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I have a German bank account and a Visa credit card attached to it, but left Germany some time ago and live in a non-European country.

Last Monday a bank officer from the German bank called me on my German mobile number, which I still retain. He wanted to update my address. I told him I live abroad, and he responded that my bank account has to be blocked or closed because I do not live in Germany. He told me I can withdraw money till the end of the week by using my credit card. He said that he decreased the credit limit to approximately what I had on the account at the moment of the call, ~1,600 Euro, and that my credit card would be blocked after this week.

Following the call, I was able to withdraw only ~1,100 Euro by using ATMs, and it has already been more than 50 hours that no ATM can give me any more money, displaying messages like "incorrect amount," "transaction cannot be completed," "you reached your daily withdrawal limit," however small amount I choose and whatever ATM I try.

But the card is still active, as I was able to recharge my mobile an hour ago by using the card. Also, I can see in my online banking that the card status is "active." Apparently there is some cash withdrawal limit different from the credit limit.

I am afraid that whatever I leave on my bank account by Monday will get blocked and hard to get later, so I have to empty the account before Monday as much as I can.

What can I do to achieve that goal? I know I can just purchase some goods by using the credit card, but I want money. I am considering buying bitcoins by using my card, as bitcoins later can be converted to money, but the problem is that I do not have a verified account at any bitcoin seller and am unsure how long the verification will take. I have only two days. It seems impossible or very hard to find a way to buy bitcoins for 500 Euro without passing the verification process. Another idea is to use a service like Western Union to make a cash transfer to myself, but, again, ID verification is needed and takes a few days.

What possible solutions are there?


UPDATE 1: A number of users found my post confusing, but a comment below nicely clarifies why I am trying to get cash from my credit card:

@Sandra, it seems like you're using your credit card as a vehicle to get cash from your "everyday" account, by charging things to your credit card and then paying it off at the end of the month, and you're doing this because you're unable to use the Maestro card attached to that account. Is this correct? I think there's some confusion around why you're trying to get cash from a credit card because of this.

The problem with the Maestro card is that I forgot its PIN as a result of not using it for a long time.


UPDATE 2: I eventually succeeded in withdrawing my money from Germany by using the credit card and have now posted an answer summarizing my experience.

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    German credit cards sure don't act like American credit cards!!! – RonJohn Aug 9 at 23:16
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    Are you actually withdrawing from your deposit account, or from a line of credit which is secured by the deposit account? There can be a daily withdrawal limit from a bank account, but there cannot be a cash advance limit, because withdrawing your own money is not an advance. If you are actually transacting on the deposit account, there's no way that any "credit limit" would be involved either. – Ben Voigt Aug 9 at 23:16
  • So in the end, it is very important whether you are just using the credit card to identify yourself to the ATM and then transacting the deposit account, or you are actually transacting your line of credit. When the ATM asks you which account to withdraw from (usual options: "Checking", "Savings", "Credit card") what do you select? – Ben Voigt Aug 9 at 23:17
  • @RonJohn It is still a Visa credit card. I can use it to book hotels, flights, etc. And I need to find a way to purchase something in order to get money in the end, as ATMs are no longer useful in my situation. Purchasing bitcoins was my first idea, but, unfortunately, ID verification is needed and is lengthy, while I have only two days left to use my credit card.. – Sandra Aug 9 at 23:39
  • @BenVoigt This is a Visa credit card, not a Visa debit card. When I withdraw cash from that card by using an ATM, I later see in online banking that my credit account is charged, i.e. the credit balance gets negative. It is never positive. And at the end of each month the negative balance on my credit account is automatically balanced by an automated transaction from my everyday account. – Sandra Aug 9 at 23:41
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Regardless what's the status of your credit card, you can also terminate your bank account. Your bank will transfer the remaining funds. If you live outside Europe (outside the SEPA zone to be precise), a handling fee might apply.

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I eventually succeeded in withdrawing my money from Germany by using the credit card and would like to share my experience and knowledge I acquired in the process. Perhaps it will be useful for others. Maybe someone will need to withdraw money from a credit card after reaching its cash withdrawal limit and will find my post useful.

My first attempt was to buy bitcoins by using the credit card. I registered on one of the websites offering bitcoins, passed ID verification, but got an error message when I tried to pay by my credit card. I contacted the support team of the website and was told that my bank had declined the transaction. I checked in my online banking that my credit card was not charged.

Then I was able to recharge my mobile and buy Skype credit by using the credit card, and this confirmed that my credit card was still active.

