EURO CHECKS OR EURO CASH?

Old Sep 6th, 2004, 09:40 AM
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EURO CHECKS OR EURO CASH?

IN ITALY,HAS ANYONE EVER DEALT WITH A PROBLEM CASHING EURO TRAVELERS CHECKS? ALSO, BEST PLACE TO CASH? WE WILL HAVE SOME EURO CASH AND CREDIT CARDS, BUT FEEL SAFER WITH TRAVELERS CHECKS!THANKS FOR ANY INPUT!!!
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 09:53 AM
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I went to Spain about 8 months ago and some of the people in our group brought euro TC's. They paid fees to get those, but thought they could be used in stores, restraunts, etc. They found it impossible to use those in such places and ended up cashing them at banks, and of course, paying even more fees for that. Forget the euro TC's, and forget buying more than about 50 euros before leaving home. Take your ATM card and use that to get all of your cash. If it makes you feel better, take TC's in US dollars as a back-up ONLY. (I'm assuming you're American??) We have had countless threads on this issue and all of the savvy Fodorites agree that the ATM will give you the best exchange rate, the lowest fees, and the most convenience.
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 09:53 AM
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You will need to g oto a bank to cash you travelers checks. Many other places will not take themat all - and the ones that do will probably charge you a fee for doing so.

(Simply, they are no longer the same as cash - too much risk for the merchants. You will do much better simply pulling cash from your checking account with your ATM card - easier and much cheaper.)
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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YOU HAVE BEEN POSTING MESSAGES ON THIS BOARD FOR SOME TIME.

HAVE YOU NOT YET DISCOVERED THAT:

1. IT'S RUDE TO SHOUT
2. TRAVELLERS' CHEQUES - IN ANY CURRENCY - ARE A REALLY, REALLY, LOUSY IDEA IN EUROPE. LEAVE THEM IN THE MUSEUM WHERE YOU FOUND THEM
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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The decision is easy.
If you "feel safer with Traelers Checks" then take travelers checks.
If saving money is more important, then use ATMs.

Has anyone ever dealt with a problem cashing euro traveler's checks or getting someone to accept them? Yes! Most places won't take them, period. If they do, be prepared to show various identification and possibly pay a fee to cash them as well.

Has anyone ever had a problem getting a place to accept Euro cash (assuming that was the local currency)? Not to my knowledge.
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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And you might think about taking the checks in USD instead of Euro. If you don't use them, then just re-deposit them when returning.
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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If you must have travelers checks (assuming you are American) take them in U.S. dollars. As mentioned you can re-deposit them if you don't use them, or better yet just hold on to them for the next trip. Other posters have mentioned having the same $200 in TC's for years! Plan to go to a bank to cash them, don't count on being able to spend them directly in a shop or restaurant.

Wait until you are in Europe to get Euro. ATM cards hooked to your checking account are the most economical and efficient method.
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 11:12 AM
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THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR RESPONSES! I WILL USE THE ATM,WITH FEW AMERICAN TC'S IN TOW!
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 11:15 AM
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I would suggest that if you take USD Travelers Checks and don't use them on your trip, redeposit them into your account as soon as you return. Why hold on to them and have AMEX (assuming Amex, but can be BA or Thomas Cook or others) be using your money until you do cash them.

It is also recommended you take at least two ATM cards, just in case one of them is damaged (eaten) by the machine.

And do not forget to advise the banks that issue your cards (ATM & Credit) that you will be traveling - where, and dates - to avoid having a "hold" put on their use while overseas.

 
Old Sep 6th, 2004, 01:08 PM
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CHOURAC....for God's sake turn off your capslock, typing all in CAPITALS is the equivalent of shouting, and is considered rude, as flanneruk tried to tell you.
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Old Sep 16th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Guys,

Although everyone keeps saying that it is a lousy idea to take traveller's check to Europe, you have to understand that not everyone in this forum is American, therefore other countries/banks might charge different fees for using ATM cards overseas or traveller's checks. So, since I need to buy Euros and traveller's checks soon, what kind of fees are we talking about here? 3%, 5%? I'd like to have an actual figure so that I can make my decision here based on my own country's fees.

Thank you so much!

Daniele
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Old Sep 16th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Dear chouraq,

Unless you are visually impaired, it is not nice to type in all caps.

Not only is it considered shouting, it implies that you are trying to draw attention in an unwarranted manner, and it is more difficult to read.

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Old Sep 16th, 2004, 03:17 PM
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I think Travelers Cheques are a BAD idea. (notice that it is OK to put a single word in all caps, just not your whole message).

