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

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

Old May 7th, 2010, 07:02 AM
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>>>If you belong to AAA, they exchange at the current rate for NO fee
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Old May 7th, 2010, 02:25 PM
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Well i am in Australia and heading to Europe next month. I plan on using ATMs with my Visa debit card but i have been told by my credit union that the fee each time i use the machine will be $2.50 and the exhange fee will be 2.5% on monies taken. After ringing a few banks this seemed to be the best rate i could get....does anyone know of anything better???
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Old May 7th, 2010, 09:30 PM
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deeza: "does anyone know of anything better???"

That is fairly typical. It is still cheaper than exchanging currency or buying at home.

The 2.5% id mostly likely the general 1% visa fee plus 1.5% tacked on by the bank. Some banks may offer a teensy bit better deal -- but not enough better IMO to warrant messing w/ opening new accounts/getting new cards.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 09:50 PM
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deeza - Are you talking about a Visa prepaid card? Every time I run into someone from Australia in Italy that is what they are using, not a regular ATM card. The prepaid Visa's are expensive to use. You have to pay to load money on it and pay to withdraw.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 07:04 AM
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The visa card is an actual debit card not a prepaid card...it is linked to my cheque account which is very handy. My husband agrees with you janisj..its not worth messing around opening new accounts etc....I just hate giving the banks more of my money...oh well...!
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Old May 11th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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AAA sells you euros at THEIR current rate, not at the interbank rate you get at an ATM. Currently the AAA rate is about $1.35 per euro, compared to $1.27, or a 6%+ markup. It might be worth it for the convenience, or it might not--it just depends on your situation.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Euro is currently below $1.24 now. And looking ahead, it could drop further, according to Bloomberg:

"UBS AG said the euro will reach $1.15 by December and $1.10
by the end of 2011, in a report dated yesterday, trimming its
previous forecasts for the currency to trade at $1.30 and $1.25, respectively."
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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....actually I just read another report predicting parity between the euro and the USD by the end of 2011...
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Old May 16th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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OK, one twist on the original question. I will be staying at B&B's which do not accept credit cards as payment and want cash. I will be using two rooms each night for my family of four. My debit card daily limit is too low to pay for the rooms and any other items that I may need to pay cash for. SO I bought Euros here. Not a ton, but enough to pay for a few nights so that I can then use the ATM's when I arrive but will have enough starting cash. Shopped around, got an OK rate. Maybe the Euro gets cheaper shortly. Maybe not. Either way, I'm going and the B&B's I'm staying in my first six nights will all get paid cash. This IS a lively discussion, isn't it!?
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Old May 16th, 2010, 02:11 PM
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DrT: To get over that problem, many of us ask our banks to temporarily raise out daily limits. Most Banks do it w/o any hassle. Also -- if you and your wife each have a car on the same account, you each can withdraw up to the daily limit.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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The bottomline take message I got from reading this and other threads is this:

-have some backup US dollars on you, as I do here anyway, about 200$ (that is just for MY peace of mind)
-use an ATM at the airport for initial euros (also probably about $200-300)
-alert my bank and capitol one cards that I will be traveling on said dates
-use my capitol one card for everything else I can since there is no fee with it.

Does this make sense?

as a backup, I think I will set up a schwab account and card since they also don't charge fees. Last time I went to europe, I didn't know to alert my credit card and capitol one was frozen on me halfway through the trip. I ended up having to use my visa card which cost me about 3% on all purchases.

oh yes, and I will check with wells fargo to make sure they don't charge overseas atm fees.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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I read this on my bank's website:

Wells Fargo will assess a $5.00 fee for ATM cash withdrawals made outside of the United States and a 3% foreign currency conversion fee for Point of Sale purchases made with your ATM Card or Check Card. The owner or operator of the non-Wells Fargo ATM may also charge an additional fee.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 04:58 AM
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ncounty--in Europe, a bank ATM will not charge an additional fee. Wells Fargo seems to be quite aggressive in charging fees.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 06:05 AM
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I wrote to them, Paul, and they confirmed the $5 fee but no mention of the 3% fee. I wonder if that is additional only for point of sale purchases, like when you use it as a debit card rather than just withdrawing money from an atm.

They did say that they allowed my particular type of account 4 free atm withdrawals per month from non-wells fargo machines. I can manage ten days fine with 4 atm visits.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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I take out the maximum amount per transaction in a foreign ATM. I get charged the fees so may as well get the most currency at one time.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2010, 11:19 AM
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As an FYI, I bank with Chase and I learned today that they do not charge a transaction fee per se to get Euros here in the U.S., just the exchange rate. While it appears they pad the exchange rate a bit (about 1%), it is significantly more cost effective (about $4 vs $15) to get Euros here rather than from an ATM in Europe. Chase charges $3 + 3% for ATM withdrawls & 3% on credit card charges (about the highest around). But, I live in Chicago and have to go to the main building, as my local branch does not have Euros, so it might not be feasible for everyone.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2010, 11:26 AM
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soccer1: I doubt that is true - very much doubt it.

What rate are they quoting you?
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Old Aug 2nd, 2010, 11:37 AM
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It's a hell of a lot more than 1%....at this instant in time, the euro = $1.3175...check what chase wants for each euro right now
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Old Aug 2nd, 2010, 01:45 PM
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Yet another traveler falling victim to the ole "no fee" ploy, simply quoting "the exchange rate" and not actual numbers.

If chase was indeed selling you euros at the interbank rate + 1% then 100 euros would cost you a net of $133.

soccer1, please tell us the real $ it will cost you to get 100 euros at Chase Chicago. I'll bet you it isn't $133.
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 06:20 AM
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When I was in Paris, I found the best rates at the time were at the local Post Office.

Jesse
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