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getting enough Euros to pay for apartment

getting enough Euros to pay for apartment

May 18th, 2007, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 756
Interesting information about American Express. I had a similar situation with the apartment I rented earlier this month in Paris. The owner was willing to accept US dollars for the balance due and I did have to pay an additional few dollars for their conversion fee (which ended up being less than the other options like travelers checks, etc., along with just being easier).
MP07950 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Ann - I had thought about getting Rand and then exchanging - one issue (and it could be nothing) was that the Grace Hotel where we are staying for most of our trip had a report on T.A. of theft. We are going to work with orphans and the Grace donates all their towels, and other things to these homes - so there is a close tie and we are getting an excellent rate (as to those who are going to say then why stay there

Pooh - that was the other option to get it over a few days. Frankly because we are only in Rome for 4 nights I am glad to have it out off the list prior to arrival.

The trip, while amazing and exciting is starting to stress me out a little - I think taking my 13 and 10 year old add stress and the fact that we are not seasoned "world" travelers.

We live in Southern Ca. and have limited travel out of the US - my girls have only been to Mexico and myself Thailand but that is the extent of over seas travel... anyway - I am rambling now!
dawnnoelm is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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hi, dawn, - not rambling at all.

when are you going to SA -? we are off in about 8 weeks and would love to read a trip report from you if you have time when you get back. [or vice versa!]

our intinerary [me, DH DD aged 19 & DS aged 16] is 4 nights CPT [3 of them free with our 2 nights in Shamwari, a bit like your Grace hotel reservations] 5 nights garden route, and 3 nights eastern cape reserves.

where is your orphanage?

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Ann -
That is fantastic! We arrive in Jo'burg on Monday, July 2.
We will be there for a few nights - while visiting Acres of Love homes.
Check out Acresoflove.org for more information.
on Thursday July 5 we leave for Kirman's Kamp Game Lodge, Sambi Sand Game Reserve
On Sat am we head back to Jo'burg to the Grace
Sunday we are back at Acres and then head to Rome that evening -
During our next trip (I am hopeful this is the first of many to S.A.) we want to go to CapeTown. Have you been before?
I think you will be there very close to the very time we are!
Feel free to email me [email protected]

dawnnoelm is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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I was interested in that service as I just got an Amex card also -- some promotion that is free for a year and I get a bunch of miles, so why not. However, that quote from their website (on the checkcashing) clearly says "some" cards. And I think the person who used it to cash checsk (april...) didn't really know what exchange rate they were paying.

I think it is a good service if they do it at no markup for those who cannot use their card at ATMs, but actually, I've never heard of a credit card that can't be used that way. Of course, it's just a loan, as it's not your money, so that is why there is a large interest charge. Maybe Amex has some forms of cards that don't allow it, though, but I imagine that's pretty rare.
Christina is online now  
May 18th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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I also have somewhat of a dilemma because I will be renting an apt. in Dubrovnik for 16 nights and the owner wants the rent in Euros, thus I would not be able to use the ATM there for this purpose. If I buy euros at a bank there, I wonder if the exchange rate would be high. I know that if I get the euros here before I leave, either in cash or a bank check, the exchange rate will be high. I will be in Amsterdam airport enroute, but I would not be able to get that amount of euros, even if my bank did raise the daily amount I can withdraw. Do I just have to bite the bullet and eat the high exchange rates? Any suggestions? As an after thought, I'm thinking I might ask him if he would take the equivalent in kunas over a couple days and then I could just use the ATM.
Barb is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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My family and I are currently in the UK and, like Dawn, needed a lot of Euros to pay cash for an apartment we're renting in Rome. It turned out to be a simple transaction. I went to a Royal Post Office station and requested a cash advance for the entire amount in Euros using my debit card. The post office does not charge a commission, and the exchange rate tends to be better than most. We avoided the ATM daily limits and other fees.
nejusa is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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Some time has passed since this post was started, but this summer we ran into a couple of new issues. It was suggested above to get more than one card for each account or to open a second account.
We travel with two ATM cards, each of us has a totally separate checking account, although we are both listed as being able to sign checks on the others accounts. Bank of America has changed their policy recently. While we never had this problem before, this summer, we found that our limit (supposedly $1000 per account per day) was cut in half because the two accounts are "linked" together. When one account reached its daily limit, the other was closed too. Their reasoning was that if someone stole one card, they could access either account, so for "safety" they freeze both accounts. And we also found out that the $1000 daily limit we were told we had is only for the US. In Europe, they claimed the maximum was $600 per day. So when we tried to withdraw a second 250 euros in the same day using either account, we were declined as that put us over the $600 limit.

We were indeed blessed with a sweet apartment owner in Italy who told us this wasn't a problem, just call her the next day when we got it straightened out and she'd come pick up the money. But she actually never returned to get payment until our final night in Rome. Talk about trusting!!
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 8th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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gee - it sounds like BofA is getting to be worse and worse for convenience/customer service.
janisj is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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This forum is filled with posts from me defending them over the years, as I've always been very happy with BofA's service.

