Cost of Euro notes

Aug 28th, 2003, 02:00 PM
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Cost of Euro notes

From time to time we discuss how to exchange for euro notes. People ask "Where can I get the best rate?"

Well, I can tell you one way NOT to do it. Don't buy from the Bank of America. I thought I would do the usual and acquire 100€ before leaving for convenience. Well, I paid through the nose.
The rate per euro was 5% above the bank wholesale spot rate. The spot rate at the time was $1.086, I paid 1.14. On top of it, I got socked with a delivery fee that was unspecified as to amount when I made the transaction. I knew it would be more, but not that much more.
I will watch what I pay on Saturday in Dublin for sure!
Live and learn. I sure am glad I did not order a supply for the whole trip!! But that is an expensive lesson I just learned.

I reminds me of the scene in one of the old Andy Griffith shows where Floyd Lawson, the barber, had taken on a partner. The partner, who was really the front for a horse betting ring, charged $1.00 for a shampoo, which would be about $8 today. Barney observed "I sure would hate for him to give me a bath!" Well, I think I just took one! Ouch. Next time I hunt for an ATM after arrival.
bob_brown is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 05:24 PM
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Jet-lagged and cranky I hate to look for ATM's the second I land in Europe. I also hate to land without enough local currency for cab fare to my hotel.

Luckily for me I'm getting to go to Europe once or twice a year now. So I hang onto the 100 or so euros I have from my last trip and take them on my next trip. Seems to be the easiest way. Now if only the UK would get on board.
indytravel is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 05:31 PM
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bob, I took the same bath on pounds sterling in May. I didn't have quite enough left over from my last trip to pay the car service upon landing, so I ordered a small amount from my bank. No service charge, but the rate was terrible! I have started to be more careful about returning with at least US$50 in euros or pounds so I'm set for the next trip.
Marilyn is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 04:48 AM
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Dear Bob,

On your 100E transaction you paid only $5 for the convenience of having cash with you on arrival.

I would have gotten the Euros at the airport on departure and saved the delivery fee.
ira is online now  
Aug 29th, 2003, 05:12 AM
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Hi Bob
We did the same thing with Bank One. We always did get 100 a couple before going with what use to be NBD. My husband got them this time and got stuck with the same 5% and delivery fee plus the rate was about the same as yours and of course the next day of so the dollar gained.
I really think the airports are still higher but lets just hope the dollar continues to gain.
MGB is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 05:23 AM
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I always use BOA to order advance currency. It plainly states in the delivery section that orders over $500 are free delivery, and what the charge is for smaller orders. I have mine delivered to the local main branch across the street from my office.
Of course, many people do not want to start with $500 in currency, but it doesn't bother me.. We're going to be on a cash-basis, including hotels, so I know I will not be hanging on to it for long. BOA has the best rate if you do not pay delivery, and may have the best delivery charge, as well, over other online sites. My coworker shopped around before her Venice trip and came to same conclusion. I usually supplement our cash via ATM during the trip, but don't care to start off that way...
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 05:39 AM
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In my experience, nobody but huge volume buyers (like other banks) gets the wholesale spot rate. It is just a marker from which other rates are derived; kind of like the prime rate.
Cicerone is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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Regardless where I travel, I always put aside about $50 in foreign currency - which I actually put in with the photo album of the trip.

If by chance I'm returning to the same country at a later date, the $50 comes out of the album and into my pocket - this is just in case the ATM on the other end is not working. This has never been the case and the $50 in foreign currency goes back into the photo album.

Years back, when ATMs weren't available, I would exchange a few USD into foreign currency to be sure I had funds on hand on arrival - again, rarely more than $50 worth - then used local banks to exchange money.

Thankfully, those days are over and ATMs are found just about anywhere in the world, but not everywhere. And remember if going to some out-of-the-way country, most banks and cash exchanges might not even have the currency - so you wait till you get there. And in most of these out-of-the-way countries, they're more than willing to take USD.
Aug 29th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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Just out of curiosity, why would you want to be on a cash basis for anything? When you use a credit card, be it for a hotel or whatever, you have leverage.

Let me give you an example of what happened to me this summer. As I was leaving a hotel in Amsterdam which shall rename nameless as they matter was resolved, the clerk told me I had made several phone calls. I said true but they were to 00800 numbers which are free..he claimed not. Not wishing to argue, I paid with my Amex card (it came to over 44 Euro)...I signed the charge slip and wrote under protest.

When I got home I e-mailed them. I told them that I would be taking the matter to Amex, that they could not win this dispute and that I would plaster their bs all over the internet. 00800 calls are free. I got back an e-mail from them claiming they had the system checked and it was billing for 00800 calls in error. They credited my account; I lost a buck or two on the exchange as the Euro had gone down vs. USD and when you get a credit they subtract the 2% fee but that was not worth disputing.

