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Buying w Euro vs Travelers Checks vs Credit cards

Buying w Euro vs Travelers Checks vs Credit cards

Old Aug 25th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Buying w Euro vs Travelers Checks vs Credit cards

Hello. We are headed to Greece (Crete, Santorini, then Athens) for first time.
Hoping to get some recommendations on best way to pay for things while there. Trying to decide if I should grab euros from bank before we go, get travelers checks or put it all on credit cards. What do you suggest for tipping and when? Thanks!
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 09:46 AM
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This comes up all the time. The simple answers are:
1. Use your CC to pay when you can
2. Get your local cash from ATMs
3. Forget TC---obsolete years ago
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Most places wil NOT take CCs at all. and even some banks won;t cash them unless you are a customer. They are essentially useless.

Use CC when yuo can and pull waking around money from your checking acount with a debit cardat the nearest ATM.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 09:55 AM
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1. euro using debit card at ATM machine after you arrive
2. USD cash to exchange as a back-up plan
3. charge card for major purchases and as accepted
4. TC only maybe possibly for emergency use
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 10:02 AM
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Thanks so much- headed to my bank now to find out any hidden fees that can be charged.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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Don't forget to check into your daily limit and change that if need be if you are anticipating large purchases or a hotel bill that you'll be needing a larger sum for. It's nigh impossible to change this once you're out of country.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 10:11 AM
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If you get a Capital One credit card, you will not be charged for foreign transaction fees.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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I was in Greece last September.

Definitely do not take travelers' checks; I don't know of anyone who uses them anymore.

The only US dollars I took were the ones I would need when I returned to the US (i.e. not a large amount). I have never changed money since I got my ATM card years ago.

I used my ATM card to get euros when I needed them and never had trouble finding an ATM. The foreign ATMs should not charge a fee. My bank does not charge me a fee either, so all my transactions were "free." Also, many places will give you a discounted/lower price on an item if you pay cash. Sometimes they will announce this (via sign, etc.) or you can just ask (which works too).

I opened a second checking account at my bank so I could get an additional ATM card. I transferred enough money into that account so I would be covered if something happened to my primary ATM card. Once I returned home I transferred the money back to savings, but kept the extra account open (no fees or minimum balance) for the next trip.

Don't forget to alert your bank and credit card company of your travel dates.

I used my Capital One credit card a few times for larger purchases in larger shops. They don't charge a transaction fee either.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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Check with your local credit union. I pay a 1% transaction fee on credit card purchases and maybe the same for ATM withdrawals with the debit card. I use my credit union checking account for overseas withdrawals exclusively, reducing it to $0 when I return.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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DH and I always buy some Euros from AAA before we go. It isn't a savings but a convenience so we can get the heck out of the airport and have cab fare right without using the airport ATM.

Yes, forget travellers' checks. (Some years ago, when the Euro became official and trav checks were still in use, we bought TC's in euros. The Italian bank we tried to cash them in actually called the US to figure our what to do with them!)
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 06:16 AM
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 06:43 AM
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I understand what everybody is saying about TCs, but are TCs in euros accepted any better in Europe than TCs in dollars?
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 06:48 AM
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Few merchants have any interest in accepting TCs anymore.

And the TCs *WILL* cost you money even if you get them 'free'. The checks themselves may be free but you will likely get a worse exchange rate buying them in euros than you would at an ATM...
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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I haven't seen anyone use travellers cheques for years. They've never been used the way they are in the US...
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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When we were in Greece in 2008, many ATM only allowed us to withdraw about $250 euro max per transaction, even though we had increased our daily withdraw limit with Bank of America to $1000.

After my return from the trip I called Bank of America, and the rep told me that BOA had increased my daily withdraw to US $1000, so she did not understand why there was still a limitation lower than $1000. May be the limitation was set by Greek banks on foreign ATM cards? So beware of that possibility, and bring at least two different bank ATM cards in case you need large amount of cash.
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 07:37 AM
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Reading54,

Yes, there may have been a limit per transaction but all you needed to do was remove your card and do another transaction! I have done this in Greece and France. I don't know if you'll eventually hit a limit but if you do there's always another ATM within a few feet these days!
;^)
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 07:37 AM
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Reading54, Each ATM has a transaction limit, often about 250 Euro. If you need more, just do another withdrawal at the same ATM. It will work.

In the US, merchants cannot offer a discount for using cash instead of a credit card. In the EEC, they can, so you can often get a better price by paying with Euro. I had a hotel offer me a 15% discount for paying cash; I almost killed myself rushing to the nearest ATM and doing five withdrawals (because of the machine's transaction limit).
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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>In the US, merchants cannot offer a discount for using cash instead of a credit card. In the EEC, they can,

No, they cannot, actually.

>so you can often get a better price by paying with Euro. I had a hotel offer me a 15% discount for paying cash;

Great, so you allowed them to avoid paying taxes. Well done.
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Old Aug 27th, 2010, 06:09 AM
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Altamiro,

Why can't EEC merchants offer a discount for cash?

And if using cash is solely a tax avoidance scheme, why is it legal everywhere?
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Old Aug 27th, 2010, 06:30 AM
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tom18,
Why are you thinking of taking TCs?
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