Then I tried paysend.com, which offers instant money transfers from one credit card to any other one. A relative of mine agreed to cooperate and gave me his credit card details, so I tried to transfer money to his credit card from my credit card by using that website, but again got an error message. And again I was told by the support team of the website that my bank had declined the transaction. And, again, I checked in my online banking that my credit card was not charged.

Then I learned that transactions via Paysend are counted as cash advance, so I cannot use that website if the cash withdrawal limit has been reached.

Then I read on the Internet that buying bitcoins by using a credit card counts as cash advance either, so it became clear why I had been unable to buy bitcoins.

Then I found a partial solution. I knew I would have to travel in a couple of months, but I did not know the exact date. I called an air company (Aeroflot) and learned from them that I could buy an air ticket by a credit card and later change the flight by paying a small fee and the price difference by cash in a company office. Thus the initial purchase is like buying a credit. They said it is no problem if my credit card gets blocked shorty after the initial purchase. They emphasized, however, that if I wanted to cancel my trip and get a refund, they would be unable to refund my money because they can make a refund only to the credit card from which the purchase was made.

I decided to use this opportunity and purchased an air ticket for about 200 Euro, thereby reducing the amount of money left in Germany from about 500 Euro to about 300 Euro. And it is quite possible that I will not even need to change the flight.

Someone told me another solution: To recharge a mobile SIM card by using the credit card and later ask the mobile operator to terminate the SIM card and pay me the balance. He told me it works in my country, although I would have to wait for months to get my money.

He also told me that in my country (Russia) I can get cash from a mobile SIM card balance even without terminating the SIM card. He said that to do this, I can buy Webmoney WMR from a SIM card balance and then exchange WMR to cash.

But I judged that it is too complicated and effort-consuming. I did not have any WMR wallet and did not have any experience with WMR. I judged that the risk of my German bank refusing to return me the remaining 300 Euro was not enough to warrant going through the hassle of dealing with WMR, although I got pretty convinced that the method would work.

On Sunday evening my credit card was still active, so I decided to try to withdraw cash from an ATM on Monday early morning before the start of the German bank working hours, in the hope that the problem was a weekly, not monthly, cash withdrawal limit and that the bank officer would block my credit card only after the start of his working hours.

And it worked! I withdrew everything but 50 Euro. I left 50 Euro in the German bank on purpose, to cover all possible account closing fees and ensure I would not owe anything.

Shorty after the start of the German bank working hours, the bank officer blocked my credit card and sent me a notification email about that. I had withdrawn my money just in time!

By the way, I was not charged any currency exchange fee when I withdrew cash from the credit card, because I used an ATM that allows withdrawing euros. In my online banking, I saw that the total fee for withdrawing cash from the credit card was just about 3%.

So here is the summary of what I learned from my experience of working around the credit card cash withdrawal limit:

  1. In addition to its credit limit, a credit card has a daily, weekly, and possibly monthly cash withdrawal limit. This means that if it has been a few days in a row that you cannot withdraw cash, you may be able to withdraw cash next calendar week and do not necessarily need to wait for the next calendar month.

  2. Websites offering instant transfers to other credit cards or offering buying bitcoins by a credit card will not help, because such transactions are classified as cash advance. They will be declined by the bank if the cash withdrawal limit has been reached.

  3. You can buy "an air company credit" by booking a ticket that you can later change for another one. You can pay the re-booking fee and the price difference by cash in an airline office. However, you have to check in advance that this method will work with the air company of your choice.

  4. There may be ways of using a mobile SIM card as a vehicle of getting cash from a credit card whose cash withdrawal limit has been reached. In my experience, I was able to recharge my mobile from my credit card despite that the cash withdrawal limit had been reached. If you have a Russian mobile SIM card, you apparently can get cash from it via WMR, a Webmoney virtual currency. The process, however, is complicated, and considerable fees and losses on exchange rates RUB/WMR are to be expected. I also read on the Internet that you can buy bitcoins directly from a mobile SIM card, depending on the country.

To conclude, I can say that if you have reached a cash withdrawal limit of your credit card, you may still be able to get money from it.

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Depending on the country you live in, I would perform the following steps:

  • Transfer the funds from your credit card account to your main account (if they are separate as they are on my bank, the DKB)
  • Transfer the now remaining balance from your main account to the account where you live now. Usually, you would do that with an international wire transfer (Auslandsüberweisung), but, as said, that depends on where you live.
  • After that, let happen to the account whatever happens.
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😁 If you personally know any business owner and he is willing to help you, Buy some stuff on credit card and ask for refund in cash. That will work for both of you.

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    That will work for both of you - not really. The merchant will lose a portion of the original sales transaction to interchange fees (usually around 3%). If the merchant does the refund off the books, that 3% is gone forever. – dwizum Aug 12 at 13:59

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