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Buying Euros: should we buy in USA in Europe

Buying Euros: should we buy in USA in Europe

Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:18 AM
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Buying Euros: should we buy in USA in Europe

We are going to Germany in September and I am a little unsure about where to get our money (US) exchanged into Euros. Should be get it here in U.S.A. before we go or wait until we get to Germany.

All suggestions and thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:26 AM
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Use your ATM debit card upon arrival.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:30 AM
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Don't get your euros in the U.S. You won't get the best rate that way. Don't buy at currency exchange stand at the airport, either.

Get your euros at a cash machine when you arrive in Germany. There will be cash machines at your destination airport.

Be sure to notify your bank that you will be in Europe. You will need a 4 digit (number) password.

My bank, Wells Fargo, charges $5.00 for a withdrawal in a foreign country, so I've had my daily limit raised to $500 to minimize costs. Other posters will probably suggest that a credit union account is a cheaper way to go.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:35 AM
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You should get maybe $100 or $200 in Euros in the United States. This way you will have cash for tips, cabs, a meal and you can look for the most adveantageous rate of exchange and not have to get them at the airport.

Ask your bank what are the fees it charges for exchanging money. Some credit card and banks companies will have fees for the exchange, others bury the charges in the actual rate of exchange. Some both.

I think it is always best to charge everything. The credit companies buy and sell huge amounts of money and usually have a good rate for those charges.

We opened an account with HSBC because it is a world bank but in Scotland they would not let change dollars for pounds because we did not have an account with HSBC UK. We could, however, use their ATM machines.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:35 AM
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Or, if you have someone that works at a bank, and a perk for them is they don't charge employees a fee...ask them to get you whatever you need. I found that very helpful when I had to pay for my apartment in cash...
I had gotten the "what if" syndrome that I couldn't get the 500E's I needed from an ATM ... or something happened to the card, blah blah blah. Chicken? Yep.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:03 AM
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The best rate of exchange is using the ATM, which will be available in the arrivals terminal at the airport. If you have a Bank of America account, you can use the Deutsche Bank ATMs in Germany without paying the usual $5/transaction fee for using a non-BofA ATM, but you will still be charged the International Transaction Fee/Foreign Currency Fee (1%-3%).

Exchanging cash, dollars for euros, will only result in a very poor exchange rate, even from your own bank.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:13 AM
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Don't neglect to inform your bank and credit card companies of your travel dates.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:19 AM
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Wait and get em when you arrive
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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No need to get Euros in the US - get them from an ATM at your arrival airport in Euroland (assuming you're flying to Germany and not flying to someplace outside the Eurozone and taking a train). Your local bank, if it has Euros, will whack you on the exchange rate.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:21 AM
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I think the best deal is from CCs that do not charge 2.5% F/X fees. I think Capital One is one of them in the US (in Canada it's Amazon Visa & Sears MC, both from Chase bank). Almost everyone takes CCs (public transit, shops, taxis, restaurants, museums, etc) so the need for cash is somewhat exaggerated. ATM charges fees ($5 with my bank) so withdrawing small amounts is costly and large - not necessarily practical.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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Re Sueciv's post - even w/o fees, most US banks will use a bad exchange rate so that usually won't save you anything.

You say 'we' so I'm assuming a couple. If so, and if you both have debitATM cards on the same account, you can each withdraw up to your daily maximum. Be sure hat your cards are connected to a checking account . Cash machines in Europe don't generally let you choose between accounts.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Take Big Al's advice, which I learned on my own the hard way. Get a small amount of foreign currency before you leave. In the unlikely but nerve-wracking event that your ATM card fails, you will have some funds on hand to get you through the first day or two, while you straighten things out long-distance with your bank at home. Look at the extra few dollars for a small advance purchase as insurance. Once you are on the ground with a card that is working, then you can use the card at ATMs for the rest of your journey. Then, save some foreign currency for the next trip.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 09:07 AM
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I'm strongly in the "wait until you get to the airport and use the ATM" camp. The chances of your ATM card not working in a German ATM are about the same as it not working in an American ATM--slim and none.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Do you have an AmEx ard? Are you close to one of their offices? They waive the fee of $10 and I get $100 just to have some euroson arrival.They also will exchange any paper euros you have when you return
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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I know it costs maybe an extra $5 or so. But after a flight, customs, etc, I just want to get to the hotel. After that I am as careful and frugal as the rest.

Another oddity can be something like Citibank. Citibank may have branches in that country but they may just be for commercial activity or for private clients and not have ATM's.

The first time I used an ATM for foreign currency was in 1993 in Hungary for florint. The florint was so bad at the time, no other industrialized country would buy florint. On the same trip the Poles were switching the old złoty to the new złoty. Sometimes we get a fistful of change and sometimes a lonely coin for a small purchase.

There is an apocryphal story about a currency exchange in NYC called Harold Reuter, that is now Forex. Supposedly Harold owned a newsstand in Times Square in the 1950's and would get all sorts of foreogn money from the hookers and give them dollars and that is how get started.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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I am one who gets cash from an ATM at the airport I land in. In approx. 30 trips to Europe I have never had a problem.
Just remember to call your bank and inform them you are leaving the country and they will make a note on your account where you will be.
I also always carry a small amount (200.00) in American dollars just in case something goes wrong but I always come home with it.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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Some ATM cards charge up to a three percent transaction fee plus an ATM fee. Since you can only withdraw a few hundred at a time you are effectively paying about a five percent commission.

Wells Fargo and some other banks will change money for you in advance for $5 plus five percent over the current spot price (with no bid-offer spread).

I personally have had bad luck with ATMs. and I don't like having to walk around and try two or three different machines until I find one that works. So I generally carry a good bit of cash converted pre-trip and put everything I can on my credit card.

If I already had a no-fee ATM card I might do things differently, but I don't wish to open a new account.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Those of you who have never experienced a problem with an ATM are lucky — so far. But that is no reason to give bad advice. I have known several people whose cards were swallowed or rejected by an ATM for one reason or another. At home, you can walk into the bank and either retrieve it or get a new card, plus get cash on the spot. Things are not so easy while traveling. I have had a card fail at the Vienna airport on a Sunday morning. Having listened to bad advice like some of the above, I had to scramble for funds until the bank at home opened the next morning, even though I had notified the bank beforehand. Another time, ATMs in Bavaria would not accept my credit union debit card because the card had expired and the cu was slow about mailing me its replacement. Be cocky if you want but don't warn people away from taking the simple precaution of getting a day's worth of foreign currency ahead of time. If you are wrong, they, not you, will suffer the consequences.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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We always get 100 euros from Chase here in the States -- gets you started until you find a working, safely located ATM that is attached to a bank and is open. Why risk card not being read, card being 'gobbled', people looking over newspaper at your code?? For the cost, it is simply NOT worth it.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 02:47 AM
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Thank you all for the advice. Will use the ATM for money.
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