Warning for Irish people abroad: Allied Irish Bank (AIB) Lowers its daily maximum withdrawal limit for debit cards to E100,- in many foreign countries.

[UPDATE 30/8/2015 – click here for a more recent post about Irish cards being blocked when abroad]

We made the discovery of this new withdrawl limit on AIB debit cards abroad, while attempting to take out our usual amount of money on our AIB debit card at an ATM machine in Chiang Rai, Thailand to cover the next couple of days and were declined payment of our usual amount. We then tried to use ATMs of several different Thai banks and got the same errors until we got to a very low amount of under E100 and suddenly the money came out.

As we were sure the balance in our accounts was not the issue and we had taken out an amount a lot higher than E100 several days earlier, we checked the AIB website. After some searching on the internet and AIBs website we found the following information on the AIB site:

Use your card for cash withdrawals from ATMs in Ireland and worldwide (up to a daily limit of EUR600) where the Banklink/LINK/Maestro symbol is displayed. Please note: at some ATM’s abroad, particularly in non-European locations, the daily cash withdrawal limit may be reduced to EUR100 or less.

This unclear and vague statement is the only piece of information to be found on their website and no other notice has been provided by them on any other system – not even on 0nline banking. At least we did understand that we are in a country that seems to be affected by the E100 limit (Thailand), but as we will be traveling to several other countries, this limit makes a barely workable solution for us for the following reasons:

  1. It will be costing us on average 3% more on each transaction in Fees (All Thai ATMs impose a 150Baht or ~E3.75 for each foreign debit card ATM transaction no matter how small). This is multiplied by 3 again as we have to make up to 3 times the amount of transactions to get the same amount of cash which means that we lose an extra 9% on fees to Thai banks for withdrawing the same amount of money and  we lose another 1 or 2% due to the minimum fees imposed by AIB…
  2. We will have to go to bank machines daily and take out maximums on both our cards for several days before we can make any additional purchases or go to a remote area where ATMs are not available
  3. We will have to walk around with more cash money to have cover any eventualities as we can not take it out when something happens. Or having to take out money out of an ATM on a credit card which has a limit 250E and is even more costly to use abroad.

In our case the damage done by this careless change is costly and very inconvenient but manageable. However, we are sure that there are many travelers with Irish bank accounts abroad who might run into major difficulties due to this decreased withdrawl limit that was imposed without any notice.

Of course we called AIB to get this clarified further and see if there was a possibility to change this or ways around this. The friendly but tired employee at phone banking told us that indeed this limit has been lowered from maximum E250,- (which is already half of what can be taken out with for instance a debit card of several Dutch banks we are aware of) to E100,-. This has been done for any bank that does not use Chip/Pin verification due to a high level of fraud around the world. The bank employee added that this was “A change made by Irish banks” but did not clarify which other banks are also imposing this. When asking about alternatives to take out more money than the new daily limit she basically admitted that this cannot be done using the banks services and that many people that are affected by this change have already contacted the bank.

Out of curiosity and because we are also planning to go to other more expensive countries like Australia we looked into which banks do use PIN/chip verification. As far as we can find, outside of Europe only some banks in Canada use the pin/chip verification method. In short this indicates that your debit card is now pretty much useless as a main source of money outside the EU.

CONGRATULATIONS AIB and the Irish banks who participate in lowering the daily limits on their debit cards to this unacceptable amount without notice. By avoiding your responsibility to deal with the debit card fraud cases and letting the insurance companies do what they are designed for, but instead removing access for your Irish customers abroad to the bulk of their funds… You have SUCCEEDED TO LOWER OUR CONFIDENCE IN YOUR SERVICE ONCE AGAIN….

To all affected Irish citizens abroad in the US/Australia and other affected countries. If you run in to problems due to this unannounced change. Please file complaints with AIB and also write an email to alert@aib.ie/or your affected bank. Also write in or call in a complaint to the financial regulator.

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  • Dave

    Thanks for letting me know about this….i am staying in thailand for 6 months. I have been trying to take out my maximum 9000 baht and have been going from ATM to ATM trying to get it. i knew nothing of this new change. i was due to pay 12000 baht rent to my landlord today but now it will take 4 days before i can give him his money. very embarrassing. it will now also cost me over 15 euros in bank charges to get this money out. i can see no notifications on AIB for this drastic change…disgraceful.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your feedback and sorry to hear about the problems this caused for you. I hope that you can make the time to put in a complaint about this aswell. We’ll be following up through all channels, to at least make it clear that a lot of people are affected by this. I guess its impossible to get far away enough to be completely spared the drama’s going on back home.

