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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 Aug 14th, 2011, 06:12 PM
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This has to be the best thread on ATMs, exchange rate info, etc. that i have seen on the web. I have been searching many other travel site forums and they don't go in depth like this one. I will be asking my CU tomorrow on their ATM card fees and use over seas. I was initially gonna apply for the CapitalOne credit card since they have no foreign transaction fees, but i will ask my CU if their debit/credit Visa card also voids transaction fees. Btw, i asked Bank of America the other day about how much they charge for U.S dollars to Euro and they said if you exchange $1,000 U.S or more, they will waive the $7.50 shipping fee. However, they told me their exchange rate is 'retail' whatever that means which is $1.5046. From what i've seen on the web, the current exchange rate is $1.4273, so i would be getting ripped off pretty bad. Will post again tomorrow. Thanks.
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Old Aug 15th, 2011, 05:24 AM
  #102  
 
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See this Link

http://irelandyes.wordpress.com/2011...10-money-tips/
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Old Aug 15th, 2011, 05:34 AM
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You NEVER get the rate in the newspaper. My banks add 5-7%.
Every currency transaction has two components that you need to know: the fee and the exchange rate.

Banks, exchange bureaux, hotels, guy on back street...they all get to set the exchange rate at whatever rate THEY want. Thye only thing that is fixed is the rate in the newspaper. That is the rate that, with volume, that they can BUY their euros at. It is not reflective at what they will SELL it at. They need to make a profit on the business. A bank in NA selling euros to you has a different overhead than one in Europe.

So when I see 'no fees', I know they are tampering with the exchange rate. They are not charities.

Occasionally you will get a better rate in some countries than the posted rate for cash, since the locals want cold hard cash. We found that in Turkey.
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Old Aug 15th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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I found out my CU ATM card charges 1% on any foreign transaction plus $1.50 ATM fee. They said the ATM card is not part of all partner networks in Europe thus i will have to pay the $1.50 fee every time i withdrawal cash which is no big deal. I'm pretty sure the ATM machines in Europe will charge me an ATM fee also, but probably a couple bucks at most.

I also found out my Chase credit card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. Last month, i was sent an offer for a Capital One credit card which i discarded, but i might have to contact them again to see if the offer is there...
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Old Aug 15th, 2011, 05:50 PM
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btw, i am not going to Ireland, but Spain and France.
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Old Aug 15th, 2011, 09:41 PM
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"<i>I'm pretty sure the ATM machines in Europe will charge me an ATM fee also, but probably a couple bucks at most. </i>"

Nope. The only fees will be assessed by your own bank or CU. (assuming you use a bank-owned machine and not a privately owned one like in a convenience shop)
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Old Aug 16th, 2011, 01:30 AM
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"Nope. The only fees will be assessed by your own bank or CU. (assuming you use a bank-owned machine and not a privately owned one like in a convenience shop)"

This is the key.. Ireland does not to my knowledge have any privately owned ATM. UK on the other hand does, this includes the bit in the north east of Ireland under British jurisdiction so watch out for none bank machines up there.
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Old Aug 16th, 2011, 04:36 AM
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>>>Michel_Paris on Aug 15, 11 at 9:34am
You NEVER get the rate in the newspaper.<<<

I always get the rate in the newspaper + 1% my credit union tacks on (they didn't charge even 1% until the last couple of years). Perhaps you should change banks. You can check what rate you were actually charged when you get your bank statement by using the history functions on Oanda or XE. You can search the transaction date to get the rates for that date.
http://www.oanda.com/currency/historical-rates/

>>>I found out my CU ATM card charges 1% on any foreign transaction plus $1.50 ATM fee.<<<

That's a decent rate. You want to withdraw the max each time from an ATM that has your logo (Star, Cirrus, etc). You need to know your daily maximum withdrawal limit and convert to euro before withdrawing so you don't ask more than your daily limit. At today's rates, $400 = 278€, so if your limit is $400, you can't ask the machine for 300€ or your transaction will be rejected (300€=$430). I haven't been to Spain lately, but in Italy many machines only have 250€ as your maximum choice.

