There are several ways to pay bills and trip expenses:

ATM/Debit withdrawals Once on the trip this is the desired method of obtaining large amounts of money in foreign countries. The University is willing to advance you the amount needed for your trip. (Only one cash advance for each group). You can then withdraw from your bank account from an ATM almost anywhere in the world. You will need to keep accurate records and receipts for the money that you withdraw and spend. (Withdrawals are not expenses and should not be included in the expense sheet.) Typically banks limit your daily withdrawals. However, you can talk to the bank BEFORE you leave and, usually, they will be able to raise the daily limit, possibly to as much as $2000.
Also, make sure that you check on the
fees that your bank charges. These can be quite high and may preclude using this method. Typical fees should be a 3% foreign transaction fee and a $2–5.

ATM fee. Credit Unions typically do not charge a transaction fee. Many foreign ATM’s limit the amount of each ATM transaction so it may be necessary to make several withdrawals.


VISA/MasterCard You can also pay a bill with your credit card and you will be reimbursed. Of course, if foreign currency is involved there is usually a currency conversion fee with each credit card use, up to 3%. Several credit cards, such as Capital One, Costco Citi, or Alaska Visa cards do not charge a conversion fee.

Foreign Wires You can also pay using Foreign Wire Transfers. Wires get the money there faster, and this is the preferred method to pay an overseas company before the trip. It is vitally important that you complete the wire transfer request with ALL the information requested. For an estimate of current currency conversion rates see Note that these conversion rates are approximate to the actual rates as they vary according to time of day, bank, etc. Our banks rates are almost always higher. There is also at least a $25 wire fee for each wire transfer. (Sometimes there has also been an additional “bank transfer fee.” The Financial Affairs office has wire transfer forms.)

Foreign Wire Instructions

  • Complete the form with ALL information and submit with invoice to the Financial

    Affairs office.

  • If the wire request is in foreign currency do not convert to US. The bank will do this

    when they process the request.

  • Please translate where necessary - often foreign addresses are hard to understand.

  • Clearly mark due date on the form.

  • The Financial Affairs office will send a confirmation to you once the wire is sent. This

    will state the actual US dollar amount. It is best to take this confirmation with you on the trip, just in case....

    Traveler Checks Do not use these.