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qwovadis Dec 26th, 2011 01:06 PM wise leaving lots of cash in your apartment is EXTREMELY unwise.

Magster2005 Dec 26th, 2011 03:42 PM

Agree with all of the above that it is much better to get cash from ATMs as you need it and use credit cards.

To avoid the foreign fees, open a Capitol One credit card and a checking account with an ATM card (you can open both online). I have no affiliation with Cap One, I just love avoiding the 3% foreign transaction charge on my credit card purchases and eliminating the $5 per withdrawal foreign fee on my ATM transactions.

Have a great time in Florence!

Michel_Paris Dec 26th, 2011 08:10 PM

Banks don't give 'bogus' rates, they quote customer rates to make a profit, my bank being ~5%..and that is OK, they need to make a profit.

to calculate their profit margin,look in newspaper to get the international rate.
my bank is a large bank, so they would be getting near that rate. Unless XE is alo very large, they would pay more for euros, then need to add on a profit margin above that.

more for me to research:)

madameX Dec 26th, 2011 08:22 PM

Agreed with all of the information above. We keep a Capital One account specifically for foreign charges, i.e. no exchange fee.

Also: before leaving the U.S., we get enough of the local currency to get us where we want to go, and perhaps for a meal. I remember arriving at Charles deGaulle one morning on a Sunday or Monday. All of the ATM's were out of cash, and the exchange businesses get a hefty fee and had very long lines. I was glad I had enough euros to take a cab to my hotel and work from there.

(Yes, I know there are cheaper airport shuttles, but I treat myself to a cab when I'm jetlagged.)

The point: perhaps convert enough currency to get you settled in your destination, but I would not convert a lot in advance.

kybourbon Dec 26th, 2011 08:57 PM

>>>>Michel_Paris on Dec 26, 11 at 4:26pm
I must ask for more info. The'newspaper rate' is for very large transactions. Since banks are not charities, why would they run a business that loses them money? 3/10 of a percent makes no one money<<<<

Many of us in the US can and do get the interbank rate you see in the paper or on or when we use our ATM cards in Europe. Most get that rate because they are using their ATM card from their credit union. Credit unions do not charge the fees that banks do and don't mark up the exchange rate. I get the interbank rate for transactions on my credit union issued Visa and Mastercards also. You can compare the rates on your statement to the actual rates for that day by using the history function on xe or oanda. Just pull up the rates for the date of the transaction on their websites.

matthewl - You will be better off using your ATM card in Italy for money even if your bank charges a 3% rate. If you bank at a credit union, you will get a better rate (most only tack on 1% to the interbank rate at most). When you get money in Italy, be sure to use a bank ATM. You must have a 4 digit pin. You also need to know what your maximum withdrawal is and convert to euro. If your limit is $400 you will need to figure out about how much that is in euro so your transaction won't be over (currently $400 is 305€).

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