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Converting U.S. Dollars to Euros once in Europe??

Converting U.S. Dollars to Euros once in Europe??

May 31st, 2006, 06:13 PM
  #1  
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Converting U.S. Dollars to Euros once in Europe??

My sister is under the impression that she can take U.S. Dollars to Europe and exchange them to Euros and thinks it is the same as taking money out of an ATM once in Europe. I for some reason want to tell her this is a bad idea .. I thought I read somewhere it was (fees that these places charge that do the exchanging in Europe being outrageous???) but I'd like some confirmation. Thanks for the help!
katzen is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:17 PM
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I don't know where in Europe your sister is going, but as a general rule:

ATMs are the cheapest way to go.
Exchanging currency dollar for euro is expensive because there is a fee on top of the rate, so you either want to change a lot at once (possibly eating a lot on the exchange) or pay each time you do it.

So, yes, she can do it her way, but the ATM is much better.
laclaire is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:18 PM
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Yes you are correct katzen. But there are some people that will not listen to facts and good advise. So if she won't, don't worry about it..it is not your money. But hopefully she will listen to you.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:27 PM
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Yes she can exchange $ for € -- but unless she is rich and can throw money around it isn't a good idea.

1) It will cost a lot more - fees plus a worse exchange rate

2) it really isn't a good idea to carry hundreds of $ (or € for that matter). What if she loses it, or is robbed or pickpocketed?

So you are correct - but how stubborn is she?
janisj is online now  
May 31st, 2006, 06:28 PM
  #5  
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Thank you both for the responses .. yes, I thought the fees involved with this were expensive!! She has Bank of America and we read (on Kiplingers) that there is a $5.00 charge for withdrawing cash from an ATM. I know they are in cahoots with Deutsch Bank but most of our trip will be in France.
katzen is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:29 PM
  #6  
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Thank you janisj. She isn't very stubborn ... so I'm hoping she takes her ATM .. or can maybe join a credit union!!
katzen is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:36 PM
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The fees are outrageous. As other people have mentioned, use an ATM, you'll get the best rate.

Also, look into getting a Capitol One Visa Card. They offer the best exchange rates and fees on purchases made in Europe.

Here's a link to an article that I wrote about using credit cards in Europe. Hope it helps.

http://www.parisescapes.com/paris_mo...dit_cards.html
ParisEscapes is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Katzen: BofA doesn't charge fees when you use BNP Paribas ATM's in France, Barclays in the UK and DeutscheBank in Germany
janisj is online now  
May 31st, 2006, 06:48 PM
  #9  
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Thank you ParisEscapes! I will read your article.

JanisJ, thank you .. I didn't realize there was a bank in France that they were affiliated with. Thank you!!
katzen is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:51 PM
  #10  
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... forgot to mention .. I read the rate to use her bank of america debit card as a credit card at a retailer, restaurant or hotel (visa logo on front of card) - is 3%.
katzen is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 06:54 PM
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Probably - I don't use BofA - but 3% is fairly standard. Very few (mostly credit unions but also a few banks) only charge 1% but 3% is pretty normal. . . .
janisj is online now  
May 31st, 2006, 06:58 PM
  #12  
 
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In the Tuesday May 30th USA Today paper there is an article on page 3B outlining all of the currency-conversion fees for various ATM and Credit cards.

Bank of America does have a flat fee for ATM withdrawals however there is no charge if withdrawal is from ATM's in the Global ATM Alliance.

Also see, Bankrate.com

Check your bank's website to find out which brands of ATM's are in its network and how much they charge.

For credit card purchases (not cash withdrawls) Capital One Financial charges no fees. However, they do not have ATM Cards and if you use the credit card for a cash advance you will be charged fees. But this is a great card to use if you are just paying by credit card for purchases, or hotels, car rentals and restaurants.

But definitely as everyone here as pointed out, converting US dollars to euro's will be very costly. I don't advise it.
TheVagabondLady is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 11:29 AM
  #13  
 
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There are some excellent exchange offices in Paris (and a great majority of terrible ones) which will give you a much better deal than buying euros in the United States. One of the very best is the "Change du Claridge" in the back of the Galerie du Claridge on the Champs Elysées, of all places. You can see how popular it is by the long lines waiting to do transactions there, compared to the more visible places on the Champs Elysées itself. It is also good to know that you can negotiate the exchange rate, depending on how much money you change. No fees and no commission. The other good place to change money in Paris is Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement. The Chinese are still dollar hungry and seem to be afraid to run out of them, so all of the exchange offices there snap dollars up like crazy, usually several points above the exchange rate you see in the newspaper.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Does your sister want to waste precious vacation time standing in line in banks or exchange offices? If the high fees won't convince her, I should think the idea of wasting time would.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 11:45 AM
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I primarily use my ATM card, but do carry USD also. You need it at your 1st (maybe 2nd) airport, plus for the return trip.

I have also found it handy to be able to change $20 or $40 for instance passing thru Heathrow needing only a small amount of GBP, or towards the end of a trip when again I need just a tiny bit more local currency.

While I do this it is definitely *not* "the same as taking money out of an ATM".
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Jun 1st, 2006, 03:43 PM
  #16  
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Thank you all for the responses!! I agree 100% and I am going to forward this thread to her .. as we speak!
katzen is offline  
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