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getting enough Euros to pay for apartment

getting enough Euros to pay for apartment

Apr 18th, 2007, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Neopatrick -- our check to Amex was in U.S. dollars, on a U.S. account, and the Amex office gave us euros. Maybe there was a fee or a bad exchange rate (I don't think so), but we got the cash we needed, when we needed it. Yay!
aprillilacs is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 08:19 PM
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"Maybe there was a fee or a bad exchange rate. . ."

OK, that explains it. When we don't care if it costs 10% or so extra, that works just fine. Paying an extra $70 or so to get $700 may not be an issue.

But please don't refer to it as "no charge".
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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For the trip we recently took, my parents had a Visa travel card (money is on the card, not linked to a bank account). It worked out very well - we withdrew 1300 Euros in one transaction upon our arrival to pay for the balance of the apartment. No problems whatsoever. We also used Sleepinitaly.
nnolen is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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Was that Visa Travelcard like an AAA Visa Travel Card? If so, it charges you 7% on every foreign transaction, whether a purchase or an ATM withdrawal. In other words that 1300 euro withdrawal probably cost you a transaction fee of about $130 over usual ATM rates. That's a VERY high price to pay for a little convenience.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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In case it looks like my math was off above (it slightly was):

1300 euro @ 1.359 (today's rate) =$1767.00
7% currency conversion charge on $1767 = $123.69
This of course does not include the cost of purchasing a Visa Travel Card or of loading additional funds on it.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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It must have been different. It was through a credit union and we got a rate of approximately $1.40/1 Euro with no extra fee for conversion (other than the standard $2 ATM fee that almost every card charges). It was free to get the card and while you can be charged to put on additional funds, they just made sure to put enough on in advance, and there was no charge for removing the extra funds upon return.
nnolen is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Further clarification on the Amex issue.

I confirmed with American Express that Amex card holders can cash a personal check for up to $1000 at an Amex office (the emergency check cashing privilege). There is no fee for this service, and the exchange rate is the same exchange rate you would get through a bank ATM.

So my initial statement that the checks we have written in Barcelona and other countries were cashed for "no charge" was correct.

Sorry for not being more precise in my response.
aprillilacs is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 05:11 PM
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That's really an interesting piece of news. So I guess the smart thing to do is to carry a check with you. If you walk into a European American Express office with $ 1000 cash, they charge a very high conversion fee for converting it to euros. But if you write it in the form of a check, they don't?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:06 PM
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Do you know if this offer is avaliable to all Amex card holders, even in Paris? If so, thank you so much for the information! We need to pay the remainder of our apartment in euros, and if I can cash a check, I won't have to worry about ATM problems.
Anna1013 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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Here's the statement on the Amex web site:

Emergency Funds Access
"Personal check cashing and/or funds access is a benefit available to some American Express Cardmembers. Each Card product has its own polices & restrictions. In general, a Cardmember can only receive Emergency Funds Access every seven (7) days inside their country of billing. However, outside of the billing country it is usually every 21 days.Cardmembers are advised to check with their issuing Card Services Department before traveling to verify the policy specific to their Card; they should then check with the American Express Travel Location directly to verify policies and availability of the service. Some Travel Offices may only dispense Travelers Cheques and no cash, as they do not have currency on hand."

It appears from the web site that the Amex office at 11 rue Scribe in Paris offers this service. But to be safe, you should call Amex and confirm that your particular card will get you this service, and that the Paris office in fact participates.

No, I am NOT an American Express representative. But this service has been really helpful for us in the 3 or 4 different places where we've needed to access extra funds during our travels over the years--most recently Barcelona, where we would have been in a real bind if it hadn't been an option.
aprillilacs is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:36 PM
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I just got off the phone with American Express as I too could use some "free" euro exchange for several apartment rentals.
I have an American Express platinum card from Costco. It can work like an ATM card, and I can get cash at an ATM or at an American Express office. But there is a $3 per transaction fee, plus a 2% conversion fee, plus a cash advance (interest) fee at 23.24% starting the day the money is taken.

