Getting Cash in Europe

Old Oct 6th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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Getting Cash in Europe

Our credit card company tells us that there is a 3% charge on credit card charges and if you get cash on the credit card the charge is 3% plus 3%. Any suggestions on cheaper ways to get cash while in Europe?
Thanks for the advice.
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Old Oct 6th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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Get a debit card that doesn't charge currency exchange markup. I pay 0% to get local cash out of ATMs in Europe.
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Old Oct 6th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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Thanks - not sure if that's all banks but I'll give it a try.
Appreciate the info.
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Old Oct 6th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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#1 -- Don't EVER get cash as a credit card advance. You will pay far more than 3%.

#2 - Call all the providers of the ATM/debit cards you use and ask what transaction fee they charge for purchases. I just did this in anticipation of AMS/Paris trip next week (since I haven't been there for a couple of years) -- AmEx is lowest, at 2%, on purchases. All my multiple VISA accounts charge 3%. My bank (SunTrust) charges 3% plus $5.00 per ATM cash withdrawal, but they will waive the $5 charge. I know that these are far less than you would pay in conversion fees for getting Eu in advance.

There are reports here of card companies that charge no transaction fees but I don't remember which ones. Conversion fees and transaction fees are different, as I recall - conversion fees are based on the USD vs Eu rates. Transaction fees are the cost of using plastic to pay.

In Turkey last year, everyone wanted to be paid in US $$, so we had almost no transaction or conversion fees. Just didn't care for carrying that much cash around.

And even at 3%, with no withdrawal fees, the cost for $2,000 cash is $60 -- less than the price of lunch most places! You should also trust that you're getting a decent conversion rate, but I think those are all nearly the same since they're based on the daily exchange rate. Anyone else?
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Old Oct 6th, 2008, 07:08 PM
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Main point: getting cash on a credit card constitutes a loan which begins accruing interest the minute you withdraw the money.

CapitalOne has 0% debit cards, as does Schwab.
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Old Oct 6th, 2008, 08:09 PM
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Cash advance on a credit card is a bad deal anywhere - domestic or overseas. Never do it unless absolutely desperate.

Pittsburgher - don't trust that exchange rate will be OK. It may not. Ask.

Best bet is usually ATM card from a credit union. Shop around.
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 04:24 AM
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Hi P,

Getting cash on a credit card is a loan.

Getting cash with a debit/ATM card is not.

CapitalOne doesn't charge the 3% conversion fee.

If you use a debit/ATM card to get cash, you will pay a little above the interbank rate + whatever fees YOUR bank charges for out-of-network.

Charge everything you can. Get cash with an ATM card.

That is the cheapest and safest way.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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Get a debit card from your own bank and use an ATM.
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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Do NOT pull cash from a credit card. Just pull it from your checking account with a regular ATM card - then the only fee should be the 1 or 2% your bank charges above the Interbank rate.
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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I have just done a 3 country tour of the Baltic states and used both my credit and debit cards.
debit cards for money out of Atms and credit card for large purchases and resturant meals.this way you get the best of both worlds regard bank charges and exchange rates.
Asd others have said do not use credit card for withdrawls from atms unless desparate
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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BellCo Credit Union does not charge the conversion fee, on its ATM cards or its Visa credit cards. It is an outstanding institution on all fronts. I've been using it since the mid-70s.
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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I think that useing a debt card is the best way to go. The only fee will be an ATM fee.
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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The only fee will be an ATM fee.

Not if you play your cards right. My Schwab Investor Checking debit card offers:

0% foreign exchange markup
0% International Service Assessment
$0 ATM transaction fee (out-of-network fees are rebated)
$0 per year card fee
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 10:03 AM
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Robespierre- I didn't know that out-of-network fees are rebated. That must have changed since the last time I went to Europe. Thanks!
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