Getting cash from ATMs in Greece is more popular than any other method of exchanging money. In most cases, you pay only your usual bank fee rather than a commission, though this may vary depending on your bank's policy. Generally, you will get the best available exchange rate as well.
Street-side ATMs are still the most common, though a few hotels, restaurants, and tavernas may have one. Many Greek banks have their ATMs in glass-enclosed rooms just outside the bank itself.
The doors will be locked, but there will be a card reader. Your ATM card, from whatever country, will open the lock. Just slide it in and enter.
ATMs Can Run Out of Money
At busy tourist locations, it's very common for the machines to run out of money on weekends and to stay empty until mid-week. Avoid getting low on money so that this will not be a problem.
The Greek ATMs with signs in English or other languages generally run out of money first. The all-Greek ATMs 10 feet away will often still have Euros. In most cases, if you put your card into one of these all-Greek ATMs, the display will come up in English. But sometimes all the instructions are in Greek. The brave will charge ahead and use the Greek language ATM anyway.
Tips for Using Greek ATMs
To avoid possible theft, plan ahead so that you aren't using ATMs in the middle of the night. While incidents are rare, this is a good policy to follow in any country.
During times of financial uncertainty, ATMs may not be refilled on schedule. Bank mergers also serve to reduce the number of ATMs in some places in Greece, as previous competitors merge. Always have enough emergency cash for a few days.
Any limits placed on withdrawing money is your bank's policy, so ask your bank how much you can withdraw from your account by using an ATM on your travels.
Frequent withdrawals in a foreign country with an ATM card may trigger a fraud alert with your bank. When that happens, they will freeze your account. To avoid this, call your bank before leaving and tell them where you will be traveling and for how long. They will note your account.
If you are using ATMs that charge a per transaction fee, you may be tempted to withdraw larger amounts each time. Be sure and have a safe place for the money you withdraw, like a hotel safe. If you don't have that available, the fairly low fees that may be charged from ATM transactions will certainly be worth it.
Finding an ATM in Greece
If you are traveling in the countryside or in small towns it may not be easy to locate an ATM. Major credit cards have an ATM locator on their websites. These include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Better yet, withdraw your money at an ATM in a larger city before heading out to rural areas.