After much discussion and then turning me over to a supervisor I was told because my card can work like an ATM card, I cannot use it to cash a personal check -- or at least it has nothing to do with my card. She mentioned that some AMEX cards cannot be used as an ATM card and therefore you can set up to link to a bank account, but the same fees mentioned above will then apply.

Meanwhile, she suggested that most American Express offices in Europe will cash a check for you and they will accept your AMEX card as a form of ID, but according to this supervisor, those offfices would do so at whatever their current posted rates of exchange are, and she suggested that it is usually in the range of 7%.

I won't hold my breath at finding an American Express office that will exchange funds (by cashing a check in a foreign currency) and waive all their usual conversion fees.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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Aprillilacs was posting as I was.

All that quote from the website pretty much echos what the supervisor on the phone said to me. She also mentioned the frequency dates, etc. What the website never says is what percent they will charge for doing so. It is still kind of hard to believe that they don't charge anything. And according to the person I talked to they certainly will charge.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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I actually quit AmEx several years ago after a couple trips i a row when European (Paris, Rome) offices provided absolutely no service when I needed it. Since then I have been tempted by some of their brochures, but (miserly old geezer that I am) when I read the fine print their charges are way above what is available elsewhere. As Patrick points out, they disclose some charges outright but others are more obscure, like the fact that the exchange rate is horrendous.
The last few years, as banks have been continually devising new ways to add fees, I have been using a credit union ATM card and it has been great. Sure, there are some fees, but much less than banks and a far better deal than travelers' checks.
Seamus is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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Patrick - I was interested to see what AmEx told you regarding fees, etc as I talked to them a couple of weeks ago and got different numbers. We have our card set up as an ATM card linked directly to our checking account. The fees I was told was 3% with a $5.00 minimum and whatever ATM fee the bank charges for use of their ATM. It's a 2% fee when you use the card to charge anything.

We set up our card as an ATM card our first trip to Europe as a backup. We've never had to use it, but I just like knowing I have that option if anything happens to our regular ATM card.
BarbaraJ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:04 PM
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SINCE WE ARE ON THIS SUBJECT... These ATM machines in Italy- are they like machines here where, depending on who owns it, you pay anywhere from $1.50 to $4.00 to get a withdrawal? If so, do one of you travelers have the name of the best-rate ATM providers in Italy?
sarge56 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 10:08 PM
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sarge56: European banks don't charge fees to use their ATMs - the only fee is whatever your own bank charges.

(As long as you use a bank machine)
janisj is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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way cool! Thanks, janisj.
sarge56 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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Update on this... Giulia from Sleep in Italy got back to me - and what do you know ...the owner of my rental will take a bank transfer. I am happy to hear that and will get it done!
dawnnoelm is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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I'm glad you got this resolved, dawn. For other people who might have this happen, this is what I've done in the past.

Last year in Czech Republic and this coming year in Hungary, both places I chose to stay were cash only. In both instances I asked in advance (before I booked) if I could pay over several days. For example, I would pay for three days upon arrival, then a day or two later I would pay for another three or four days, and so forth. Both places allowed me to do this. It may not work everywhere, but it's worth a try.
Poohgirl is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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hi, Dawn,

glad you got this sorted.

last year I was surprised that we had to pay for our rome apartment in cash [not so surprised a few months later to find the same arrangement for our apartment in Florence - I'm a quick study] - which with the refundable deposit came to over 1000E.

Then the money-belt did come into its own!

however, we were only gonig from home in the UK straight to Rome, not like you, gonig half-way round the world first.

You've solved your problem now, but you could of course have obtained euros in SA by exchanging rands, which you would probably have had to stock-pile over a number of days to get sufficient. plus of course you are effectively exchanging twice.

so the bank -transfer is definitely the way to go, it the owner will play ball.

have a great time,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  

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