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Euro Exchange - ATM credit, ATM Debit card, or travelers checks

Euro Exchange - ATM credit, ATM Debit card, or travelers checks

Old Dec 11th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Euro Exchange - ATM credit, ATM Debit card, or travelers checks

With the Euro/Dollar exchange not so good right now, can anyone advise me what would be the best way to obtain cash when visiting Austria next June, ATM credit card, ATM debit card, or travelers checks. Thanks so much.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 05:17 PM
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ATM debit card which must be attached to your checking account and have a 4 digit PIN. If you use your credit card you will get a good rate of exchange, but will also be charged interest on the loan you are taking against the card. (The rate depends on the rules of your particular card.)

Trav Checks are close to useless. No one wants them and even some banks will not change them. Also you have to pay to buy them and then get a terrible rate of exchange - like 8 to 10% more than the Interbank rate. With your ATM card you should pay only 1 or 2% over the interbank rate.

The above applies to cash.

You should pay for whatever you can with your credit card - which for charges versus cash withdrawals (loans) should charge the Interbank rate plus 1 or 2%.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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See how much your credit card issuer charges for you to use your card in foreign countries and then see how much your bank will charge your account when you use your ATM card.

You may be better off using your ATM card and getting the max you can to pay for most meals and even some of your hotels depending on the charges imposed by your credit card issuer and your bank unless there is some other advantage to using your credit card like airline miles, cash rebates, etc.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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Check with your bank and your credit card companies before you leave to figure out what the surcharges are for use of your card overseas. Visa itself charges 1% and the banks may charge an additional 2%. Example: my Chase SW Airlines credit card was going to be 3% surcharge on the exchange rate to use it in Italy last fall. My Credit Union Visa was only 1%, because all they charged was Visa's 1%. American Express charges only 2% (my Costco cash rebate Amex gives me 2% on "travel" so I used that in Italy for train tickets, which I was told qualified for the 2%; better than using my Credit Union Visa).

My Credit Union ATM charged only 1% to withdraw cash from an ATM - and no other fees for up to six withdrawals. The banks in Italy did not charge me any fee. But many banks charge you a few bucks (plus probably a surcharge on the exchange rate) for each ATM withdrawal. Again, check with your bank.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 07:32 PM
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To clarify, I didn't mean those credit card percentages were for CASH withdrawal, only for use as credit.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Hi Ann,

Do NOT use your credit card to get cash.

It is charged as a "cash advance" and you pay interest on it.



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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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#1- ATM debit card to withdraw cash from your home checking account.

#2- Credit card for purchases (but not to get cash). How bad you get stung on a 'foreign transaction' depends on the terms of your particular credit card.

#3- If you want to have TC's as a backup for emergencies, plan to cash them at a bank (not spend directly at a business).
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 12:57 PM
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If possible, take a Capital One credit card with you abroad. They don't charge a foreign currency surcharge, and they also absorb the 1% fee that Visa/Mastercard charges for foreign currency transactions.

Additionally, it might be worth putting your travel money in a Bank of America checking account with a debit card. Here is an excerpt from their website- while I realize it doesn't mention Austria specifically, this makes my life so much easier when I'm traveling internationally because I don't run into the problem of having B of A charge me for withdrawing money from non-B of A ATM'S. And if you happen to pass through any of these countries, you can grab some cash.

Hope this helps

Travelling Internationally?

Use your ATM card or Check Card within our Global ATM Alliance in the countries shown with no fees.

Barclays (United Kingdom)
BNP Paribas (France)
China Construction Bank (China)
Deutsche Bank (Germany)
Satander Serfin (Mexico)
Scotiabank (Canada)
Westpac (Australia and New Zealand)
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Thank you, Kylie- that was really helpful to post the list of BofA international partner no-fee ATMs!
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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Absolutely-- I know I've taken advantage of these ATMs many times abroad. And let's face it...saving even a few dollars helps offset the atrocious exchange rate right now!

