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Exchanging Dollars for Euros - Best before leaving or after arriving?

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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:14 AM
  #1
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Exchanging Dollars for Euros - Best before leaving or after arriving?

HELP, NEED ADVICE QUICK! We leave for Ireland Tuesday and my husband is thinking of bringing dollars with us and exchanging them when we arrive. Would it just be best to find an ATM as soon as we land and get the euros out of our account then?
I know there is a Bank at the Shannon Airport, is there also an ATM hear by that we could get a better exchange rate at? Thanks everyone! b.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:25 AM
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Bring a little cash (USD) and only exchange it for EUR if you cannot withdraw EUR from the ATM.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:25 AM
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Make sure you call your bank before you leave for Ireland to make sure they don't block your ATM card from access overseas.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:26 AM
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i hope you have called your bank already if you are leaving on Tuesday. ATM gives best exchange rate.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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Would it just be best to find an ATM as soon as we land and get the euros out of our account then?

Generally yes.

Of course the devil is in the details as they say. What will your bank charge you for the ATM withdrawal? Some banks (and I'm talking about your local bank) can be very greedy about what part of the transaction they will let you keep.

However, unless you are familiar with an exchange bureau that has exchange rates (include all fees and commissions) less that those you'll pay for an ATM withdrawal, it's probably best to use the ATM once you arrive in Ireland.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:32 AM
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Changing $US into Euro before you leave the US is like buying a crate of oranges in Chicago before you fly to Florida, just in case Florida is out of oranges or the 1st store you come to happens to be closed.

It's ok to pack one or 2 in your carryon, but not a whole crate.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:45 AM
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Use you ATM card. Bring some cash in case of an emergency.

Cambios charge exorbitant amounts, as much as 10%, to exchange currencies.

Use your ATM card for money for small purchases and your credit card for large purchases. Inform your bank and credit card company that you are travelling abroad if that is an unusual situation for you.

Thin
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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Many places want cash, especially when dealing with locals.
This is where I become confused and feel just exchanging our money ahead of time is the way to go. I really can't recall our local bank charging alot for the exchange.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 06:58 AM
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Wow. I've never heard of a bank ATM in Europe charging anything, let alone $15.

In my 20+ years of travel to Europe I can't recall ever being charged an ATM fee by the European bank.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 07:33 AM
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Why would you want to bring USD, exchange it for EUR at a terribly rip-off rate, instead of just getting EUR directly from an ATM when you arrive?

There are ATMS (bankomats) at all international airports.

Make sure your bank knows you'll be using your ATM abroad.

Horse is dead.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 07:38 AM
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J62
 
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Things must have changed. On my most recent trip to Europe last spring I was charged a 1% foreign transaction fee when I used an ATM. My CU allows 8 free ATM withdrawals per month.

If your bank or ATM system is charging you 3% + $5 that could add up quickly. No matter how you slice it though, 3% + $5 is still cheaper than the 7-8% it'll cost you to get euro cash in the US before departure - that's the question floridapugmom is asking.

The link you posted above is a nice comparison.

If these fees matter to you then you should find a different bank, such as Schwab, which absorbs the 1% forex fee and doesn't charge ATM fees, or others as shown on the bankrate.com link.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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I like to have as many methods as possible available to me to obtain cash when I travel. ATM after arrival is always my #1 method. But I also carry USD. And sometimes get ~$100 worth of the local currency at my bank before the trip. Credit card for the hotel bill and as a backup.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 08:54 AM
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ATM. The dollar-euro exchange rate is bad enough without adding further exchange rates
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Sep 13th, 2009, 09:27 AM
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Thanks to everyone! J62 you hit it right on the head. We bank with a Credit Union so I don't think we will have any ATM fees to worry about. Yes to you all, I have contacted our CU that we are going overseas and they have put a notice on our account that we will be using our debit card and VISA C.C. a lot in the next two weeks. The agent at the Credit Union that helped me set this up just got back from Bosnia so she knew just what to do. Our next step: to hit the ATM at Shannon Airport as soon as we arrive and get the euros we need for our first night stay at B&B. Yes, all of those we have reservations with want to be paid in cash. becky
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Sep 13th, 2009, 10:02 AM
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J62,

Loved your orange analogy. I'll always think of it that way, now!
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Sep 13th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Hubby and I are going to Germany on Tuesday and we bank at Chase, one of the larger US banks. We believed it was better for us to exchange a large number of US dollars for Euros before we get to Germany, so that's what we did. Chase does not add an additional currency conversion fee at local branches, but they do charge a 3% foreign transaction fee for all credit, debit, and ATM usage. So for us, having cash Euros on hand is the way to go.

Floridapugmom, at this late stage, can you even get Euros at your local branch? That may be another consideration. For example, I live in Houston, a big metropolitan city, but I couldn't exchange dollars for Euros at my local branch; they had to order them for me. The large downtown bank, however, can do the exchange on the spot.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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There is no reason to exchange at homem, except perhaps to get 100 euros for when you land to get you into town, but it is cheaper and easier to get money from an ATM.

It is not better to do large amounts at home, the rates are better over there, when using an ATM. Similarly do not bring US$ for exchange over there. Euros is not the local currency at banks at home, so you pay, US$ is not the currency of banks over there, so you pay for the convenience. ATMs give you a better rate than banks here or there for US$

Save money and don't need to carry large amounts of cahs with you. Win & Win.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 01:26 PM
  #18
J62
 
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mikes_girl01. You were likely conned by the old "no conversion fee at local branches" BS. It's not an intentional con, just that local tellers usually don't know any better.

What rate did they sell you Euros for? My guess is something about 1.56 USD/Euro, or about 7% worse than the rate you'd get at an ATM in Germany.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 01:35 PM
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>>>Chase does not add an additional currency conversion fee at local branches, but they do charge a 3% foreign transaction fee for all credit, debit, and ATM usage. So for us, having cash Euros on hand is the way to go.<<<

No additional currency conversion fee doesn't mean you didn't pay through the nose for your money. I don't know of any US banks that give decent exchange rates at local branches. Believing something is better and actually being better are two different things.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 01:49 PM
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Whenever I've gotten euros from Chase before a trip to Europe, there haven't been applied fees, but, yes indeed, the exchnage rate was poor--aboutt 7% worse than current rates in Europe.
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