Best place/way to buy Euros in US?

Old Jun 24th, 2013, 04:04 AM
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Really amazed at some of the terrible advice on this thread!!!

Waiting until you get to the airport to get cash at the exchange desk is the WORST POSSIBLE THING you can do in terms of how much money you will lose. The exchange bureaus at the airports have the worst rates and the highest fees - often $10 fee PLUS 7-9% of the transaction PLUS a terrible exchange rate. You will lose so much money this way. Street currency exchange kiosks are similarly terrible. You'll lose a good 15-20% of your money going that way.

Getting cash from ATMs abroad is convenient and not terribly expensive (usually a $5 fee from the ATM plus $3-5 fee from your home bank plus a mediocre conversion rate), as long as you withdraw the max amount each time you use one so that you're not doing several transactions in one day. However relying entirely on ATMs is tricky, I've had a lot of friends who have come to visit me in France and have had a ton of trouble getting money from ATMs. Check with your bank - usually they have overseas partners that they waive fees for (for example BOFA is partnered with BNP, so BOFA customers won't get fees at BNP ATMs).

It's silly that people made fun of the OP or told him not to do it. Planning ahead is the best way to save money!! In my experience the cheapest way to get your Euros in advance is to call your local bank and purchase currency. For most banks there is no fee, but they do inflate the rate a couple of percentage points to make money. I use Moneycorp, which usually has amazing rates, free shipping, and no fees.

Moneycorp has a currency card which you can preload with various different currencies (and has no fees on ATMs or foreign transactions), then you can go straight to an ATM when you arrive and withdraw cash. You'll still pay whatever fee the ATM you use charges, but you'll get a really really good conversion rate and no bank fee.
stacyreeves is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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I traveled to former Iron Curtain countries 10 years ago without their wampum in my wallet and had no problems obtaining local dinero at ATMs.

Italy, for all its faults, is light years ahead of former Warsaw pact nations. You're not taking a "risk" by arriving with no Euros in your pocket.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2013, 06:57 AM
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Why Italy?
colduphere is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2013, 06:27 PM
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I don't think there is any way for an individual to go to a federal reserve bank and ask to exchange currency.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 06:50 AM
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Last summer, when I arrived at the FCO in Rome all the ATM machines were broken and I was forced to use the exchange service booth, where they charged an outrageous fee and lousy exchange rate for the euros I needed for a cab. Luck of the draw - most times the ATM's are likely to work but I had a terrible experience and would have been very happy to have some Euros beforehand. Also, in Italy the ATM machines will sometimes eat your card if you don't grab it immediately after it returns it.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 07:45 AM
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< Getting cash from ATMs abroad is convenient and not terribly expensive (usually a $5 fee from the ATM plus $3-5 fee from your home bank plus a mediocre conversion rate)...>

I've traveled in Europe quite a bit the last 20 years; and I've been relying on ATMs for cash since about 2000. Once or twice a machine didn't work, but I just moved on to another one. Maybe I've been awfully lucky, but so have a lot of other people.

In that time I've never had a European ATM charge me any transaction fee, not in the airport nor at any bank ATM. And my credit union doesn't charge a transaction fee on withdrawals abroad or at home. It does charge a conversion fee of 1% over the interbank rate. So no need to carry large amounts of cash. That's the great convenience of ATMs.

I'm wondering if stacyreeves' visitors neglected to tell their banks they would be traveling abroad. So foreign ATM withdrawal attempts would be flagged as likely fraud.
Mimar is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Having traveled to Europe (predominantly Italy, France, Spain) numerous times, I have never experienced an issue with getting Euros from an ATM. I have also never had the experience where a taxi driver wouldn't take US Dollars if that's all I had available. People should do what makes them comfortable, of course, but one pays a price (in terms of fees, exchange rate, etc.) for that comfort by exchanging USD here in the states or at airport exchanges.
nygvic0326 is online now  
Old Jul 10th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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I have to agree with staceyreeves-- some of the advice given above is simply horrendous!....some can be paraphrase as "hey, why are you worrying about arriving to a foreign country already completely dependent on mechanical machines for cash transactions? The exchange folks at the airports would NEVER figure that is the best time to "pork" you-- jetlagged, carrying bags, surrounded by other anxious travelers. Obviously prime conditions to worry about remembering a PIN, watching your bags, and be wide awake"

Go to AAA; if you are a Plus member you do not pay commission plus they will sell you the currency at the price they but it from the bank (usually they buy from Wells Fargo). Not a chance I would leave it to buying at the airport if I can get some in advance. Rookies mistake.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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"ATMs abroad is convenient and not terribly expensive (usually a $5 fee from the ATM plus $3-5 fee from your home bank plus a mediocre conversion rate)"

Rubbish. You get the interbank rate, plus whatever markup your bank charges - in my case (Capital One) 0%, or 1% with my Credit Union.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2013, 08:23 AM
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If you need some euros in your pocket to feel secure, go ahead and get them!

Local bank, or in worst case, exchange booth at airport before you go.

I like to arrive with at least cash to get to my lodging via taxi. Luckily for me I usually have a few leftovers from previous travel and agree that you might want to save some to have handy for your next trip.

I just tried to get a money corp card on line (great idea) as mentioned above but can't get it --will try again after work. Love the idea of a card pre-loaded with whatever currency (I'm going to get pounds and euros for next trip.)
annw is offline  
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