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Buying Euros: should we buy in USA in Europe

Buying Euros: should we buy in USA in Europe

Old Aug 6th, 2013, 02:47 PM
  #21  
 
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We got some at our Wells Fargo here and were not charged any extra fees. I would take at least 100 to cover your initial cab fees and food until you find a bank. I was glad that I did not have to worry about that when I first arrived after so much plane travels. Just remember that Wells Fargo will only exchange bills when you return, so don't have too many 2 euro coins in your pocket your last day.
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 03:06 PM
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>>We got some at our Wells Fargo here and were not charged any extra fees. <<

They didn't charge you 'fees' but got their $$ from the lousy exchange rate.

>>Just remember that Wells Fargo will only exchange bills when you return, so don't have too many 2 euro coins in your pocket your last day.<<

Even IF one decides to buy foreign currency at home, NEVER <RED><B>EVER</B></RED> sell currency back to the bank. Did you not notice that their buy/sell rates were very different? Your foreign € cost you a bit extra, but using € to get $ back home means you lost double.
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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I am of the camp of "get it when you get there;" to say that I have never had a problem would be inaccurate. Once (in Bulgaria) I went to a bank with a line-up of ATMs, and the one I tried didn't work. I found out that some of them were for locals and others for international users. Once I figured that out, had no problems, and don't recall that ever happening again.

The advice to notify your bank is a good one, but a couple of years ago, I learned another lesson the hard way. Assuming you talk to a live person and tell then when and where you are going, ask them to read it back to you. My bank transposed some digits one time and I had maximum trouble getting my ATM transactions authorized. Since then, I always ask the person taking my call to read back to me what I told them, and one other time, there was an error, but because I verified what I had told them, I was able to clear it up before I left.

Also, this may seem obvious, but I had one other "embarrassment" perhaps worth mentioning. We were laying over in Dusseldorf on our way to Venice; I had not told the credit card company about Germany being on our itinerary, as I didn't intend to do any transactions (I always bring unspent Euros home for the next trip), but I decided to log on to the airport wi-fi and that triggered a fraud alert. They called our house to notify me (in spite of my giving my cell phone #) and the house sitter notified me and I was able to get it straightened out. I suppose the best advice is to take nothing for granted.
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 04:18 PM
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pctraveler: I can beat that. I called, I told them the dates I'd be in the UK - 'Yes maam - noted on your file'

Unfortunately I neglected to inform them that Scotland is part of the UK. I kid you not. And they called me (NINE times) at home and when they couldn't reach me they froze my account and I had to have a super secret code to access it. And the ONLY place the super secret access code was available . . was on my answering machine at home.

Apparently knowing geography is not necessary for bank fraud departments.
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 05:07 PM
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. . . But I had no problems on the trip - I always carry for back up ATM card(s) on a different account.
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 05:38 PM
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>>They didn't charge you 'fees' but got their $$ from the lousy exchange rate.<<<

Last week we did a wire transfer from the BofA to Credit Agricole (France). They charged is an exchange rate of 1.3784 which was 4% above the exchange rate displayed on Yahoo for that date. If I get cash in Europe using my Morgan Stanley card, they charge me a 3% conversion fee. Three weeks ago we were in France and paid for dinner using our Cap One credit card, and Cap One charged us essentially a zero percent conversion fee compared to the yahoo rate on that date.

We always carry at least 300 euros in our pocket when going to Europe - which we do twice a year (3 times this year).

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 05:54 PM
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OK--I have stopped informing my bank. SHOCK!!! I just carry my regular check cashing ATM card (no Visa or MC affiliate) as a backup because they do not CARE where I am. Seriously. France ATMs do not charge fees, so whatever I take out (and with my regular ATM card, my allowance seems to be a zillion where in the US it is like $350) is practically free of charges. NO PROBLEMS REPORTED except for one machine in Rome (down for the count) and one machine in Prague (down for the count). Machines one block down in each city were just dandy.

BUT! This ATM card is not my "go to". I use a Schwab debit, which I can reduce to a 1-penny limit if someone were to steal it for charging things and two Capital One backup debit and ATM cards. Either no fees or reimbursement fees. THESE I MUST NOTIFY.

I carry an Andrews credit card (chip) for automated things (just in case), and of course, I carry Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One credit cards because there are no foreign transaction fees with these.

WE DO almost always take around $100 Euros in case to cover taxi into city, but once we didn't, and the taxi driver took us to an ATM along the way. Worked well.
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