Also, I contacted Deutsche Bank yesterday to see whether or not they have ATMs in Austria, and unfortunately, they do not. I'm leaving in less than two weeks for Austria, but will be flying into Munich. In light of this info, I will probably stop by a DB ATM in the airport before we head off to Austria where we're staying.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Be aware that the BA policy of no charges using their partner banks ONLY applies when those bank's ATM's are in their "home country". In other words, you won't be charged a fee using a Deutschebank ATM in GERMANY, but you will be charged a fee using one in ITALY.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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No one can give you 'accurate' advice. The time period is too great. The Euro/Dollar rate is great for European travellers. The pendulum may swing. Your question should be: What is the least expensive way to access/exchange USA Dollars for Euros? Often it is possible to trade dollars for euros on the street or directly at shops for low exchange rates. Safety is a concern that need be factored in. TCs may be the safest. Using your Debit/Check card at a local ATM is usually your most practical method. Comments?
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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Everyone wants to discourage you from getting TCs, however, my emergency "stash" saved a recent trip to London. I always get some "just in case", thinking that would never come, but come it did! You should be able to get them without charge at your credit union if you are a member. We are all too dependent on electronics, forgetting how quickly problems could happen. Bon voyage!
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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kerrygirl, while it may be true that it is often possible to get TC's without "charge", what difference does that make if the place cashing them charges you an extra 10% to the current exchange rate and possibly a cashing fee on top of that? Vitually no one in Europe will cash a US dollar TC at current bank rates for euros. The ATM route remains the BEST for getting cash -- at least if you have any concern for saving money, which this poster has made clear she does.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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NeoPatrick: <i>while it may be true that it is often possible to get TC's without &quot;charge&quot;, what difference does that make if the place cashing them charges you an extra 10% to the current exchange rate and possibly a cashing fee on top of that? </i>

Did you miss the part about EMERGENCY??? Most people aren't exactly obsessing over the exchange rate when they've just had, say, their ATM and credit cards stolen.

That's the only reason to get Traveler's Checks these days. My credit union (oops, another reason to join one!) will give them to me without charge as well. I didn't take any on my last trip to Europe, but I have before. If there's no emergency, I just cash them in when I get home. No fees, no charges, but if I lost my ATM card, I'd have been glad to have the TC's just in case.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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No, I didn't miss that part, but what does it have to do with making the point that you can get them at &quot;no charge&quot; when you really can't? That's totally false information, and gave the totally wrong impression that it didn't cost kerrygirl anything to buy and use those TCs. Perhaps the post should be more honest -- &quot;it will cost a small fortune, but in an emergency, who cares?&quot;

There. That's more like it.

Andrew, your post makes a clear point about buying them, but the post I reacted to does not!
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 05:58 PM
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OK, let's see if I can make it clear to you this time Patrick:

- you can get Traveler's Checks for NO FEE to take along on a trip in an emergency.
- if you don't use them (no emergency) they cost you NOTHING.
- in an emergency, you'll have to cash them in perhaps but the lousy exchange rate is a small price to pay for having instant funds when you badly need them.

I'm guessing most people understood this clearly a few posts ago.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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Andrew, now it's my turn. Let's see if I can make this CLEARER TO YOU. I guess you didn't read my full post where I said, &quot;Andrew, your post makes a clear point about buying them, but the post I reacted to does not!&quot;

You've repeated yourself very well, and it still makes total sense. You've said NOTHING that I would argue with. OK?

But I reacted to a post about buying AND USING TC's that made a special point of saying that they were purchased at no charge, as if to suggest there was no cost in buying and USING them. That was very misleading, and I pointed that out.

On a post that was started all about price and saving money getting foreign currency, I think it is very important NOT to give the impression that you can buy and USE TC's for free. Sure they can be a great thing to have for an emergency. But please, let's not try to give the idea that they cost nothing to buy and USE.

Now is THAT clearer to you?
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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By the way, is this sort of like saying &quot;I found a garage in the middle of Manhattan, where they let me pull my car in and park and didn't charge a thing to do so&quot; but leaving out the part where they charged $45 when I left the garage? Saying there was no fee to buy TC's in one thing. But let's point out that there is usually a big fee to cash them (if not a separate fee, then a big difference in currency exhange rates). Sure that fee or cost may be worth it if you need to use them, I'd just like people to be aware that it is there so they can know about it.
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Old Dec 15th, 2007, 04:32 AM
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The last time I checked, Austrian banks had some of the highest traveler check-cashing fees in Europe, on the order of $8 PER check. Then, add at least 5% additional markup on the exchange rate. On a $20 check, thats a 50% loss! So, IF you must bring travelers checks for emergencies, then at least bring $100 denomination checks so you won't get bitten so hard.
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