EXCHANGING MONEY

Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 09:52 AM
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EXCHANGING MONEY

I will be travelling with my mom to the UK in april and was curious about when we should exchange money? should we do it when we first arrive in the airport, hotel..where will be get the best exchange rates? also is it better to use a credit card vs travellers cheques? I have done some research but the info I have read is varied. some say use a cc but then some books also say that you could risk being over charged if you use a credit card..please help we have some time obviously but I want to make sure we are all set once the time comes. Thanks
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:12 AM
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This question is asked here about once a week - - though not always specifically about the UK and the purchase of GBP (using USD? you don't say from what country you will originate, nor even from which continent - - not that it matters that much), so be prepared for someone chiding you, not to have looked at previous answers.

Like http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34697039

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:26 AM
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Majority opinion is that using an ATM to withdraw local currency is the best deal overall, beating either travelers checks or exchanging money, both for convenience and economy.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:41 AM
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Listen to Rex! More..Research! Talk with your bank. England/UK is tourist friendly. English banks are 'stuffy'. Welch banks are practical..Obtain a debit card. Be sure your account is loaded. This card can be used to obtain local currency at a 'best' rate. You will be charged a machine fee (each transaction) and a conversion fee as well as the amount you draw. Learn limits. Use a credit card for most transactions. Fees will depend on the card. UK prices are in pounds. Learn how to translate them into your local currency. I assume USA. Roughly a one pound price is equal to a $2 price. Do not use Airport or hotel money services, they charge more for conversions and may add a service fee. Convenience? Try American Express. If you bring AX Travellers Checks, be sure to have records of their numbers. Keep the numbers in a separate place. Keep and safeguard all receipts.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Trav Checks are not recommended - since you usually have to pay to buy them, you have to pay a fee to cash them and you also lose on your rate of exchange - which is often 3/4 times as much as that charged by your bank ATM or credit card company.

There are differences in CC companies- so check with yours to see what fee they charge above the interbank exchange rate (that used by banks exchanging millions of dollars). This may be as high s 3% - some are as low as 1%. If you change cash or checks you may pay 9 or 10%.

Also - very few places (hotels, shops, restaurants) are willing to take Trav Checks - you have to find a bank willing to change them for you - or an AmEx office if that's the kind you've bought - a big waste of time and effort.

In short - use your CC whenever possible and pull cash from your checking acount (savings won;t work) at ATMs for walking around money.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Hi locke, travelers checks are not that useful anymore.

I would have two ATM debit cards from two different checking accounts. And two different credit cards.

Now some people do not agree but I always like to have some money on me for the country I am arriving in. A lot of people get the country's money at an ATM at the airport they arrive at but one thing to keep in mind is if for any reason the power is down you will not be able to access an ATM. I even keep cash at home for this very reason. It doesn't happen often of course but if it does it is nice to have some cash on you. I always make sure I have US money with me also so I have it if needed when I return home.

When using your credit card do make sure the credit card is billed in the local (where you are) currency..don't let them bill you in US dollars when you are in the UK.

How nice that you and your mother will be taking a trip together, have a wonderful time!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:08 AM
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I just asked this on another older thread here. So should I take it that despite rising fees on most credit cards and from banks, it's still better to do atm withdrawals for money and use credit cards for as many charges as possible??? Or is this only good advice if you have specific credit cards with better rates?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 12:27 PM
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>...it's still better to do atm withdrawals for money and use credit cards for as many charges as possible??? <

In general, yes.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 12:55 PM
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If you are using a US ATM card to withdraw money from ATMs in the UK, you will not incur any charge from the UK bank. If there is a machine charge, as a previous poster mentioned, it is charged by your US bank, not by the machine or the UK bank which operates it. You should check with your US bank to find out what their policy is on currency withdrawals. Some banks charge as much as five dollars per international withdrawal; other banks charge no fee per withdrawal. I have never paid a fee per transaction at an ATM overseas.

Conversion fees are in addition to this fee.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 01:02 PM
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I recommed just getting the money from the ATM at Heathrow, there is a machine right after you pass thru customs. You will get a charge fro a few bucks from your bank for ATM use but you will also get a better conversion rate. Just take money in big chunks, not $20 here and there.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 01:18 PM
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excuse me rex for not putting that i would be coming from the US...my bad...also i did flip thru the various replies from other people's questions but there is no way of pulling out all answers that pertained to exchanges, etc and I am not scrolling through hundreds of previous answers items to find a response. there really was no need for the chiding...thanks
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 02:00 PM
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I feel like I didn't actually chide... i said to be prepared for someone to chide you...

My reply was the very first reply in the post that I cited.
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 02:17 AM
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If you have a Bank of America ATM card there is no charge to take money out from a Barclays Bank ATM.
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 03:50 AM
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Pretty near ANY credit card arrangement should be better than exchanging actual cash when you arrive. I've never found this latter arrangement to be a good deal. Look at the published exchange rates at any money exchange facility for 'Buying' and 'Selling', and you'll quickly see why this is so. That said, different credit cards have different charges. Check before you leave, and choose the best and most convenient.
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