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-   -   BEST EXCHANGE RATE (VISA VS CASH) (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/best-exchange-rate-visa-vs-cash-17507/)

Adrian Sep 28th, 1997 07:36 PM

BEST EXCHANGE RATE (VISA VS CASH)
 
Hi, I'm going to Europe in Feb 98. Would appreciate the following advise on the weather and the best form of currency exchange. I was wondering if I should use my Visa (is it widely recognised?) or should I just bring cash or travellers cheques. By the way, is it a good idea to change my money when I'm in Europe or should I change b'4 I go (I'm from Singapore). Also, will I get ripped off when I change money in Rome? If I have to change money, should I do it at the banks or money changer? I will be going to Rome, France, London and Lucerne. Thanks alot.

Adrian Sep 29th, 1997 06:27 AM

I've travelled throughout Europe this summer and I can honestly tell you that the best way to deal with money exchange is to have a credit card and/or a bank card with you. In the big cities, ATMs are widely available. You will have to check that your card is compatible with the systems used there - most common are Plus, Cirrus and Interac. I had traveller cheques but the problem with those is that you will be charged commision. Yes, I know you can get No Comission exchange at the AmEx office but when you're dragging your luggage around town, do you really want to try to find that office? Another thing you can do is make a deposit on your credit card before you leave. It is really easy to get cash advances from a CC and that way you will not have to deal with the steep interest charges.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions, just email me...
Adrian
[email protected]

Joyce Sep 29th, 1997 08:42 AM

Charge everything you can to your Visa card as it gives you the commercial, bank rate of exchabge. While you may find places, such as American Express, that advertise "No Commission" rest assured the rate of exchange which they are using is definitely slanted in their favor. Naturally, because that is their business. As far as getting cash advances on your credit card, that cost depends upon your particular issuer. Be sure to check their terms first. Many charge a minimum of anywhere up to $20 per transaction and/or a percentage of the amount you withdraw, plus interest. Fortunately, our CC issuer charges no transaction fee whatsover, but there is still a small interest charge, even though you may have deposited more into your account than you owed on your last statement. In our case, it is still advantageous to charge cash to the credit card than pay the exchange fees on travelers checks. For getting cash, your ATM is still far and away the best bet as there is only the minor transaction fee, usually $1, and that is charged at the commercial rate. Good luck.

Joyce Sep 29th, 1997 08:43 AM

Charge everything you can to your Visa card as it gives you the commercial, bank rate of exchabge. While you may find places, such as American Express, that advertise "No Commission" rest assured the rate of exchange which they are using is definitely slanted in their favor. Naturally, because that is their business. As far as getting cash advances on your credit card, that cost depends upon your particular issuer. Be sure to check their terms first. Many charge a minimum of anywhere up to $20 per transaction and/or a percentage of the amount you withdraw, plus interest. Fortunately, our CC issuer charges no transaction fee whatsover, but there is still a small interest charge, even though you may have deposited more into your account than you owed on your last statement. In our case, it is still advantageous to charge cash to the credit card than pay the exchange fees on travelers checks. For getting cash, your ATM is still far and away the best bet as there is only the minor transaction fee, usually $1, and that is charged at the commercial rate. Good luck.

Tricia Sep 29th, 1997 10:59 PM

Check out this website:www.soon.org.uk/brittinfo.htm. Has many different subjects but the one on money exchange has EXCEllent tips you could follow in any country.

Lili Oct 10th, 1997 05:36 AM

I just returned from a 3-week tour of Portugal, and I agree with the above responses. Take an ATM card and a Visa or AmEx card. Visa was widely accepted even in small villages IN BUSINESSES THAT ACCEPTED CREDIT CARDS. Places where I needed cash were: small artesan shops, small restaurants and bars, independent guest-houses, craft fairs, grocery stores, and some gas stations. I.e., places you don't want to miss. But even the small villages in Portugal had banks with ATM windows that were connected to the major ATM card networks. My companion used travelers checks--there were only a handful of AmEx offices in the country, and the day you need money may not be the day you can be near one. The banks gave a reasonable exchange rate, but their fee for handling the travelers checks was about $25! The card method was simpler and cheaper for us.


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