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Buying Euros in the US vs ATM on the first morning

Buying Euros in the US vs ATM on the first morning

Feb 24th, 2010, 09:56 AM
  #1  
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Buying Euros in the US vs ATM on the first morning

This question might seem really stupid but sometimes it's just good to get an outside perspective.

We are flying into Rome on the morning of April 1. From FCO we are being picked up by a driver and taken to our rental flat. Both the driver and the apartment owner need to be paid in cash right away. This means we either need to hit an ATM in the airport or exchange currency here before we leave--just enough to cover those expenses and maybe a little extra. My question: is it reasonable to plan to go to the ATM in the airport, or should I just do it here ahead of time? It can be kind of a pain to do a currency exchange through the bank in the US, on the other hand I can see being relieved to have it done....and not have to look for an ATM in the airport while juggling luggage and three preschoolers (yes).

Any constructive thoughts would be great, thanks!

ET
etonmymind is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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I find the rates & fees to exchange in the U.S. to be quite undesirable. The airport ATM should be no problem for you (although if you must pay for a long apartment stay then you need to consider your daily ATM maximum).

IF, by some strange turn of fate, all of the ATM's are struck down when you visit then you can always get your minimum amount of cash from the more-expensive currency exchange booths in the airport. Although they're expensive, they're no worse than what you'd experience getting the currency here in the USA. At the very worst, you can ask your driver to stop by an ATM on the way to your destination.
alan64 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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Ask your bank what your limits are on ATM transactions and daily and weekly limits. If your daily limit is less than the amount that you need, then you can't get it from the ATM. Your bank may be willing to increase your limits so that you can get enough cash from the ATM.

Looking for an ATM isn't that hard, juggling the kids and luggage might be. My suggestion would be to duct tape the kids to the luggage but I'm sure most people wouldn't agree with me!
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:13 AM
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There are a lot of ATM's in Italy ans especially Rome. I agree with Alan ask the driver to stop on your way to your flat and save on the exchange rates in the US.
HarryS is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Click http://www.romeairportshoppingallery...php?method=map
then click services, then click bancomats. The location of the ATMs will flash.

It may be easier to have your driver stop at an ATM.

Henry
Henry is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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Also consider a backup plan if your debit/ATM card does not work. Carry multiple debit cards from different banks.

I called one bank to allow oversea ATM transactions. What did they do? The bank marked the card as lost or stolen and completely disabled it. Thank goodness for the backup debit cards.
greg is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:50 AM
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Another idea to consider - if you have a layover at another European airport before arrival in Rome, you can use the time (assuming you're not rushing to catch your Rome flight) to get euros from an ATM there. That's what we did during our layovers at both CDG and Frankfurt on separate trips. Then we were ready to just hit the road running once we got to our final destination.
hazel1 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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A lot depends on your bank and the availability of a foreign currency desk. I have several Bank of America accounts and am an Advantage member. I pay 2 cents over the current exchange rate. I bought 200 GBP last week and it cost me a whole 4 dollars extra. Beats looking for an airport ATM, waiting on line, and maybe having the ATM broken or out of funds, and yes that does happen
avalon is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:18 AM
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"Ask your bank what your limits are on ATM transactions and daily and weekly limits. If your daily limit is less than the amount that you need, then you can't get it from the ATM. Your bank may be willing to increase your limits so that you can get enough cash from the ATM."

I've never had a bank or credit union refuse to raise my daily limit - just about every trip since the arrival day often has extra expenses.

If it makes you feel better - get a couple hundred € at your departure airport from the bureau de change -- you'll pay more per € but probably no more than you'd pay pre-ordering from your bank.

Then get the remainder from ATM(s) in Rome. BTW - check w/ your bank to be make sure but normally, if husband and wife have ATM cards for the same checking account, each can withdraw up to the full daily limit.
janisj is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:38 AM
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There are numerous ATM's at the FCO airport-some right across from baggage claim. If you miss those there are BANCOMATS scattered down the hallways before you go out to the car area for pickup. DON'T waste you time and money getting Euros before you leave.
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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If you are worried about it, then by all means take care of the transaction here in the US at your bank and chalk up the bit of added expense to a peace of mind fee. Just make sure you stow the cash in your money belt and not in your luggage ooryour purse.

You will have you cash needs covered when you arrive. On your way to get to the car if you have time use an ATM to get cash to pay the driver.

As others have noted, make sure to alert your bank and your credit card issuers of your overseas plans so they won't freeze your accounts for possible fraudulent transactions as the foreign charges come in. In addtion, it's always a good idea to have the non-tollfree numbers for them with you in case of problems.
notbob is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:59 AM
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>>DON'T waste you time and money getting Euros before you leave.<<

I totally agree. That's how I do it. It is just that some are too nervous leaving it til they arrive. For those -- just buying some cash (not too much) in the airport departure lounge is better than ordering from a bank. And w/ all the advance check in requirements, most travelers have plenty of time to kill in departures, so they can use part of it buying €
janisj is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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You need to know your daily withdrawl limit for the ATM from *your own home bank*. While it is the most cost-effective way to get money in Europe, you might not be able to withdraw enough in 1 day to cover the expenses you mention.
suze is online now  
Feb 25th, 2010, 09:27 AM
  #14  
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thanks for your input, everyone!! I am already aware of our CU's ATM limits and that they will raise them, so I think we're going to do that and go with the ATM once in Rome. Again, thanks! You're the best. ET
etonmymind is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 12:07 PM
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The place that is issuing our debit card said that the ATMs also may have lower limits than the bank that issued you your debit card. That can be the reason you can't withdraw as much as you plan or need to, so increasing your limit with the place that issued your card might not help. Just another thing to consider. May have to go to several ATMs of different banks to get the funds you need if you are withdrawing a significant amount (at least that's what our issuing banks says).
HImom is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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Yes, the ATM's have a limit in Italy for each withdrawal regardless of what your bank's limit is. So as HImom said you may or perhaps probably will have to use additional ATM's.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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If the ATM has a per-transaction limit (E 300 is typical) you'll need to do repeated transactions to get more but often it is possible to do so at the same machine. Also remember that two people probably each have ATM cards, so use both/all cards twice before looking for another machine.
kayd is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 01:06 PM
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Just a suggestion for the future: We always leave Europe with 400E to bring home. We keep them until our next trip so we start off not needing anything. Yes, you are taking a chance the Euro with go down but it's a lot easier than running to find an ATM. Ok, we go a couple of times a year, but it's still a good idea even if you go every couple of years. As much as I wish Italy had stayed with the Lira, the Euro is really convenient going country to country.
Ann1 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 01:14 PM
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Sometimes the ATM is per card. Many times my husband had to use his card and I had to use mine at the same time. We aslo have two separate banks so I put enough in each checking account in case one car doesn't work. I don't know if this was mentioned before but make sure your money is in the checking account. You don't have a choice of accounts to take money out of.
Ann1 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 02:11 PM
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Our issuing bank said that H will have a different debit card number but draw from the same checking account and there is a higher daily limit that I imagine we'll need on the account. He says we can each use the card up to the daily limit. I forget whether we each have the daily limit or its the joint limit, but since the amount is so high, it's moot.
HImom is offline  

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