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Argument - Convert all Euros at home or get at ATMs in Greece

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Argument - Convert all Euros at home or get at ATMs in Greece

Old Aug 13th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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Argument - Convert all Euros at home or get at ATMs in Greece

Please help to settle a debate I'm having with my boyfriend (I've been to Europe a few times and he's never left the eastern seaboard timezone). We are headed to Greece for 2 weeks at the end of August. He wants to convert all his money before going and is currently searching and comparing local money exchange places for the best rate. I'm arguing to take about 100 Euros and get what you need (about 300Euros at a time) from ATMs while we're there.

He argues that you waste money on transaction fees and don't get the best rate from foreign ATMs (as at home you get penalized $1.50 for going to an ATM not belonging to your bank and you pay about a 2% charge for withdrawing foreign funds from your account). My argument is that I'd rather not carry huge amounts of cash with me and that by taking a few hundred from an ATM at a time you balance the transaction fee with getting a better exchange rate and lower risk if you loose the money.

Pleae help me convince him not to take 2000Euros in cash with him when we leave!

Thank you
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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European banks to not charge for withdrawing money. The U.S. conversion charge is high and even if your bank charges $5 per transaction, as does mine, it is better to use ATMs abroad than change the money in the U.S. But you can also open an account in a credit union and not be charged for taking money out of a foreign ATM.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 05:00 PM
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I hate cliches, but sometimes you can take a horse to water but can't make him drink.

Just get a few links from this site about currency conversions and make him read them.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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I was in Greece for 4 weeks beginning this last May and got all my currency from ATMs using my BofA VISA debit card. Each withdrawl cost me $5USD. That's it. VISA adds 1% to the daily exchange rate for their commission, but it's built in so it's not reflected on your statement. Greece has no partnership in the Global Bank Alliance, so this is what you'll be paying with a VISA (Plus or Interlink) debit card. If you were going to where there was a partnership you wouldn't be paying any transaction fee but you'd still be paying VISA its 1%.

Obviously the larger the withdrawl the less it works out to be per $100, so I took 300-400 Euros out each time to defray this extra cost. It's well-worth the extra money.

Tell your boyfriend if he buys his Euro currency in the U.S. he'll be paying top dollar for the privelege. Before he buys, have him check what the Federal Reserve Bank's exchange rate is compared to what the bank charges for a currency exchange on that same day. This will tell him what he's actually going to pay for this service. I guarantee you that it's not advantageous.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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We just returned from Greece this past week. ATMs are everywhere, including on most of the islands, and are the best way to get local currency IMO.

Relax...if he won't listen then let him do as he wishes..and make sure you spend all of HIS money first; then get some of your own out of the ATMs.

Some folks have to learn from actual experience and perhaps he is one of those people.

On the other hand, they say to really KNOW someone there are two things you should do with them: travel and play cards. Perhaps his unwillingnes to listen to someone with experience, or worse, to a WOMAN with experience, may be a portent of things to come.

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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for your quick responses - exactly what I thought. Figured I'd let him take all his vacation money then let him stress about getting mugged while I just enjoy my ouzo!

I'm having a bit of a laugh up my sleave on this one as he tries to argue it - personally I figure that I'll be on vacation and if I do spend a couple extra dollars on withdrawls (direct for bank not Visa as we're from Canada) so be it. I'm on vacation to relax, not penny pinch. I save and watch my money all year so that I can relax and let those behaviours go for a couple of weeks. Then again that's why I also tend to go a bit nuts on the shopping (but who can resist leather bags in Florence???).

Just a note - checked with my bank and they charge $3 (Canadian) per foreign withdrawl and you get the daily conversion rate. As Lee said, this definitely works fine if you take out 300E at a time.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 05:35 PM
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On a trip in May to Italy I got approx. 700 euros from the bank at home to pay for an apartment (was practical for that as I needed to pay in cash immediately). Afterwards, I used ATMs and credit cards exclusively. The exchange rate for ATMs/credit cards averaged about the same.

The US bank exchange rate ahead of time is quite a bit higher than using an ATM to withdraw cash and ATMs are everywhere.

However, if your boyfriend is uncomfortable waiting until he's in Greece, let him go ahead and get the money. As said above, spend his first and get yours later
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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Matrexx: Just be sure to keep your funds separate. Let him do what he darn well pleases and you just be smart.

1) You will pay a lot less per € using a Greek ATM than he will buying € in Canada.

2) He will be constantly looking over his shoulder worried about pick pockets since he will have all his funds on him in cash. And you will be carefree w/ your money safely in the bank til you need it.

3) His wallet will bulge w/ all that money - he'll look like a doofus . . . . .
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 06:19 PM
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If this is just an intellectual debate, then his position makes no sense to me.
To walk around with that much cash is foolish, anywhere, anytime. He will never find a rate at home that is better than the rate he will get at ATMs in Greece, or by using credit cards there.Even if added transaction fees add up to $25 over the course of the trip, as you say, it's a relatively minor expense, less than $1 per day for your two-week trip.

On the other hand, if this has become a bone of contention, let each of you do as you like. As you know, sometimes we have to let our dear ones do as they please, as we do in our turn, even when it flies in the face of reason.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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sorry about the math, less than $2 per day
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 08:00 PM
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Matrexx, you're right. He's wrong. End of story. Tell him he'll save himself a lot of grief if he just gets used to it.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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Matrexx, if he still insists on taking currency, have him wait until you get to Athens. You'll get a much better exchange rate from a Greek bank than you will in Canada.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 08:13 PM
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I am going to Spain in the fall and am thinking of using ATM'S for getting cash too...however I am TERRIFIED my card will demagnitize (which happens all the time) or something else will go wrong and the card wont work..what do you do then??

Angela
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 09:09 PM
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Take some backup TCs for emergencies only.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 09:19 PM
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Frankly, I would get a new card and perhaps even a second one as a back-up; perhaps for travel use only.

TCs work but they are such a hassle.
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 01:35 AM
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You could try explaining it to him this way: currency is just another tradable product for this purpose. Ask him if he thinks it's going to be easier and cheaper to buy Greek-produced postcards or olives or wine in Athens or Toronto, and why? Conversely, where are common Canadian products likely to have some additional value because of their scarcity, Toronto or Athens?

Of course it might lower the temperature a bit if you ask him that when he gets back. Or maybe not....
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 04:16 AM
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Have your boyfriend search this site, or others like Thorn Tree and Frommers. Use terms such as "ATM", "Currency exchange". You'll see a gazillion posts.

The concensus is the same.
If even that doesn't convince him, then leave him. You two will have no future together.
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 04:40 AM
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Hi angy400
>..I am TERRIFIED my card will demagnitize (which happens all the time) or something else will go wrong and the card wont work..what do you do then??<

Stop worrying.

Open another account. Get another ATM card.

Buy some USD Traveler's Checks for emergencies. Deposit them when you get home.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 04:45 AM
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Angie,
The question is why is your card demagnitizing? I've never had that happen.

You may be exposing it to a magnetic field without realizing it. You don't have any magnets in your purse, do you? If not, any electric appliance with coils in it generates a magnetic field when turned on. For example, an iron, a hair dryer, a curling iron, etc.

Just keep your cards away from those things.
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 05:10 AM
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Use the ATM in Greece, but get a 100E at home before you go.
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