Notices

currency exchange - AAA

Reply

Aug 24th, 2009, 03:54 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
currency exchange - AAA

Several people last week mentioned that you could purchase foreign currency thru AAA and not have to pay any of the bank fees and get a good exchange rate, I have called my AAA office in Northern California and they have never heard of such a thing. I am AAA plus and have been a member for eons. They even called around and called me back. Any thoughts?
Gaily is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 03:58 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,848
Nope. They don't even sell travelers checks any more. Where did someone post that one could buy currency at bargain rates at AAA? They do sell a travel card - but it is not recommended due to high fees, etc.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 04:09 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 16
At our local AAA (25 miles away) they have available a packet of Euros & change that might be needed as you arrive in the country like for taxi fare, etc. It amounts to $50 as I recall. I have gotten a fair exchange rate for larger amount of Euros through Wells Fargo Bank foreign currency department online with prompt service.
Good luck!
Charp45 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 04:10 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,895
Depending on your bank, you can sometimes get foreign currency without a fee, but my experience is that the exchange rate on such transactions is so poor that it's just not worth it. You're almost always better off waiting and using an ATM on arrival in Europe.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 04:18 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,497
I can assure that anyone who wants to exchange currencies for you will cost you about 6 to 8% of your money. Use ATMs after you arrive.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 04:48 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 226
The exchange rate I got today for euros at my local branch bank was $1.52275 plus a $10 mailing charge. I typically will take a few hundred euros along and then use the ATMs for a more preferred exchange rate in Europe. I am thinking that the dollar is not going to improve vs the euro for a long, long, long time...if ever. It seems like it wasn't that long ago that the euro was worth less than a dollar.
pauljagman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 04:49 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 88
Like Charp45 we were able to purchase small amount of Euros at our local AAA. They had prepackaged bills that amounted to $50 (or maybe $100). The amount of Euros depended on the exhange rate.

It certainly wan't a 'good exchange rate' and certainly not good for large amounts of Euros, but it was nice to have some Euros in my pocket when we landed.

When we landed, we used the ATM for cash and got a Capital One Visa for most other purchases.
sdfamily is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 04:51 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,336
ATM.

If you have time, get a 0% forex fee account from a credit union or Cap One.
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 08:40 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 112
Wow, this is really disappointing. We are traveling to Rome from the US and will need to pay the balance owed on our apartment upon arrival. It's about 900 euro. Our ATM daily withdrawal limit is $500 US per day so we can't just use an ATM withdrawal for paying the balance. In the past I have tried calling the bank to arrange a higher limit, but their response was never very reassuring -- something like, they'd try to OK it, but nothing could be guaranteed. We had planned to simply order the euro through AAA a few weeks before departure. In the past, we have ordered foreign currency through US Bank. It wasn't great because we were charged "retail rates". There was no delivery charge -- which was better than the deal offered by our local bank. Hmmnm. I'm not sure what to do. It's a lot of currency and if we buy it here in the US it seems like we will need to pay a premium. Discouraging for sure. I guess I will try AAA. But I am definitely not encouraged by the latest news.
MartaD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 08:52 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,702
Get another bank account or two, either at your bank/credit union, or another that does not charge foreign transaction fees. When we go, I withdraw the limit on one or two of my accounts, and my wife does the same. The limit on withdrawals at European ATMs has been around €300 per day, IME, so you would need at least three accounts, unless you make arrangements with your landlord to make the final payment the next day.

Most apartment owners have experienced this dilemma with American renters before, and have been most accommodating.

nukesafe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2009, 09:37 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,069
Change banks. If they won't honor a definite request to increase your withdrawal limit, they aren't worthy of your business.
StCirq is online now  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 05:35 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 225
Gaily, this may not help you but MartaD this may solve your problem.

If you have no Euros, use a credit card to buy your train tickets. When you arrive in Rome at Termini walk out the via Marsala exit, cross the street, turn left and walk one block to via Vicenza. There is a cambio on the corner that opens at 0900 or 0930; you will get what is essentially the bank rate on exchanges, maybe a penny or two less. We have used this place for years and never had a problem. I don't understand how they make a profit, nor do I really care.

Once just to check I cashed money there, walked around the corner to an ATM and withdrew money, the exchange rate was about one cent different. I use ATMs when I have to but personally prefer this method.
Hal8999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 05:49 AM
  #13
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 73,263
>It seems like it wasn't that long ago that the euro was worth less than a dollar.<

It seems as if it was only March 6, 2009 that the Euro was only $1.24.

ira is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 06:41 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 30,508
>>>The limit on withdrawals at European ATMs has been around €300 per day<<<

I believe that's per machine or per transaction, not per day. If you have a high withdrawal limit, you should be able to take out 300€ and then take out another 300€. If not at the same machine, then you should be able to walk down the street and make you 2nd withdrawal at another ATM.

I would open an account in your name only, an account in your husband's name only and a joint account. Use all three accounts to get your money at the ATM's. Be sure to have them flag your account that you will be in Europe and have phone numbers to contact them in case you have a problem (you need different numbers than the 800 US contact numbers).
kybourbon is online now  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 08:09 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,497
The "800 numbers" can be troublesome.
So are "call collect from overseas" numbers.
The former are not a toll free calls and some cannot be reached. The latter can confront the European operators whose success rate depends on the operators' perseverance when confronted with call processing greetings.

I use either Skype out, use cheap locally issued international phone card, or in cases Visa/MC are involved, use their European toll free numbers.
greg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 08:31 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 419
I just bought 200 Euro in preparatiion for my trip to Italy from this website
aaaforeignexchangeservices.com
I am a AAA member and have been purchasing a small amount each time I set off for Europe.
The exchange rate was 1 Euro = 1.5002 US dollars.. or 200 Euros for $ 300.04 plus a small fee for delivery.
The money came via FEDEX overnight.
I believe you need to be an AAA member to use this service as you need to enter your membership number.
joethekay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 08:41 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,497
Yep---6 to 8% profit for the banker.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 09:02 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Ask them if they will take a bank draft or must it be cash (probably latter, but worth asking).

A bank draft is equivalent to a certified cheque and is a low cost solution to sending large amounts. Or, you could do a wire transfer from your bank to theirs before leaving.

There may be reasons for cash only
Michel_Paris is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 09:32 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 30,508
The AAA info above is not really AAA. AAA is using Travelex and of course there is a big markup on the actual exchange rate and a usually a hefty delivery fee. I would say the person that used the service probably paid a good 15-20% over what you would pay at an ATM in Italy. Without knowing the exact date of the transaction and FedEx fee, we don't know how much AAA is overcharging.
kybourbon is online now  
Reply With Quote
Aug 25th, 2009, 10:24 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,622
That's true, AAA does use another service, but they never exchanged it for free, I don't know why anyone would think that. They aren't deceptive about it, if you ask, they readily tell you the markup. I didn't see many people on here claiming that last week, but it is true you don't have certain bank fees, just the markup. But that isn't a good rate by my terms (2-3 pct I might think wasn't too bad). I think they always only sold those "tip pack" things, it wasn't that you could exchange $500, but I never did so, so am not sure.
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:19 AM.