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DCC? What is that? And where is the best place to convert $$ to Euro before my trip?

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DCC? What is that? And where is the best place to convert $$ to Euro before my trip?

Old Dec 11th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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DCC? What is that? And where is the best place to convert $$ to Euro before my trip?

I see some posts about DCC but I'm not sure what that is or how it will affect my trip to Paris in a few weeks. What should I be looking out for?

Also, I would like to concert some of my US currency into Euro before I arrive in Paris, as I was told this was the best way to get a good exchange rate. Can anyone recommend a good place to go (preferably in person) where the exchange rate is competitive? Would I get a good rate at the airport or no? I mean the airport here in the states (NYC to be exact). Thanks!
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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DCC is "Dynamic Currency Conversion", which is where people who take your credit card charge you in DOLLARS, not Euro, and then THEY do the currency conversion at whatever rate they feel like. It's not going to be a favorable one.

The way to avoid it is to demand that they charge you in the local currency -- Euros -- and let YOUR bank decide what the conversion rate should be.

It won't be a massive ripoff -- you stand to lose tens, not hundreds or thousands, of dollars, but it is a ripoff nonetheless.

You really don't need to bring Euro to Europe; get it from an ATM at the airport there. Don't get it from a bureau de change (currency desk) either here OR there; again, you'll get (very slightly) robbed. If you really need some cash to feel comfortable, you should be able to get some from the central branch of a big NYC bank (ask at your branch first), or just use the bureau; you'll lose less in the exchange than you would pay to have it send to you from a place with a better rate.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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It's Dynamic Currency Conversion

Basically the vendor "generously" offers to allow you to pay in your currency rather than in the local.

If you accept then you will get an exchange rate the vendor chooses rather than the bank's rate.

In 99.999999999999% of the time this will mean you paying MORE
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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The best conversion rate will almost always be by withdrawing Euros from bank ATMs in Europe -- 1 to 3 percent at most, plus maybe a per-transaction fee from your bank (ask what its policies are -- you incur no cost from the European bank).

If you want to purchase Euros on this side, it will cost 5 percent or more, but you may decide the convenience is worth a few dollars to you. Do the transaction in the airport if there isn't a currency exchange shop convenient to you -- the diffenence of a few dollars doesn't justify a taxi ride for a lower rate.

DCC is the practice of charging your credit card in dollars for a transaction in a country that uses another currency. This way the merchant uses whatever conversion rate it wants (to its advantage, not yours), plus your credit card company still tacks on its "foreign transaction fee" for using the card outside the US. The merchant must give you a choice of currencies and you should always select the local currency, not dollars.

Search on this forum for extensive discussions of DCC.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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A much discusses topic.

You have been misinformed.

Some rules: when paying for an item with credit card, pay in the local currency. Do not accept the kind offer to charge you in your currency for convenience and so you can see what you are paying. For starters, you should know the exchange rate before you go, so no need to see bill in your currency. But more importantly, they will use a less than optimal exchange rate. That is where you get caught in their web.

The best way to access currency is to use your ATM card to withdraw money in europe from your checking account. You will not get a better rate at home. Supply and demand...the supply of euros is..in Europe...if the demand is in...USA, it will cost more. The banks need to cover cost of stocking euro, you pay that cost.

It is not a bad idea to land with a few euros in pocket (say 100 euro) just in case, but no more than that.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Not to say it can't happen, but I've never encountered DCC in Paris.

Who on earth claimed that you'd get a better rate on euro in the US than in Europe in countries where it is used?

Why would you think an airport would give you a good rate on anything. Look at their food prices, they have a captive audience.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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Personally I found that my bank had the best exchange rate for Euros / pounds when looking to have some cash in that currency before I left on my last trip abroad in April 2007. Amex if you are a card holder usually has good deals but my bank beat it because they didn't charge me any fees if I took a certain amount or higher
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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Ah..."my bank charged me no fees" means, not much.

Well, there is, unfortunately, a "scam"...exchange bureaux for example that advertise "no fees" and you assume, wow, it must be free!

Well, no. All they do is change the exchange rate and make their money on that.

For ANY currency exchange, there are two components, the exchange rate and fees. Knowing only one means you really do not know what they are charging you. And since most people don't follow exchange rates, the currency traders can bury costs/profits in there. I find my bank charges ~5%
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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but no fees!
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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Michel - I looked at all the info and made sure I compared the exchange rate between many different companies and online at xe.com to make sure there weren't any hidden fees.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Michael has hit the nail on the head. You need to know both #'s.

If your inviolable boundary condition is that you must have the currency of your destination in hand before you depart home, you forfeit the right to complain about the 5-7% cost of doing so. That's your choice, and nobody should argue.

The debate here on Fodors often centers around whether what is the cheapest method period. Using an ATM at your destination is consistently the best method if you do it right.

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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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I've seen XE. Are they not a currency exchange company also, and as such their rates may not be the interbank?

I prefer to use neutral sites, for example in my case I go to the Bank of Canada site. It does not match the XE rate
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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XE and Oanda, http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic, are both corrency trading companies. Their websites give their current rates for trading at the interbank rate, plus tables for figuring your cost if you have a credit card that adds 3%, for example.
Just now both had the dollar at 1.47/Euro, as did Yahoo. This quote is for trades of $50K or more. Those of us with more modest budgets can expect to pay a few percentage points more for our Euros.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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I've seen XE. Are they not a currency exchange company also, and as such their rates may not be the interbank?

Please elucidate. My impression is that since one of their sites gives the mid-market rate, it should be easy to compare their charges to that rate.
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