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Convert dollars to Euros in the US or use Bank of America ATM agreement to pull out Euros?

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Aug 28th, 2005, 09:39 AM
  #1
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Convert dollars to Euros in the US or use Bank of America ATM agreement to pull out Euros?

Hello! I am trying to decide whether I should take Euros from the US or use Bank of America's ATM alliance which they say does not charge a fee? Does anyone know if there is a conversion charge for the Bank of America ATM Alliance? Should I bring american money as well? My atm has a visa logo on it. Does visa charge anything if I use the atm at the bofa ATM agreement locations? I appreciate your help. Does anyone have experience with these issues?
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Aug 28th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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There is not supposed to be an extra conversion charge using a b of a atm at banks (like Deutsch Bank) in Europe, but you still get hit with the $2 or $3 "service" fee. Having said that, we discovered last week on a trip back up from Baja California that we got hit with a $1.30 conversion fee for using our visa at a restaurant in Tijuana.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 09:48 AM
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Is it a fact or are you just speculating about the conversion fee on ATM alliance banking cards?
I did never pay anything in fees using my "Deutsche Bank Sparcard", even at Scotiabank ATMs in Mexico this June but maybe things have changed???
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Aug 28th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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I have successfully used a BoA ATM card to get euro, pounds, swiss franc for five trips. I do pay an international transaction fee to my home bank & don't know about an "ATM alliance". But I have never had a problem getting cash using this method.

I do carry US cash but only as a back-up, for emergencies, or if I need to change a small amount (I might use it in Heathrow to get pounds, if I was then flying out of the UK and this is the only place I needed that currency), and to have for the trip home.

I have also bought a few hundred worth of euro or swiss franc from my home bank some trips. This is not the best because of bank service change and bad exchange rate but it does put cash in your pocket upon arrival.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 10:01 AM
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It still says it's free with the ATM alliance. So this is what you should use imho.

http://www.scotiabank.com/cda/conten..._LIDen,00.html

"The standard International ATM Access Fee (charged to customers who access their accounts via ATMs outside of Canada) is waived by Scotiabank, if customers use their ScotiaCardô or Scotiabank VISA* at one of the ATMs listed above."
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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It is free with member banks. But you might not find member banks everywhere, at which point you pay $5. Still better than getting Euros in the U.S. if you take a couple of hundred at a time. Another solution is to check if your local credit union charges for foreign transactions. Mine does not.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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I'm not inclined to pay for the bad exchange rate and fees to get Euro's in my hand before leaving the US.

I always just use my ATM upon arrival. Never found a need to have Euros in my pocket between leaving the airplane and comint upon the 1st ATM, usually never more than 50yds from baggage claim.

I've also never been worried that every ATM in the airport will be out of order or out of cash.

For a backup I bring a small amount of US cash, but have never had a need to use it.

When I can, I try to find a BofA affiliate, but that's not always possible right upon arrival.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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If you use a Bank of America ATM card with a Visa logo to withdraw funds from a bank ATM in Europe, the following will apply:

If the ATM you are using is a BofA Alliance Bank (Barclays, Paribus, or Deutsche Bank for example) then there will be NO fee whatsoever from anybody -- your bank or theirs -- and you will get the "lowest rate" you are likely to find anywhere. Period.

If the ATM you use is not one of those banks, then you'll still get the same great rate, and the European bank will still not charge you anything for the withdrawal. But BofA MAY charge you up to $5 for each of those "non affiliated" transactions. My BofA account (Advantage account) even gives me two withdrawals free per month from non affiliated banks. But if you are taking something like $300 at a time from the ATM, then you're still only talking about 1 1/2%, less than just about any other way to get money and certainly less than any way I know of to get it in advance.


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Aug 28th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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Domestic USA Banks in the USA do not deal in foreign currency. They can get foreign currency but as a special service and a fee. Debit card ATM withdrawals are 'currently' the least expensive way to acquire local funds. No matter what you do, you are going to pay conversion charges. Currency exchanges and street traders will buy USA notes. Rates are variable. Note the daily Euro/Dollar rate. You should be able to exchange for 4 or 5 points more. That is, Euros will cost you more than the posted or daily bank rate. Conversion costs are simply vacation costs similar to hotel and meal costs, and they are a very small percentage of total trip costs. Baggage cart charges in USA airports are more than ATM fees.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 12:34 PM
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>Euros will cost you more than the posted or daily bank rate.

This is where withdrawing money with an ATM alliance card differs. You DO actually get the daily rate, which is used if you want to buy foreign stocks at the NY stock exchange. This IS the exchange rate.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 02:13 PM
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Our son and his wife work for BofA.When we went to Paris they used the partner bank and incurred not fees.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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The 'no fee when using B of A cards' is very interesting as we leave for France in a few weeks. What banks in France are members of this alliance?
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Aug 28th, 2005, 03:18 PM
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Take enough Euros to pay for your taxi or transportation from the airport to the hotel, and for dinner your first night, just in case. You can get Euros most conveniently and cheaply at ATMs everywhere. Have a great trip!
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Aug 28th, 2005, 04:14 PM
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GLK11B, In France it is BNP.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 04:28 PM
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This is lukewarm off the press: I was in Italy in June and July, and this is what I experienced:


With my BOA Advantage checking account, I was charged a $2 fee per ATM usage for the third and subsequent non-BOA ATM withdrawals I make. This applies to ATM's anywhere and not just those in Europe...BOA has hit me with the $2 fee for a third non-BOA ATM usage within a statement period even here in the US.

ALSO...Visa would tack on an additional 1% surcharge for each foreign ATM withdrawal. I did not use a Deutsche Bank or other partner ATM.

As far as buying Euros here in the US, only buy about $100-$150 worth. Just enough petty cash to get something in the airport, pay the cabbie or train fare, etc. Yes, you can wait until you land in your first European airport and hit the ATM there, but I prefer to have some cold hard cash on hand before I leave the US, just as a way of minimizing the risk of Murphy's Law. Don't get too much money here, though, because you will be screwed royally on the exchange rate. I don't recall how much spread there was between the real exchange rate and what BOA charged me to buy euros here, but it seemed to be like 5 cents -- BOA charge about $1.33/1€ when the real exchange rate (at the time) was about $1.28/1€
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Aug 29th, 2005, 08:55 AM
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Good stuff. Thank you for all the help! I will keep all in mind when I go.
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Aug 29th, 2005, 10:31 AM
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In the Eastern US, Commerce Bank has a no fee ATM usable worldwide as long as you maintain $2500 in primary checking account. Can w/d $500 at a time. They will refund any bank surcharges worldwide as long as you maintain the min amount in checking.
Not a CB employee: Just checked this bank as a result of reading this thread.
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Aug 29th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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I would say both. I always take a reasonable amount of Euros w/me (@ least $1k worth) because I like having the cash available. I'll also use my ATM card once or twice while traveling, so any fees there are minimal. (Yes, I work for a bank so to exchange here is free, + I don't pay much in the way of fees over there either.) I guess what is humorous about these questions (which are posted on here all the time) is you're probably spending $5000 or more on the trip, then everyone starts worrying about $2 fees. How about a little perspective..I am sure you could save considerably more money by planning your trip carefully & having some flexibility. Am I crazy, or what ?
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