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Checking accounts in Europe

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My husband and I, now that we are for the most part retired, hope to travel to Europe at least 2 times a year for the next several years. Because my DH speaks Itaian, French, and Spanish, and I speak French, we probably will center much of our travels on one of these countries.

When we travel, we use ATM and credit cards. We never use travelers checks any more. We are increasingly aware of the high fees the American banks get with each transaction. We were wondering if it is possible for non-residents to set up a checking account in a European country; we could add monies to it from the states or when we arrived in Europe. Is this possible, or is it a truly loony idea? If it is possible to set up such an account, would we then have to pay some sort of tax in the country that has the account?

We have Bank of America debit cards, which I gather from another post, we can use without much penalty. Does anyone else have any suggestions on how to deal with the euro/dollar exchange? Realizing that the fees are pretty marginal when one considers the entire trip, we are jsut trying to be creative.



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