – Austin Hemmelgarn Aug 6 at 2:17
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    Comments: 1. Opening a bank account is bulky and thus 2. not suited for "travelers", but 3. The OP said they "moved" to Austria so maybe the thread belongs to Expats? – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Aug 6 at 7:45
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    @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ you can still open bank accounts if you're only in the country for say 3 months. Travelling doesn't necessarily have to be for 1 day. But agree that OP seems to have actually moved there. – kiradotee Aug 6 at 7:52
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    Sorry guys, that looked like I was having a go. What I meant was, seems like a good fit in all cases except the wait for card! – GPPK Aug 6 at 10:24
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You could get a bank account at Revolut, that‘s an online (startup) bank which doesn‘t charge any monthly fees but also provides multi-currency accounts. A Revolut account includes not only a SEPA IBAN/BIC account, which you can use to pay everywhere inside the Euro area (including receiving your wage for ex.), but also a debit card and bank account details for nearly all currencies (including account/sort code for UK). You could then just transfer GBP from your UK account to your Revolut account, use their (very affordable) exchange service to change the GBP into EUR and have a bank account charged with Euros. You can either use the included VISA debit card or go to an ATM and withdraw the cash anywhere in Austria. Check out the Revolut website (which btw is a British startup), they really have highly competitive prices - even compared to regular bank accounts - but provide more features than most other banks. - Btw. welcome to Graz!

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    A alternative where you can get more than 200€ per month from an ATM is N26. Downside is, you can only fund it via SEPA transactions and not Credit/Debit card. Upside is, getting money (over 200€) is not costing 2%. It's even possible to combine both accounts. Credit Card -> Revolut ->SEPA Transfer to N26 -> ATM without costs. – Josef says Reinstate Monica Aug 6 at 11:13
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If you need some cash fast, you should be able to get money from an Austrian ATM using you UK card but that may cost you some exchange fee. When I was in Czech i got Kronas with my Austrian card and iirc that costed about 3€. For long term it would be better to get a card with euros either from some Austrian bank or an online bank like N26 or previously mentioned Revolut.

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