Best way to manage cash in Italy

Apr 3rd, 2006, 09:16 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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OK, B&B explains it. However, I would be very sure I understand and have their cancellation policy. If something turns out badly, you don't want to be stuck there.
Dayle is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:59 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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I'm confused about the exchange rate. Why/How does it vary? If the current rate is $1.20/1 Euro isn't that what you get for your money everywhere? Obviously not. When you say that your credit card gives you a good rate, does that mean in addition to the difference they charge more? Any further explanation for me. I've never traveled out of the country.
modglila is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 12:48 PM
  #23  
 
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Iam also confused. I checked with a local company that issues Euro's. One thousand Euros would cost 1333. Plus 1%. If the going rate is 128 per 1E. It would cost me approx $100 to buy 1000 Euros. Is that out of line?? Thanks
pengwen is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 01:03 PM
  #24  
P_M
 
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modglila, the exchange rate you see in the paper or on a web page is sort of like a wholesale rate, then the party exchanging your money has the right to add on a commission. Banks and exchange facilities have the highest commissions, while ATMs and credit cards have the lowest.

pengwen, that is indeed a rip-off and you shouldn't accept that. But to answer your question about whether or not this is typical of how an exchange facility operates, yes it is, and that's why no smart traveler uses exchange facilities anymore. The smartest way to exchange money, as already mentioned, is to use your ATM card. I can't say that enough.

If you feel more comfortable to have euros in your pocket upon arrival, then buy just a few in advance, like less than $100 worth. But it really isn't necessary to do even that. You can get cash from the ATM at the airport upon arrival into Europe. Whatever you do, pengwen, do NOT buy 1,000 euros from home. It's an enormous waste.
P_M is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 01:23 PM
  #25  
 
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Recently for a trip out of the USA, I called Capital One to let them know where I would be for over a month. I was told I could use the card outside the USA for 28-days. Then I needed to make a collect call to Capital One to get more days. So thinking that I could get around that rule, I called and asked to have the 28-days start at a later date in my trip. That is not allowed. Also, the 28-days start the day you call Capital One. So if you call several day before leaving the country, the 28-days start that day not when you leave the country. Since making a collect call could have been a problem, I just used my credit union card after the 28-days.
Susan33 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 10:38 AM
  #26  
 
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P_M, thanks for the explanation on the exchange rates and additional charges. I'm going to ask a question that I know has been asked before, SORRY, but why is it better to use ATMs than Traveler's Cheques? My bank keeps recommending the checks and I didn't have the reason on the tip of my tongue.

I can see that the fee is higher because my bank charges $1.50 for $100 in checks where they only charge $2 for up to a $500 withdrawal at an ATM.

Please refresh my memory on this particular aspect. Thanks!
modglila is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 10:52 AM
  #27  
 
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Besides the higher fees you pay for using them, very few businesses in Europe accept traveler's checques. You'll almost always need to go to a bank during business hours to cash them. They're best used as an emergency reserve.
TimS is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 11:48 AM
  #28  
 
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Thanks! My bank insisted that EVERYONE accepts traveler's cheques.
modglila is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 11:57 AM
  #29  
 
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Not even all bank offices you find accept them..in small cities like the one I live, the branches send you to their central office at the city center to cash them or to do any operation related to foreign currency.
I had that happened it London 10 years ago to me. Haven't carried TC's anymore.
kenderina is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 11:59 AM
  #30  
 
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Caution! Be aware of credit card bill due date. My Visa notes a 30% interest rate! Base Euro rate now at 1.29. Euros will cost $1.35 or so. ATMs charge $1.50 (?) per transaction. Currency conversion charges are extra. I think AX Travellers Checks are best. Rates may be higher but their service is very good.
GSteed is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 12:01 PM
  #31  
 
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My ATM card charges me no transaction fee at all, but some banks do charge fees for ATM transactions. It's best to check around for the ATM card offfering the best deal.
ellenem is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 12:04 PM
  #32  
 
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I vote NO on TCs also. I remember cashing several of them to purchase train tickets in Rome, and the fee was a fortune! Never again!
Celiaanne is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 08:51 AM
  #33  
 
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A word of warning about BoA. Before we left for Rome I called customer service and they told me that I could use any Deutsche Bank in Italy without an ATM fee. When I got back, I noticed that they had charged me the $5 ATM fee anyways. I called and the first rep I talked to told me that the no fee rule only works if you are using a Deutsche Bank in Germany and she was sorry their rep gave me the wrong info. As she was transfering me to an department to file a complaint, the call disconnected and I called back. The second rep I talked to told me that I shouldn't have been charged that fee and immediately refunded my money. So it seems that their policy is not clear and if you keep calling you will eventually find a rep that agrees with you.
travelfunky is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 09:04 AM
  #34  
MaureenB
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While in Italy recently, we also had two little hotels which requested payment in cash, so I had your same concern. The only problem was remembering to have enough euros on hand to pay at checkout.
One day I withdrew a total of 800 EUR from two different ATM cards, at the same ATM, so that took care of paying one hotel.
My credit union, BellCo, did not assess any ATM fees. The standard Visa one percent was charged per transaction, but the exchange rate I got was so good, I think it was a wash.
I would make sure you don't pay ATM fees, as that is an unnecessary expense, even if it's small.
 
Jun 8th, 2006, 09:11 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Traveller's cheques: you pay to buy them (though could get deal thru AAA and others) you pay to cash them (even places that say "no fee" just make it up in the exchange rate), exchange rate won't be the best anyways, you need to find a bank that will exchange them (small towns may be a problem), you may have to line up (time wasted) so part of your holiday is wasted. Merchants most likely won't take them, hotels not likely, and if they do poor exhange rate again. Maybe a benefit I can see is if they are lost, but then how easy is it to get them replaced where you will be? Then you come home, and pay (unless you have a deal) to convert them back to cash.

ATM, withdrawal from checking or savings account(NOT credit card) is my recoomendation. And please don't take at face value that one card has no fees and the other 3%. The ONLY thing that matters is what is the final cost of you withdrawing that 100 euro. A bank could say "no fee" then ding you on the exchange rate, while the 3% bank may give you a better rate. Banks set their own exchange rates, what you see in the paper is the "wholesale rate" that you cannot get unless you are working with LARGE amounts (Trump).
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 09:22 AM
  #36  
 
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Just want to point out that there are (in the US) ATM cards that do not charge for withdrawals in Europe. And the exchange rate is very good. My card is from a credit union, and there has never been a charge. I understand there is no charge from some Capital One accounts. Likewise our Visa card from the same credit union charges only the standard 1%.
Mimar is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 03:05 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I like to get enough cash to last the entire trip before leaving home and then just go ahead and convert it all into Gelato upon arrival.
beaux is offline  

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