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Pre-Loaded Mastercard/visa Cards


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#1 hunden007

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 12:38 PM

With the ATM hacking scare, I am wondering if pre-loaded cards, like MasterCard gift cards, would be useful. 

 

Has anyone had any experience using these preloaded cards around Cozumel?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike


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#2 Carey

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 12:54 PM

My reading of those articles tells me that all the machines he found hacked were privately owned -- not bank machines.  He mentions he found 4 hacks in his brief stop on the island.  All were privately owned boxes strewn along Melgar, the main waterfront drag.

 

Anyone with half an ounce of sense (cents?? ha ha) would know not to use one of those already.  Or maybe I've just lived too many years in Mexico, travelled a lot and am therefore pretty suspicious to start with about things like this.

 

I think you would be just fine taking money from ATMs that are owned by BANKS.  But if you want to be really safe -- as in you fear maybe the bank-associated machines that are available in the Chedraui and Mega grocery stores might have been sold out by store employees -- use an ATM that's actually in a bank itself.  My long time favs are the 2 ATM machines in the Banamex bank which shares a parking lot with the Burger King, one block south of the large intersection of the Avenida 30 and Benito Juarez.  That is a 5 block walk from the muelle, passenger ferry pier. I like that one  because it's a swipe machine.  If you want to use a bank without the swipe machine, do it during business hours on the off chance the 'chine eats your card as happened to me once many a long year ago.  (And I have never forgotten!)

 

There are also 3 banks right downtown off the main plaza.  Bancomer, HSBC and Scotia Bank.  These big banks handle international transactions all the time.  Some like Banamex and HSBC have US branches or counterparts.  If there was a hack like this within their system, there would be an enormous international financial scandal.

 

Just don't use those shoddy little machines on the waterfront that are hunkered down between the hawkers!


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#3 crunch

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 11:25 AM

We do take a preloaded money card from walmart along with our pesos for un-budgeted expenses and for the car rental.  That way in case of emergency we can access the extra cash from an ATM if needed.  Never risking our regular ATM card or credit card for the car rental.

 

Just remember that you need to buy it a few weeks ahead of the trip if you will want a pin as it takes about a week.

 

And we only use bank or Mega ATM's.


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#4 WildBill

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 12:16 PM

There are also 3 banks right downtown off the main plaza.  Bancomer, HSBC and Scotia Bank.  These big banks handle international transactions all the time.  Some like Banamex and HSBC have US branches or counterparts.  If there was a hack like this within their system, there would be an enormous international financial scandal.


Carey,

My take exactly. Hit the nail on the head. But knowing those private machines are hacked is a plus. Just like knowing that someone is on to them and making it public is a big plus. The informed traveler is a safer traveler.

The walk in banks on the square, do they have the "swipe type" of ATMs?

Thanks,
WildBill
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#5 cvchief

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 08:56 AM

Well, don't guarantee anything.  Cardtronics is a HUGE ATM provider and from the story, they are not behind it but are victims as well.  Santander in the airport has been hit as well as bank machines at Mega.  Attached or in a bank would be the safest.  You don't know if there is a contract company servicing the ones NOT in the bank.  It was 3 party ATM servicing companies that are reported compromised, plus the one brand of ATM he mentions.


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#6 mstevens

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 11:07 AM

I'm finding that, on several boards where that site has been mentioned, people seem to be going well beyond what the posts there actually say.


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#7 Carey

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 12:07 PM

I think you're safe using the machines in the actual banks.  The Banamex on 30 1/2 block south of Benito Juarez has 2 swipe machines.  I'm not sure about the ones downtown as I don't use them.  I SEEM to remember the HSBC has a swipe and the Bancomer does not.  Scotia Bank I'm not sure of.  And I just remembered there's also a BanNorte in the plaza too.

 

These 4 banks are all within a block of the muelle, the passenger ferry pier.  Walk straight off the ferry, cross the street and walk one block up into the pedestrian only plaza.   You'll see the clock tower on  your right.  Behind the clock tower is the Bancomer bank.  1 block to your left and still in the pedestrian plaza is Scotia Bank and right across from it BanNorte (forgot about that one).  If you turn right at the clock tower and walk 1/2 block south, there's the HSBC.


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#8 cvchief

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 07:26 PM

I'm finding that, on several boards where that site has been mentioned, people seem to be going well beyond what the posts there actually say.

 

The Santander and the Mega machines were reported I think both by Dave D sometime ago, not the the Krebs article.  Did I get something else wrong?


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#9 mstevens

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 08:48 PM

 

Did I get something else wrong?

 

I was agreeing with you. For example, about the fact that Cardtronics was not mentioned as a villain in the original articles.


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#10 cvchief

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 09:26 PM

 

I was agreeing with you. For example, about the fact that Cardtronics was not mentioned as a villain in the original articles.

 

I was having a self esteem moment....   :P


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#11 Kandy

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 09:50 AM

Just to be sure everyone knows, the machines inside banks aren't always safe. A friend went to the machines inside HSBC at 30 and 11. He requested $800 (he didn't realize what the limit was). The machine denied the transaction and returned the card. When he got home, he went online and found that $800 had, indeed, been charged as a cash advance on his card. He went back to HSBC the next day and was told there was nothing they could do about it because they don't own those machines; another company runs them. After involving an attorney, he did get his money after 8 months, but it was a major hassle.


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#12 cvchief

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 10:22 AM

Makes sense, Kandy, as compromised outside contractors were the weak link.


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