Whine Wednesdays: ATM Machines With Extremely Low Withdrawal Limits (US$19 In Ukraine)


In our Whine Wednesday topic this week we’ll talk about situations when you need some cash from the ATM and the limits are unbelievably low that you need multiple transactions.

During this case John went to Ukraine this month and when trying to take cash out the ATM afforded him the maximum option of 500 UAH which is the equivalent of US$19.

Sometimes you run into ATM’s that are basically just fee mills for the owners such as at nightclubs or other entertainment venues. Often even regular machines owned by banks have $250-$300 limits as I found here in Asia (Thailand) at times.

But this must have be the lowest operator set limit I’ve ever heard of. 500 UAH is the equivalent of US$19 per the XE calculator:

Depending on what kind of card you use for the withdrawal the fee might go as high as 50% of what you’re able to get out in cash or if you dare to do a cash advance from a credit card possibly even higher than that. Crazy!

John mentioned that he went to the Intercontinental Kiev the next day where he again approached an ATM and was allowed a generous 1000 UAH ($38). Mind you, a night at the Intercontinental Kiev is usually north of US$400 a night (365 EUR if i check for this coming Friday). Good use of points by the way, 30,000 IHG Rewards points per night of $400+ must be one of the best IGH redemptions out there.


I usually takes 100-200 USD worth of currency in local equivalent for 3-4 days and if there is some money left then i apply it to my last hotel bill in the destination. That way I avoid traveling with wads of foreign currency from countries where I rarely go.

This case serves as an example how important it is to have a debit or credit card that allows free international ATM withdrawals and that you can’t rely on having ATM ready at your service. They can defective or subject to limitations such as this one. Sometimes the machines are sketchy security wise, either in an unsafe area or they look like they might have been tempered with to clone cards.

I recently had a discussion with a friend why I always keeo 200 Euro ‘Emergency Cash’ with me and he said nobody today exchanges cash anymore. That’s actually not true for many parts of the world and I simply don’t want to travel totally reliant on credit cards or the ATM as you never know.

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