buying euro before leaving

Feb 9th, 2007, 05:55 PM
Original Poster
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buying euro before leaving

I have heard some suggestions on getting some euros before you leave home so you will have some when you get there. The problem I am having is I can not find a place to get them. Where do I go? I have called several of my banks and none them do it.

hamanchad is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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You can get them at the international airport at kiosks before you leave, AAA, American Express are some sources, some banks too, but you will pay dearly for them. Best is to use an ATM upon arrival with your credit or debit card.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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you can buy foreign currency for many countries as well as prepaid cards and travelers checks. One piece of advice. When you come back, either convert everything back to U.S. dollars before you come back or don't bring back coins. American Express will exchange back paper money, but not coins.
oxburger is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:04 PM
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There are people like you (and me!) who want to have at least some euro cash prior to arrival overseas and are willing to pay an extra fee to do so, and others who swear by going to the first ATM in the European arrival airport. I think it's about what your stress level is comfortable with! I bank with Wells Fargo and they offer this "service", with a fee of course. The money is delivered to your home or business or you can pick it up. If you have absolutely no luck where you live, you can always use one of the exchange booths in the airport the day of your trip- bearing the fees in mind!
sglass is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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To each his or her own....

I have never bothered with getting euro or any other currency before leaving...of course at this point in my life I always have some euro and some sterling left with me; besides which my first stop is usually London or Paris but have started European trips in both Frankfurt and each case using public transportation into the center is no problem even without local currency as they all take credit cards...but that's me.

My opinion is still the same...why knock yourself out looking for places to be ripped off with higher fees...true the higher fees in context of the money spent on a trip are miniscule but there's, as you noted, the finding of places to do it (Chase offers a service on the internet and they will send you the currency off your credit card but the exchange rate is just plain downright lousy.

You have to wait for your baggage anyway finding a working ATM will generally not be a problem and if worst comes to worst and either the queue is too long at the ATM or it is not working, saunter over to the exchange booth in Europe, you will get a better rate than in the USA anyway and change a small amount to tide you over.

Although, if you're like me, you will find in many places the need for much local cash is miniscule...I spent two weeks in London and Paris a couple of weeks ago and in that tiem, one €50 withdrawal was enough to tide me over as almost everybody (metro statons, small bistros, hotel, sightseeing places) take credit cards...spent the cash on things such as internet cafes, snacks and whatever and the same was true in London...hardly needed cash at all (except for a pint or two at pubs, internet cafes and a few but not all convenience stores) everything else (local transportation, meals at moderate restaurants although some pret a manger's take credit cards, theatre tickets) take credit cards.
xyz123 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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I am another one of those people who would like to have some local currency in hand when I arrive. I solved the problem of where to get European currency years ago by not changing my money back at the end of the trip. I bring some home with me. That way I don't take a hit when I change it back to dollars and another one in a few years when I buy Euro again. I started when the Euro was $0.86, so my investment has grown well.

Wells Fargo has the best exchange rate I know of, averages 5% above the interbank rate. Here in Colorado, the downtown main bank in major cities (Denver, Co. Springs, Boulder) carries foreign currency; you can pick it up there for just the exchange rate.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:44 PM
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if you want to have some cash on hand just for your personal comfort level - quit searching and simply exchange a few $ at your departure airport's bureau de Change. The rate won't be terrific (but likely better than you'd get from your home town bank) but at least you'll have some euro in your pocket.

I personally don't bother - but just waiting until after check in at the airport would be my choice if I was so inclined.
janisj is online now  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:48 PM
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I live in Las Vegas and bank at Wells Fargo. All I had to do was click on their website and the money arrived 2 days later. I think you can still use them even if you're not a customer. You do have to be home to sign for the money when it arrives.
blondiepopo is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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I just went to the Wells Fargo website. Click on individual banking and you'll see international/specialized banking and foreign currency is listed under there. The exchange rate for Euros was $1 = 1.36 Euros. The market that day was $1 = 1.30 Euros so I paid a little extra but for me to arrive in a foreign country after no sleep all night and have their currency it's worth it. This way you don't have to worry about broken ATM's or standing in line to get money.
blondiepopo is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 09:37 PM
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If a credit card is used at an ATM does that not constitute a cash advance with big interest and service charges??

As for fearing to arrive without local currency, it all depends on where you are arriving. If Munich or Zürich or London(Gatwick) I would not worry.
If elsewhere, I would need either very good advice from someone who knows the airport well or a few euro in my pocket.

Living in a college town, I can usually find a foreign student who is willing to exchange a few euro at the wholesale bank rate. That way we both profit.
The student gets a better deal and so do I.

I know one year I got lucky and was able to obtain €300 that way.
bob_brown is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 02:57 AM
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Thanks to everyone. I think I will do the Wells Fargo thing for a small amount. Thanks again
hamanchad is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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My son-in-law works in currency exchange in a major bank. He works with clients making million dollar transactions around the world based on the currency rates of the day. He makes fun of me for worrying about small fees etc., but I am not happy that Wells Fargo is going to be charging me $5 each time I use an ATM in Europe! I have some time before my trip, so I'm going to check other banks and my cu to get an account somewhere else. From what I've read, Bank of America seems to be a favorite of people on this forum. Some say no fee; some say $1-3 fee.
Brockbank is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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No fee ATMs and no/low fee CCs!
I use USAA.
Most US Bank fees are rediculous.
M (SMdA, Gto.)
mikemo is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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No, BofA really isn't a favorite. It also charges $5 per transaction. But it does have partner banks in some countries (Barclay's in the UK, Deutschebank in Germany, etc) where they waive the fee. So it sort of depends on where you are going.

My small regional bank charges me $1.50, my credit union doesn't charge a fee. Shop around - many banks are in the $1-$2 range.
janisj is online now  
Feb 13th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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I don't care for the $5 transaction fee the WF charges either, but I have decided not to worry about it. On a 2 week trip last summer, the fees ended up being about $20 - and although I would have liked to have kept my $20, in the grand scheme of things I decided it wasn't worth worrying about.
J_Correa is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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We're going to be mostly in London and Paris. There are Barclay Banks all over the UK (ten within 0.5 miles of our hotel), but I'm having a hard time finding the locations of BNP Paribas in Paris. I know they're there; I just can't figure out how to locate them on their website. Are ATM known as something else in France??
Brockbank is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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BNP Parabis are about as frequent in paris and elsewhere in France as the Barclay's in London! I seem to see one every few blocks. Don't know where you are staying but there is one right across from the St germain de Pres metro stop.
jody is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Nevermind. Just found it, GAB
Brockbank is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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We're staying in an apartment on rue de Beaune, near rue du Bac metro. Thanks for the information.
Brockbank is offline  

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