>>>I also found out my Chase credit card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.<<<

If you have a credit union credit card, you will probably get better rates with it. You need to notify them in advance you will be traveling and using the cards so they don't block it.
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Old Aug 16th, 2011, 06:09 PM
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Good info everyone!
My ATM debit card has the VISA logo which i could use for purchases at restaurants,stores, etc. but i only want to use it for cash withdrawals at ATMs. The CU told me that their credit card has the same foreign transaction fee(1%) just like my debit. Basically, the terms are the same for both cards. I think i will apply for the CapitalOne credit card since i plan to travel annually anyway. It would be worthwhile. Thanks again.
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Old Aug 16th, 2011, 06:24 PM
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oh forgot to mention that my CU said i could only withdraw $500 at a time
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Old Aug 17th, 2011, 03:54 AM
  #111  
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Glad my original post almost a year ago is still helping people. We have now been to Ireland twice and never had trouble getting money out of an ATM. We did make sure we told our CU that we would be going overseas, how long we would be gone, approximately how much we would need to withdraw each time, and had a notice put on our VISA that we would be using it a lot during that time period, so they would not think someone had stolen it and was using it illegally. NO problems with any of this. We can't wait to go visit Ireland again; our dream is to spend 6 months a year there IF retirement is possible in the next 5 years. I pray the global economy will improve for us ALL!
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Old Aug 17th, 2011, 05:05 AM
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I went to Africa in March and phoned bank to inform them. For ATM card, there was no process to tag the bank accounts. For my VISA card, yes.
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 07:25 PM
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I'm headed to Rome soon and I plan to use my ATM card to withdraw money at the airport when I arrive. However, I know I need about $1000 USD the first day to pay for my vacation rental. My maximum that I can take out per day is $500 UDS. My bank suggested I request a cash advance from a bank in Rome. That way I can take out whatever is in my account. Is this a bad idea? Would I essentially be opening myself up to getting screwed with more fees and bad exchange rates?
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 07:32 PM
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<B>Matt_Stone</B>: A cash advance will be treated like a credit card loan. Usually a bad idea. Normally you can just ask your bank ro raise your daily limit --even if only temporarily.

I've never had my bank refuse to raise mine-- usually to $1000 but once to $1500..
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 07:49 PM
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When my husband inadvertently destroyed his new ATM/debit card instead of the expired one, I panicked as I was planning to take both his and my card with me to Ireland. Our bank very kindly gave us each a new ATM-only card which meant that I could withdraw 3 times my daily limit each day if necessary, using my ATM/debit and the two ATM cards.

Since I have banked at the same local bank for 35+ years I suspect they would also have raised my daily limit had I asked.
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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I try to minimize the cash I need by using foreign trans fee credit cards. Advance payment. For car rentals I use AMEX card with special flat rate PRIMARY rental liability policy. I exchange cash in advance at US. Usually with Bank of America or Wells Fargo. I bank with both...and get money at the local branch with advance sign up. The extra $18 or so cost is worth the convenience (not having to stand there with bags, in line, etc.) and confidence I have knowing I got the money. I do not want to waste my precious time looking for a post office/bank/exchange bureau or atm. There is a safety risk too. I can prepare a mini easy cheat sheet for exchange rate...since I know it in advance. So I pay UP to $18 extra on $1,000 exchanged over 30 days for two vacations. That is 1.8%. CONSIDER a 3% atm fee (charged by some banks) is more!! Some charge a rate per transaction too. LOOK up what your bank charges. http://flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php...reign_Exchange

YES, you take out as you need it. BUT IT IS NOT NECESSARILY CHEAPER!!! There are fees AND exchange rates. I pay zero fees and an extra 1.8% in exchange rate. Eighteen dollars on $1000. Over 30 days (two vacations) how many ATM trips are you going to do. What are the fees? How much time are you losing finding ATM, keeping receipts, then checking your bank statments when you get home. DO the math. Consider the convenience. There is NO wrong answer.

Thanks for all inputs and points of view.
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 12:17 PM
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DrT: Sorry -- but you are wrong. One of my banks is Wells Fargo and I used to bank w/ BofA. I'm a 'high value' customer w/ Wells Fargo, and you ain't getting € from either bank for 1.8%
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 07:12 PM
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janisj - I think Bank of America charges a delivery fee and they are also giving a rate at this minute of 1.32 when the actual rate is 1.25 (on Oanda). That would make the cost $70 on $1000, not $18.
https://www5.bankofamerica.com/forei...erStart.action
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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kybourbon: yep - that seems more like it. IME it works out closer to 9-10% when fees are totaled.
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Old Jun 25th, 2012, 06:52 AM
  #120  
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I am very surprised my original post is still getting comments after all this time; especially on my birthday.

We did end up just getting money out of the ATM in the Shannon Airport concourse and everything went fine. I learned not to worry so much and just enjoy the beautiful country of Ireland.

We can't wait to return for a visit and then possibly spend half the year in Ireland after early retirement.
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