Cash vs ATM

May 14th, 2007, 10:02 PM
  #1  
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Cash vs ATM

Aside from the obvious security reasons, are there others reasons not to bring cash on Euro trip? It seems using ATM even with max withdrawl, the fees will add up. Is there a disadvantage in exchanging cash vs ATM with? Are there limits on cash at customs? Just some burning questions,

thereyet
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May 14th, 2007, 10:05 PM
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"Is there a disadvantage in exchanging cash vs ATM"

Yes - several
1) security
2) exchanging cash for € will get you a much worse exchange rate than using an ATM
3) European banks don't charge a fee to use their machines.

all in all - it is MUCH better to use an ATM card

(I'm surprised at you You've posted so many threads asking questions about your trip - a quick search would have turned up MANY threads w/ this exact info)
janisj is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 10:18 PM
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janis, I read alot about travelers checks, cc's, ATM's, but didn't see so much info about cash. It does seem intuitive that cash would be too easy to lose but didn't know that about poor exchange rates. No fees are charged by the banks for ATM use? I can't even go accross town to another bank and not get hit by 2 fees, one on either end. Then I have gathered some charge "conversion fees" on top of the service fee. The bank I use WAMU is listed as one of the better ones but have not yet looked into whether they have a European affiliate. Getting around to that soon when I notify them of my travel destinations and dates. From reading all the posts one getes the impression they WILL get you comming and going. Grin and bare it I guess!

thereyet
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May 14th, 2007, 10:37 PM
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Ok, I found a good, short thread that pretty much explains it given all the variables.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34990149

I still can't help the feeling that I am going to have to learn the hard way somewhere along the line.

thereyet
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May 15th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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I opened a free checking acct at Compass Bank - they do not charge any ATM fees, ever. I put my vacation savings in this account and access it by making ATM withdrawals with the Debit card - the exchange rate is the best you can get anywhere and there is a 1% Visa conversion fee added.
Travelnut is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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DH and I always get Euros at the bank before we leave for Europe. When we run out, we go to an ATM. We've done this for all the trips we've done in the past 5 years and it has worked out very well.
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May 15th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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" . . . and it has worked out very well."

It has worked especially well for your bank. They thank you, I'm sure.
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May 15th, 2007, 04:46 PM
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If your bank is charging you for using other ATMS you have a GREEDY bank - and should change to one that doesn;t do that. Theowner of the ATM will of course charge something for the use of their equipement - in the US. In Europe commercial ATMS (in stores, hotels etc) may charge a fee - but is usually minimal ($1 or so).

So - you can pay a fee of $1 to $2 and and 1 or 2% fee and get the interbank rate of exchange via ATM. Or you can change cash - no fee - but usually 7 to 10% worse than the interbank exchange rate. Never mind the risk of carrying all that cash.

There is no way to change currencies for free unless you're changing millions of dollars - and the bank really needs your other business.
nytraveler is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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The ONLY place I ever pay a fee to an ATM machine to get cash is here in the States. So no, you will not be hit up for fees at a European ATM machine, as long as it's one tied to a bank.
StCirq is online now  
May 15th, 2007, 05:11 PM
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make sure your bank doesnt charge a fee
primobacio14204 is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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i meant to say make sure your bank doesnt charge a fee, like a foreign transaction fee, like some credit cards do, or an exchange rate fee, or a fee to use a different machine. its ridiculous but it happens
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May 15th, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Definately use your debit card to withdraw cash at the bank machines in Europe. I'm in Canada, and yes my bank dings me for the foriegn transaction, but I'd get dinged (probably for more) regardless if I exchanged cash or used travelers cheques.

Besides, you don't want to have to worry about losing a big wad of cash.
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May 15th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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In Edinburgh a couple of years ago, we couldn't find a bank that would take our US $'s and exchange them for Pounds unless we were a customer of their bank! If you use a currency exchange kiosk, you get lousy rates, so it's best to go with your ATM card. My bank charged me $3 per transaction so I would get several hundred Euro or Pounds at a time.
bettyk is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 06:34 PM
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Getting euro notes in the US usually results in a 5% mark up over the wholesale rate.

The bank makes a profit on those kinds of transactions.

bob_brown is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 10:41 PM
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I suck at math which is one of the reasons I asked the question. No, I don't want to spend 7-10% converting cash on foriegn soil and I get that changing money before the trip is doing the bank a favor. Thanks Janis. I understand that airports do not offer good exchange rates. Bank ATM's, which don't charge transaction fees have better conversion rates but still aren't free because they have to make money somehow.
Question: It seems intuitive that I will need some local currency very shortly after I arrive. Do I eat the unfavorable exchange rate at the airport upon arrival with my banks fees and 1-3 points? Or do I get cash stateside (small amount) with the 7-10% unfavorable exchange rate and no other bank fee for foriegn ATM use?
Still freaking confused,

thereyet

ps As an example could someone use a $100.00 figure so that my thick brain could wrap around something?
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May 15th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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lordy thereyet....use your ATM card and dont sweat the small stuff! you are making a mountain out of a molehill here. you sound as if someone named Guido is gonna appear and brake your legs if you use an ATM especially at the airport.
you do NOT want to lug around alot of cash on hand which is just begging the pickpockets, thieves etc. to flock to you like bees to honey.
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May 16th, 2007, 12:05 AM
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If it puts your mind at ease, get a small amount of £ (you are going to the UK?) at your bank before departure. It will be worth the extra cost so you don't worry about it all the way across the Atlantic. ;-)

The airport ATMs are tied to banks, (Barcays, etc), and give you the same rate as ATMs in their own premises.
Heimdall is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 02:18 AM
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Large sums of cash are required to be declared by some countries. Tourists need to understand that currency conversions are simply another trip expense. Debit/check card conversion rates are usually 1%. The conversion rate will be the sell rate. There is usually an ATM use fee. Every large city has venues to change dollars for local currency.
GSteed is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 03:22 AM
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I boarded my last flight to Europe with only $4 USD in my pocket. Alcohol was free on British Airways in Economy. When I got to the ATM at the airport, I got Euros.

You can't beat using cash in a pub in Europe, but for larger expenses, use a credit card.

I bring to Europe two debit cards and place them in different areas when packing.

wally34949 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 09:51 PM
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Just a funny follow-up to one of my earliest posts....

I didn't take any cash on this trip, took only plastic. My ATM card NEVER worked while in Europe, despite having notified my bank of the exact dates and places I would be staying.

thereyet
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