Best Exchange Rate?

Jul 7th, 1999, 05:04 PM
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Best Exchange Rate?

We will be traveling in Italy in Late August. Where will we get the best exchange rate? At an ATM, The Money Exchange at the Airport or a Bank in Town.

Should we use credit card instead?
Jul 7th, 1999, 05:16 PM
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My experience has been that credit cards and ATM's give the best exchange rate.
Jul 7th, 1999, 06:07 PM
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Maybe we should approach this question from another angle. That is: which place almost always gives you the WORST exchange rate? The answer...drum roll...the envelope, please...and it is: your hotel. Followed by: The American Express Office. Followed by: any bank.
Jul 7th, 1999, 06:25 PM
wes fowler
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Your best exchange rate will be by credit card. The rate is based on the commercial exchange rate used in international monetary transactions. Your next best exchange rate is via ATM which is based upon the same commercial exchange rate as the credit card but with the addition of ATM useage fees. Anything after these is punishing to the budget!
Jul 7th, 1999, 06:29 PM
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Use your ATM at any BANK ATM machine including the ATM at the airport. If you use your charge card there are additional fees plus interest charged from that date of use(this assumes you don't need to charge money).
Jul 8th, 1999, 02:35 AM
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I just returned from Italy.
I used an ATM card accessing my US bank account, a Diners Club card, an American Express card and a Citibank VISA card.
The Wall Street Journal publishes the wholesale rate each day. I received the wholesale rate on the ATM card with a $2 fee. I got the wholesale rate with the Diners and AmEx cards . Citibank shortchanged me consistently by about 1.3%
Any one of these is preferable to the ever present money changers -- their hair cuts are horrendous.
The best are the Diners and AmEx cards, but not everyone takes them.
Since the fee as always $2 per transaction, you should get as much as you can each time you use the ATM machine. The max as far as I could tell is 500,000 lira -- about $275. The fee if you draw $10 is 20%. I used bank ATM's. I don't know what the fee is if you use, say, an ATM in a hotel. Don't be concerned about having lira left over when you leave the country. You can always pay part of your hotel bill with your excess.
Also, I've noticed over the years that there are more and more ATM's in Europe.
And they don't seem to care anymore about being a member of a particular card alliance.
Jul 8th, 1999, 02:47 AM
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I forgot to mention that some ATM's in Europe will not take a password with more than 4 digits. If your's is more you should change it before you leave.
Jul 9th, 1999, 10:19 AM
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If you know your PIN number by corresponding letters, not the numbers on keypads-- many European ATM's do not have the letters on the keypads. So memorize your PIN as numbers!
Jul 16th, 1999, 12:14 PM
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I used my atm in Germany a few times before noticing that the fee was 2% with a minumum fee of $5.00. I should have only gone once or twice and gotten the max amt allowed. They don't give receipts, so I don't know what the transactions cost me yet. (we just got back yesterday, and I haven't checked yet!) I'll assume I got a good rate from what I've read online here. I was able to use it everywhere except for one bank in Germany.
I bought some DM travelers checks at AAA before leaving- good rate, no fee. The change office at the airport charged me 16DM to change it to cash-- but the Amex office didn't. I liked that route. In changing American $$ travelers checks, I got more for my money at Amex than at a bank. We did use our charge cards whenever we could, but cash is needed for admissions, etc.
Jul 16th, 1999, 02:43 PM
M & J
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We consistantly use ATMs for local currency, charge everything we can on credit cards and as Vic recommended above, we use most of what is left of the currency to pay the last night hotel charge. Now, the only problem we ever had with ATM was at the Vienna airport last fall. The machine "stole" my wife's card, the fellow at the kiosh refused to return it for "security reasons." I then used my card, same acct number---bingo, plenty of Austrian shillings. The only difference between the cards were the expiration date--her's was in /01 and my date was /99. We now have take cards with both dates and have had no problems with either date in l999 trips.

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