But if for some reason you MUST take traveler's cheques, I'm the one person who says DO take them in EUROS, not in US dollars. Why? The idea of being able to deposit them when you get home is absurd. On the last day or two of your trip, simply spend all you have, or put them all on your final hotel bill -- end of that problem. Why else? People sometimes say that you can use TC's for emergencies, yet since about the only place that will cash them, at least at a decent rate, is a bank. Can someone tell me how you can plan all your emergencies during banking hours -- and guarantee no emergencies on the weekend? The other thing is if you find someone who will cash them you will get full face value for them IF they are in EURO. If you had them in US dollars, you are totally at their mercy of what they might feel in the mood to give you. We know how most hotels are notorious for the worst exchange rates, for example. Can't you see trying to cash a US dollar TC at a store and having them say, "well at our current rate we'll give you 50 euro for each dollar"?
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Old Sep 16th, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Hmmm. That wouldn't be so bad would it? I meant 50 euro cents for each dollar.
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Old Sep 16th, 2004, 06:01 PM
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Daniele, your point is well-taken that not everyone here is American. I don't know where you are from, but I have met people from other parts of the world who also say that using the ATM card is the best deal. Have you asked your bank what the fees are? I would be intereseted to know where you are from and how much the fees would be, that way if I meet someone else from your country, I can offer better help.

I wish I could answer your question as to exactly how much the fees are, but I never exchange cash or TC's any more so I honestly don't know. All I know is that back in the days when I was still comparing ATM rates to exchanging at a bank or exchange booth, I always got a considerably better rate at the ATM. I hope someone else can be of more assistance.
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Old Sep 16th, 2004, 07:20 PM
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What exactly is this unforeseen emergency that only traveler's checks can resolve? And why wouldn't a backup ATM card, credit card or a little USD cash get you out of that jam?
If you had a real emergency such as an illness or injury requiring hospitalization OR were incarcerated in Europe, a few hundred dollars in traveler's checks won't help a whole lot. At the very least, you would need someone back home wire you lots of money or help plan a medical evac.
And your credit card company may provide help in this regard.

If its a simple matter of the ATM network being down, you can:
1-go into the bank to make an over-the-counter cash advance with debit or credit card

2-use credit cards to pay for hotels, meals, etc.

3-bring along 5 or 6 USD 20s and exchange some of those in a bind.

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Old Sep 17th, 2004, 02:35 AM
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For convenience and savings, an ATM card (with four digit pin) and a Visa card (with Cirrus and/or Star logo on back) will let you pay for most things and should give you at least 300$/day. Let your bank/credit card company know you are going to be using the card(s) in Italy. I neglected to do this on my last trip and ended up spending 20 minutes on the phone with clerks from Italy and the USA.

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Old Sep 18th, 2004, 03:14 PM
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P_M,

I'm from Brazil! We usually take TC's when we travel, but withdrawals at ATM have recently become an option to us. I'll check what kind of rates/fees my bank will charge us, but still I'm trying to figure out what is the commission rates in Spain to exchange TCs. I was trying to find it on the Internet, and I'm not sure whether I was looking at the right thing. Apparently it is about 1%, but I'd like to get some info from someone who has actually exchanged TCs recently in Spain.

Anyway, I feel better if I don't rely solely on my ATM card, which could get stolen, have a bug, be "eaten" by the ATM machine, and so on.We'll probably take some euros in cash, specially because we'll arrive on a Friday, close to a long holiday that will last until Tuesday.

I hope I can figure this out before I leave!

Daniele
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Old Sep 18th, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Daniele, since ATM cards are such a new option for Brazilians, I can certainly understand why you are not comfortable with relying completely on that. Now that I know more about the situation, I do not blame you for wanting to take euro TC's as a back-up. Maybe you could e-mail a few Spanish banks to ask that question, or contact Spain's Ministry of Tourism. Good luck, and I hope you will find the info you need.
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Old Sep 19th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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P_M,

Just to clarify what I said and not give others the impression we live in the jungle, as some think:
ATMs are a relatively new option for us to use abroad, but debit and credit cards are widely used in Brazil. In the past, you could withdraw money from your credit card (and not straight from your cash account back home) when we travelled, but you know how expensive this can get with all the fees and commissions.

And for those who plan to travel to Brazil some day, you can get money from ATMs very easily here, using Visa, Mastercard or Cirrus cards. American Express cards are not so widely accepted as other cards.

Daniele
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