Currency Conversion

Old Sep 24th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Currency Conversion


As the value of the American dollar weekens does anyone recommend converting American $$ to Euro now for a trip to Italy in November.

How much cash is recommended to take when traveling w/ a family of 6 for 10 days? I would think we'd mostly use our credit cards???

ChanB is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2007, 04:38 PM
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Yes, you use your credit cards as much as possible. For cash, you pull local currency from ATMs - just as you do here. Trying to convert currency is a waste ot time (finding a place to do it) and money (you'll pay 7 to 8% over the interbank rate - versus usually 1 or maybe 2% by pulling from that ATM).

Just be sure that your card is linked to your checking account - savings account cards won;t work.

And no - changing money here now is a bad idea - the exchange rate will be awful - unless you're positive the dollar is going to continue to fall.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 05:04 PM
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I would know in advance which lodgings accept credit cards. Also, some smaller restaurants may not accept credit cards.

Also, I have found that my primary credit card does not always work. That is rare, but that is also the reason why I have one type of card, Master Card fromCapital One, and my wife carries a Visa card from AAA/Bank of America. We try NOT to use the Bank of America card because we get 3% added on to every charge whereas we do NOT pay the extra with Capital One.

I also suggest that you have a second source of cash just in case one of your ATM or debit cards does not work.

This summer my Master Card debit card worked in the UK and in Germany but not in Switzerland. I have yet to find out why.

I would not convert many dollars here at a bank because you will pay at least 5% above the wholesale bank rate.
If you feel you need a few euro in your pocket when you arrive, you might change for about €100, but certainly only enough to get you to a major bank and its ATM machine.

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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 05:12 PM
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Yes, Bank of America does charge a 3% markup on charges whereas American Express only charges a 2% markup. However, Bank of America only charges a 1% markup on ATM transactions. If you use one of the ATM's in their network, there is no other ATM charge. Barclays, Deutschbank, Scotiabank, BNP Paribas are some of the banks in their network. Check their website to get the full listing.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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I don't think BofA has any partner banks in Italy, in which case they will charge $5 per withdrawal. I am also a BofA customer, but in situations like this I rely on my credit union account which only charges $1 per w/d. Of course you should still take your BofA ATM card as a back-up.

If you are not a Bank of America customer, please call your bank and ask the fee for overseas withdrawals. Also let them know you will be using the card in Italy so they won't flag it for irregular activity.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 06:37 PM
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My method is to cover all bases. ATM card to withdraw money within Europe, credit cards for major expenses, some USD or TC's you could trade in, in a pinch. Maybe even some Euro from your home bank or leaving-airport to have in your pocket upon arrival.
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