changing money

Aug 15th, 1999, 01:12 PM
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changing money

We are going to Scotland and England in September. Does anyone know whether we can use the atms easily? What system is most of England/Scotland on? Plus or Cirrus?
Aug 15th, 1999, 01:51 PM
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We had no trouble using our ATM card in London and Paris this summer. It is definitely the way to go--best exchange rate. Last year I used it in Amsterdam and Delft. I don't know anything about using an ATM card in Scotland, but it seems like they're everywhere. I have heard of people having problems using an ATM card that expires after 12/99, but mine expires in 8/03 and I had no trouble. My card is compatible with Cirrus and every machine I went to but one (in Paris) took Cirrus.
Aug 16th, 1999, 09:34 AM
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We were in the UK earlier this summer and ATM's are everywhere including London, the English towns and rural Scotland. It was one of the very pleasant surprises of our trip. We picked up about 100 pounds before going to make the start of our trip easier but after that, we used credit cards, debit cards and the ATMs. I can't really recall if Cirrus or Plus was more widely avaibale because we had one card on each system but I also dob't recall having to make a choice at the machine. I think many took both. It was definately the way to go.
Aug 16th, 1999, 10:25 AM
Brian in Atlanta
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I used my Plus ATM card in large cities and small towns in Scotland last year. No problems whatsoever in locating or using ATMs.

I think most bank ATMs will be bi-network (Plus and Cirrus).
Aug 16th, 1999, 04:33 PM
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I just came back from England last week (have been there since mid July).

When I visited Canada and Philippines (several times) in the past, I did not like to bring or carry much cash. Thus, I used my [Charles Schwab] debit card to charge most of my expenses (hotels,meals, purchases, etc.) What I discovered (when I came back from those trips) was that, it was usually "much cheaper" (based on exchange rate) to charge my expenses directly through my debit card than to have money exchanged for the local currency.

In London, some banks (e.g., HSB) or "Bureau de Change" charged much higher exchange rate than others ($1.67 - $1.73 =1) -- both low and high range were much higher than the "official rate" charged by Charles Schwab. Using an ATM also entails additional charges ($1.5-$2 for each use) -- on top of the exchange rate "fee". In contrast, if you go to the bank directly and use a teller, there is no "ATM charge". However, I did the latter several times, since one always needs some "cash".

When I came home, I checked most of the exchange rates; most were $1.617 =1. Even if using the debit card were slightly more costly, I prefer charging my bills still because I felt it was more safe than carrying a lot of cash around -- it also saves the trouble of looking for an ATM or a bank. In fact, even with the extra 3% charge (using the card) with the hotel bills), at $1.617 =1 (for the direct debit card) I was about breakeven in comparison to $1.67 =1 and ahead at $1.73 =1 had I used some of the "Bureau de Change" or certain banks in London.

Has anyone ever tried using their debit card and found it cheaper?

CGC -- 990816
Aug 16th, 1999, 04:40 PM
Lu B.
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I have used an ATM in Europe. I went armed ahead of time with a list of "cirrus" ATMs which my bank gave me. I felt better knowing where they were. So, stop by your bank and ask them for a photocopy of the ATMs in the cities where you will be. Sort of a secure feeling!!

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