The point is you can decide if they would have been so ready to refund the money if I had paid cash.

As a seasoned traveller, I use a credit card everywhere it is taken. Many of the McDonald's in London take credit cards and for a £1.99 I have no trouble in using a credit card. Leverage my friend (although somehow I doubt I would need it with McDonald's). Some places in Europe have minimum amounts for using a charge card, a practice which is illegal in the US, but you live with it.

We went into a Japanese restaurant this last trip in London and after getting the bill for £15.29, the lady claimed they had a £30 minimum. I asked if there was a sign to that effect (they had the cc decals in plain sight) and they searched for the sign. They grudgingly said they would take the cc. The girl then came back and gave me an excuse that their printer had run out of paper. I told them I don't carry around that kind of cash. They asked me to use the ATM across the street, I said no way it would cost me $5 to get cash. They finally used one of the old fashioned imprinters but they must think I was born yesterday (actually the day before).

There is no way one should ever travel and not use a credit card everywhere it is taken. Operating with cash is always a mistake IMHO.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 12:01 PM
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Well, xyz123, I have "no trouble" using a credit card either, but right now I am paying off debt from travel and many other circumstances... so I have a goal to spend from my allotted funds and no more.
I will be carrying a c.c. just in case, and will keep in mind its benefits if a situation develops where a dispute might be in order. Also, if I pay a hotel in cash and they later charge the card# I gave them to reserve, I can still dispute that.
I realize I could make my charges in Europe and repay immediately once back home, but things have a way of happening so, at least this trip, I'm operating on cash.
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 12:04 PM
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Well, I'll argue the other side of xzy123s point.

I have exactly one credit card. While I do plan to bring it with me on my upcoming trip to Europe, it will be for emergency use only. Like many others, I will operate on a cash-only basis by getting cash each day with my ATM card.

IMHO, the biggest reason to NOT use a credit card is the risk of fraud. Even with the option to "dispute" the charge with the credit card company, I'd rather not have to deal with worrying about whether my card will be accepted the next time I use it or if that worker at the last restaurant I patronized decided to copy down the pertinent info and go on a shopping spree (as happened to me before I got smart and cut all my cards up).

I have traveled extensively across the US (all 50 states) as well as been to Canada and Mexico. Other than to rent a car (the MAIN reason I even still have a credit card in the first place) I can count on one hand the number of times I've needed or wished I had a credit card.

I realize that not having a credit card may seem incomprehensible to many, many people. However, I have done it for the past 8 years and have never regretted it. A nice by-product of the decision is that I'm 100% debt-free. Nothing follows me home from any of my vacations but memories.

Just another view,
Jennie is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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Can I obtain euro's at O'Hara (ORD) prior to departure to Europe? My local bank has a straight fee of $12.00 per request (for euro's) plus some other percentage fee, which seems terribly high, but perhaps I'm wrong.
Lil is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 12:32 PM
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Please...Until we achieve a universal currency, exchanges have to be paid for. A business student can explain it. Certainly it is practical to shop the best rate but it is not going to be without cost. Bank rates are a kind of median number. Buying you pay a premium, selling you pay premium. This premium covers the cost of that business transaction, Street bandits charge less because they have a limited overhead. Visa and Mastercard are usually less expensive than American Express. Charge fees are expensive because part of that business expense is 'no pay' losses. Debit cards are usually the least expensive. Why? Because they access actual cash! Credit cards depend on 'maybe' cash. Some recent studies note that a simple business letter may cost $50 to write and send. Try getting a reply today to a business letter to a major firm. Next, most USA banks don't know how to deal in foreign currencies. Next time visit local banks and request a foreign currency. Major airports may have a currency exchange booth but you will have to share in its expense if you use its services.
GSteed is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 12:38 PM
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Some of the advice for me is semi useless. I fly out of a very small airport to a larger one, Charlotte, for the flight to England. I have yet to see a euro dispenser there.
If there is one, it is well hidden.

I was not warned about the delivery fee; and in the past for small purchases it was not assessed.

bob_brown is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 02:10 PM
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I've just come back from my bank. I ordered 500 euros and my bank account will be debited $575, and that includes the $3 charge for the exchange. And just so you don't jump on me for getting that many euros, let me say that the landlady needs to be paid 375 euros, cash, when we arrive in Rome, and we need 40 more for that evening's tour!

BTW, I also notified the bank when we'd be gone, so they would be aware of us using foreign ATMs, and I requested that our daily withdrawal be upped to $500.

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