Buying Euros

Jul 4th, 2010, 07:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 59
Buying Euros

Hi Everyone,
We're new to the Euro system, but we're Bank of America customers so we have lots of options for getting some. Do you recommend:
A) Buying Euros from our bank
B) Buying TRAVELERS CHECKS (in Euro denominations) from our bank and converting them to cash in Italy (our destination)
C) Some combination of the above
D) Something completely different

(We'll also be bringing our VISA and Master Card)
2Aquilas is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,705
Bring your Bof A debit card and get them in Italy. Unfortunately BofA does not have a partner bank in Italy so you will pay a small fee. I always have some leftovers but frequently buy more at the bank. They charge just a few cents over the bank rate and it's worth it to me not to have to look for an ATM first thing. Whatever you do , DO NOT buy traveler's checks, they are useless
avalon is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,657
Use your BofA ATM card to withdraw money. If you are not happy over the idea of a $5 every time you do it, establish a travel account with a financial institution that does not charge this fee. We use our local credit union for such purposes.
Michael is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,910
"D) Something completely different"

The other three are very bad ideas. Especially the travelers cheques - nearly useless and even many banks won't take them.

BofA has a fairly high ATM fee (Italian banks won't charge you at their end). But even at $5 per transaction, using your ATM/debit card is by far the cheapest option.

Opening another acct like Michael suggests is a good option, but if you don't want to bother w/ that -- the $20 or $30 you'll pay in BofA ATM charges is pretty small in the scope of things.
janisj is online now  
Jul 4th, 2010, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Do NOT buy any euros.

Pay for as much as you can with your credit cards. Ue your debit card to pull cash for walking around money from the handy ATM with your debit card. Doing this will cost you 2 to 3% of your money.

Changing cash or using Travs Checks (IF you can find anyone to take or change them- very difficult) will cost you 8 to 10% of your money.

If you want to arrive with a few euros change $150 or so at the bureau de change at your departing airport - the rate will be awful but on so little it really doesn;t matter.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,830
You can get euros from ATMs at the airport as soon as you arrive, too -- the rate will be a little higher than in town, but you at least have a little cash to get you started.

Be sure to tell your bank you are going to Italy during such and such dates. Otherwise they may freeze your account thinking your card has been stolen. Also find out what the daily maximum withdrawal and the maximum per transaction are.
charnees is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
And be aware 2Acquilas the ATM's in Italy have a maximum withdrawal of 250euro per transaction regardless of what your BoA maximum withdrawal is. You probably won't but if you need more than 250euro at one time just go to another ATM.

Be aware that if you use the Italian banks ATM's you will not have a service fee from that end. But it you use a nonbank ATM you no doubt will be charged a service fee. I am talking about a service fee originating from the ATM in Italy not a service fee from BofA.

I and a lot of Fodorite's like to use the banks ATMS during the hours the bank is opened just in case there is a problem you will be able to get some assistance.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,705
"If you want to arrive with a few euros change $150 or so at the bureau de change at your departing airport - the rate will be awful but on so little it really doesn;t matter"

The rate will be better at your local BofA. I paid 4 cents over for each euro a month ago. So big deal, I spent $4.00 for 100 Euro. I sopend more than that for a coffee at Starbucks. And I don't have to mess around at airports!
avalon is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,093
Get a Capital One on-line money market savings account. Use your atm card to get cash anywhere in the world, you get the best foreign exchange rates, no atm fees, no 3% foreign transaction fees, interest paid to you each month, accepted worldwide, no hassles, no brainer.

Also get a Capital One credit card. No 3% foreign transaction fees, no annual fees, another no brainer.

Larry J
LarryJ is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
Credit cards and ATMs aside, if you want to change cash, it's always better not to do so at your home bank, but in the country where you're traveling to. Rates are quite always better (unless you are from Iran or Bangla Desh or Burundi or any other country whose currency isn't really in high demand world-wide). So bring your US-Dollars (cash) to Italy and change there - every European bank will be happy to stock up their Dollar reserves. Of course, you'll pay a 4 percent fee, but fees are not the only cost factor that matters - the exchange rate they give you is equally important. So if they want the currency you are holding, the rate is going to be better. (It may also be worth comparing to debit card/ATM rates; fees are usually smaller there, but exchange rates are sometimes awful.)
franco is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,155
Just to clear up some misinformation. The exchange rate at an airport bancomat will be the same as downtown bancomats, just a little more than the interbank rate. It will be the best rate you can get. The transaction limit at bancomats can be different just like in the U.S. Sometimes it is 250 euro sometimes 500 euro sometimes something inbetween.

All the fees come from your home bank. If you want lower fees shop for a better bank. See

Henry is offline  

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