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Euro Cash

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Apr 16th, 2012, 08:53 PM
  #1
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Euro Cash

Hello,
What's the best way to go about exchanging my money into Euros?(also going to Switzerland- do they use Euros?)
I don't want to have fees from taking out money from ATMs oversees..
I really don't know much about all of this! What is typically done?
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Apr 16th, 2012, 09:02 PM
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The overseas banks are not the ones charging a fee; it's your bank and Visa. Look for your local credit union and ask them if they charge a fee for foreign withdrawals; mine does not. I still have to pay the 1% conversion fee charged by Visa. If you have a BofA account, there are no fees if you use BNP-Paribas ATMs in France and Barclay's in England.
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Apr 16th, 2012, 09:04 PM
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"I don't want to have fees from taking out money from ATMs oversees.."

Well, that is too bad, because the fees you'll pay exchanging currency will be much higher than when you use ATMs. Using ATM/debit cards is by far the best way to get cash

Switzerland is not in the euro zone.
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Apr 16th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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This can be a rather involved issue.

If your bank is taking fees when you make foreign ATM withdrawals or credit card purchases, maybe it´s time to find a new bank. French bank ATMs (and I shall assume other EU banks are the same) charge you nothing for withdrawals. The currency conversion network, whether it´s handling cash conversions (Cirrus, Pulse, Maestro) or credit card transactions (Visa, MC), will take 1% for their services but you do receive the best possible exchange rate.

Any other transaction fee or fixed charge originates from your local bank and many charge you nothing at all. (Note: B of A does charge the 1% currency conversion fee on some accounts even if you use BNP and they are one of the few banks which charges a fixed fee for using any ATM).

Assuming you are a US banking customer, you will generally find lower banking costs if you avoid the big budget, national banks which became known for needing/accepting government bail out money.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 03:27 AM
  #5
 
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BNP bought BNL (Banco Nazionale del Lavoro) in Italy, so we were able to use our BoA ATM card free of fees just about everywhere because this is a very large bank.

On the other hand, though you can use Barclays in the UK, you cannot get free use of their many branches in Spain.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 04:28 AM
  #6
 
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Given the price of a trip to Europe (or anywhere else with a different currency for that matter) it always amazes me that people struggle with paying a tiny percentage of that total for exchanging money.
Use your credit card where you can and use ATMs for cash. The fees you pay will be negligible compared to the overall cost of your trip.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 04:39 AM
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What is typically done? <<

"Use your credit card where you can and use ATMs for cash." really is the best plan

Unless you are renting a place from an owner who demands cash, you will be surprised how little cash you will need on your trip(just make sure to call your bank and let them know you will be using you Credit Cards overseas)
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Apr 17th, 2012, 07:24 AM
  #8
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Switzerland uses Swiss Francs not Euros. Some touristy places might accept Euros but don't count on that, and if they do, at a rate unfavourable to you (understandably) and change will be given in Francs. Use the country's currency.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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Actually how much you will use cash depends on where you travel. We're going to Greece this spring, and I read cash is much used outside Athens. (And maybe in Athens....) We're also going to Istanbul and cash is big there also.

Fodorites, in what other parts of Europe is cash needed often?
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Apr 17th, 2012, 07:37 AM
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Ooops, just noticed the countries the OP tagged. Using a credit card will be no problem in France, Germany and Switzerland.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 07:43 AM
  #11
 
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hetismij2 - I have to agree! The time and energy spent on this is amazing to me. I just use my ATM to pull out cash in 100 - 200 amounts and dont even think about the £1-2 it costs me each time. Now the amount that I am expected to TIP in the US and Canada - that is what I take offence too (20%!!! And people tell me its pricey in London!)
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Apr 17th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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The fees you pay will be negligible compared to the overall cost of your trip.

But they can add up to a nice meal, at least in France outside Paris.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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I don't like to pay extra money to banks. If you don't need to pay it, why do so?
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Apr 17th, 2012, 10:02 AM
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Changing from one currency t another is a service and you will have to pay for it.

To pay as little as possible use credit cards for as much as you can and pull walking around money from your checking account through an ATM associated with a bank. This will typically involve a fee of 1 to 3% of your money.

If you try to chance cash (and carrying it around is just silly) or trav checks (practically no place will take or change them) you will lose between 8 and 10% of your money - either in fees or in poor exchange rates.

Switz is not in the euro zone - they use francs.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 10:45 AM
  #15
 
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Changing from one currency t another is a service and you will have to pay for it.

That is the 1% conversion fee attached to my ATM withdrawal by my credit union (listed separately). It does not justify a US bank tacking on a flat fee of $3 to $5 or it's own percentage fee.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 01:46 PM
  #16
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Germany is still widely a cash culture - some places take credit cards, others don't. Many locally owned businesses, but also some big chains don't. The acceptance of cc's does not necessarily indicate better quality, by the way. A general rule is that no one will take plastic for small sums under 10 €. Get used to carrying some cash all the time.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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It does not justify a US bank tacking on a flat fee of $3 to $5 or it's own percentage fee.

Amen.

Banks do nothing for the flat fees and transaction costs with which they gouge their customers who use their ATMs and credit cards oversees. And I do not rationalize their greed as being but a small portion of my overall travel budget.

It´s foolish to pay these charges because it´s so easy to simply find a customer friendly bank which does not charge them. Banks which truly care about small customers deserve our business.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 03:08 PM
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I think the $5.00 Wells Fargo charges me for ATM withdrawals is a better deal than using my credit card, which charges 3%. When I withdraw cash, I take the max, which is about $500 worth of euros. If I charged $500 worth of expenses, it would cost $15.

That said, I usually use my credit card for major expenses because I earn frequent flyer miles.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 03:32 PM
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Pegontheroad,

Consider changing banks or finding a credit union.
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Apr 17th, 2012, 03:55 PM
  #20
 
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Pegontheroad, I like your thought process but carry it a bit farther. The checking account to which the ATM is linked, does it have any monthly charges, minimum balance requirements, are you charged for internet bill paying or for out of network ATM withdrawals in the USA? If yes to any of these or other checking account costs, your ATM withdrawals are effectively costing you more that just $5 each.

Same with your credit card; does it have an annual fee? 3% is 3% more than what many of us are paying for international credit card transactions. Some cards not only absorb the 1% currency conversion fee, they add no transactions and pay you cash back on every purchase.

These amounts might seem small but I typically receive checks totaling near $500 to $600 at the end of every year as cash back awards. Others receive free miles or other types of rewards, all in addition to the saved foreign transaction fees.

I know not everyone is interested in saving money; don´t want to be bothered by it, happy where they now bank. But there are others who enjoy the rewards of comparison bank shopping; drink better wine, spend an extra day on annual vacation.

It just takes the desire to make a change.
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