Money and Banking
Students often underestimate the amount of time and energy it takes to get money during their stay in Russia. We ask you to review the following section carefully, keeping in mind that the School in Russia cannot offer any assistance with financial transactions.
We strongly recommend that you bring a Visa card or MasterCard with cash advance capability, for emergency cash needs. Even if you do not carry a credit card at home, and even if you do not expect to use one in Russia, our experience of many years has shown that credit card cash advances offer the best and often the only solution to many financial emergencies. Before leaving for Russia, make sure to warn your credit card company that you are going to be traveling to Russia.
Cash Advances and ATMs
Visa and MasterCard offer cash advance services, which are available in all School in Russia cities; however, many banks will only offer advances in rubles, not dollars.
American Express maintains its own ATM machines at its offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but American Express cards are rarely accepted at regular Russian banks’ ATMs. The company doesn’t allow cardholders to write personal checks for cash at their offices in Russia anymore.
ATM cards linked to your checking account may have the lowest foreign transaction fees and tend to be the best option. Check with your bank. A number of students have recommended opening a free checking account with Charles Schwab because they do not charge a foreign exchange fee for ATM withdrawals.