      Best regards,


  • Thanks for the information. I’m out in the States myself. After getting people at home to talk to someone in my local branch of AIB, I still was none the wiser. It still took this blog for me to find out what is going on, ridiculous! I’ve been going around like an ejit from machine to machine, wondering what I was doing wrong. They said everything was fine on their end, AIB Killarney. Gives me half a mind to close my account when I get back. I’ll buy a second hand mattress with lodging holes I’d get as much sense out of it!

  • Kevin

    I found out about this while trying to get cash to pay for a hotel in rural Mexico. My interaction with AIB was so farcical as to be funny. The ‘customer care representative’ really did say ‘for the convenience of our customers’ and her supervisor was equally unhelpful. They can suggest no alternatives except using Western Union – surely a step backwards. I recorded my anger and astonishment that a facility could be unilaterally withdrawn without notice and with no credible justification. A new low for Irish banking or at least for AIB since I can’t find if anyone else has done it yet.

  • Julia

    Seething!!?? Oh yes I am!! I had to attend a charity ball in Sydney last Friday. After getting the hairdo / taxis I was left with 20$. You can imagine my shame when it came to the raffle and donations etc! You are in for a fright when you get to Australia. The strength of the Aussie dollar Vs. Euro is a bit of a bummer too! There are transaction charges from both banks also. My caring bank want me to avoid being skimmed..I want to avoid being robbed! (by them!) and of course next time I’m abroad i will have to bring cash, so it won’t be long until thieves know that the Irish are carrying notes…we will be easy pickings…Again!

  • Diego

    we are inTHAILAND at the moment and just found out about the Irish bank scam … we were here less than 2 years ago… And no proablem Whatsoever. it r seems that irish bank can do whatever they like. They are moving backwards ., and we pay the price! They ll hear me once back home!!!

  • mary o dea

    Yes takes me three days at least to squeeze rent of 300 out of A.T.M. I am in Australia and using commonwealth bank, banks here charge approx 2/2.50 dollars per withdrawal. So every time you withdraw the 100 you are charged A.I.B. fees then Australian bank transaction fees A.T.M. fees etc. Ended up having to withdraw from credit card. Nice bit off accountancy on the banks behalf. And the rich get richer.

  • Karl

    Hi, I’m in America at the moment and have more or less been left stranded by this ridiculous limit, I never carry cash as I have had trust in my bank up until now, I’m in a position where I am on a holiday with my wife and finding it impossible to enjoy my self as we are struggling day by day to survive or do anything, I called AIB and was told to use a credit card which I won’t use as I have money lying in the bank that belongs to me

  • Mossy

    Good old AIB being the usually eejits. I’ve just arrived in Auckland and am really really hoping this doesn’t apply to my Debit Card too. Surely if you let the bank know they should lift this unbelievably low maximum withdrawal, are the decision makers that dopey to be unable to allow us to do so?!

    What a rant, and I haven’t even checked yet. Thank you Alex for letting us know, grrrrrr to our Irish Bank

  • Thanks for finally talking about > Warning for Irish people abroad:
    Allied Irish Bank (AIB) Lowers its daily maximum withdrawal limit for debit cards to E100,- in many foreign countries.
    | Travel Tales < Loved it!

  • Lorraine

    Don’t even start me with AIB! I live in Korea last year. The day before I left (and had already transferred ALL my money back to my AIB account), I said I’d make sure the card was working properly. Annnd guess what … Not working at all, in any machine. So I call AIB and the tell me that they had issued a new visa debit card (I was still on Laser) and that I should have received it in the post. Not even an email or notice on the internet banking site about this change by the way. So I call home and no card had come. So there I was heading off on a trip around SE Asia with no f’n money. THEN it takes over a week for a new card to arrive home which is completely ridiculous. In Korea, and other countries, you get a new card within 5-10minutes!!! So then off I went with almost no money and had to deal with An Post issues after that. A month later I got the frickin card.
    The latest thing with them is this stupid thing that all you guys are talking about. It happened to me in the States a month ago. Then of course, silly me, misplaced my card and had to order a new one while in the states. Ordered it and it got lost in the post. Had to order a new one and that one got lost coming to Mexico, where I am now. So yet again, I have to order a new card, whenever it may reach me (again barely enough money to survive) and then have to deal with this shite of only being able to take out less than €100 per transaction! Seriously!!! I’m done with AIB! Seriously considering taking all my money and putting it into another account … Only I need my card for that. And not to forget a stupid bloody ‘card reader’!!!

  • Jim

    I had the same problem in Thailand and its funny that the Thai banks began the 150 baht fee around the same time the crooked assholes in aib reduced the withdrawal amout I phone the bank and argued it was my money and up to me how much I wanted to withdraw and to please put my limit back to what it was,they refused and I was mad as hell and they told me it was for my own good. What a load of bull from an ever increasing band of thieves and traitors

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