But this summer was a new experience. Among other things:
I posted a question on their secure site asking why my account was closed when I had called and carefully given them an exact itinerary before we left. They responded with "we do that for your safety. In the future to avoid it, we suggest you call and advise us of your itinerary." Huh, did they even ready my question?

Also after getting the accounts back open, I withdrew 400 euros three days in a row from Deutschebank in Venice, collecting my money for two more upcoming rental apartments. They closed my account again. When I called, they said that yes they could see that I had called that we were in Italy, but that seemed like an excessive amount of withdrawals to be making. Who are they -- my Mother???? Now they can decide how much money we should be allowed to spend on holiday?

Oh, and they posted a 24 hour a day number that you can call collect from overseas if you have a problem, as well as their 800 number which they say is 24 hours a day. The 800 number connects you with a voice activated system that allows you to find out your balance only, but if you want to speak to an agent, they give you the usual business hours to call back. That's really helpful when you call late on Friday and have three days before you can call them back during office hours! When I called the "collect" number from a BA lounge at Gatwick phone that is set up for making collect calls, I actually got a recording from BofA that said "sorry, this number is not authorized to accept collect calls."
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 8th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Patrick - guess we were lucky in May - we each withdrew 400 Euros from the same account (BofA) using two cards on the same date. I thought it might be a problem, but it worked out. I did have a small glitch before we left. I had informed them of our itinerary on their secure website - and thought it was taken care of. But the day before we left, I decided to call and double check. Good thing I did, as it was not noted on my account and they gave me some double talk about needing to call in person rather than take care of it on the web. I had thought putting it in writing was safer than a verbal request. I'm always slightly nervous about banking overseas as banks seem to change their rules at the drop of a hat. So it can definitely be different from one trip to the next.

Our apartment owner in Paris was great - we hadn't gotten the money out of the ATM when we arrived, but she said "no problem." She was very trusting as she only had $100 deposit for the whole week. We kept expecting her to stop at our door to collect, but finally took it upstairs to her apartment on the night before we left!
blh is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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That would be funny if it weren't so pathetic, Patrick -- but I know how you feel, as I just had a similar experience with Capital One, but not nearly that bad. I never thought their service was outstanding, but I never had any real problems.

This time, I get home from my trip to France/Switz. to find a message about a week old on my machine telling me to call them about questionable charges on my card. I knew what was coming, probably. So, I call the number which was automated and they question a few trivial charges I made that Saturday in Paris (each was only around $30, two different places). I had been in Europe 10 days by that date, and made many more expensive charges on that card, so why question those? Oh, I had called them and given them my itinerary and exact dates before I left.

LUckily, they had never declined my card when I used it, so nothing had happened (I went on to use it about five days after that call). So I could't understand the call so switched to a live person who told me four charges they questioned that day -- all trivial ones in Paris. I asked why they were doing that when I had told them I was going to be in that country and the dates, and obviously, I wasn't home to answer the call as it was during the dates I gave them. They said they had no record of me making that call -- which was to their crackerjack "security" dept., not just a regular customer service agent. They asked me if the charges were okay, and I said sure (can they even decline them a week later?). So I asked them what was the point of me calling their stupid security dept with all this info if they didn't do anythign with it and threw it away? Who can I complain to about their security dept and this issue (answer, no one, they have no complaint process, I can just write a letter to their general address).

Out of curiosity, I said why on earth did they question a few $30 restaurant/rail charges when they hadn't called for the $500 hotel bill a few days earlier or things like that? They didn't know. I said what was the point of your calling if you didn't do anything if I didn't respond to the call? They didn't know (and actually, I'm glad they didn't block the card, as it would have been a minor nuisance to call them from abroad). Maybe it was because I've certainly traveled abroad enough that foreign charges aren't that unusual on my card, but I really couldn't get over the stupidity of them ignoring the info I gave them (or hiring security agents who obviously cannot input information correctly into the system) and that they were questioning such trivial charges after about 10 days into my trip.

So I don't think they have such great service any more, but I do still like their card as it has no foreign transaction fee, so I'll keep it, of course. I guess it's all relative, as your experience and BofA was a lot worse.

Christina is online now  
Aug 10th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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>So I don't think they have such great service any more, but I do still like their card as it has no foreign transaction fee,...<

You might want to look into Capital One.

ira is online now  
Aug 10th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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Huh, ira? I think Christina WAS TALKING about her Capital One card.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 10th, 2007, 01:55 PM
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Capital One messed me over good. I called National City today & plan to get one of their travel awards cards (like plan better anyway). I want a credit card with a bank that I can walk into when a real problem erupts.

One day, Cap One card wouldn't work for gas; called twice; first time, the person in India couldn't understand me!; 2nd time, I couldn't understand the person in India! I have several 800#'s for them, so I called another & got someone with whom I could communicate. All of these calls were 15 min. wait time at least.

Yes, card blocked, person was "not allowed" to tell me why! Had to be transferred to Fraud Dept. Another long wait time! I got a man who took my info & sat there! He said nothing, heard no typing; didn't put me on hold. Every few minutes, I said, "excuse me, are you still there?" He would say "yes". I would say, "What is happening?" He would say, "I'm reading your account notes." After quite a long time & many repeats of the above, I hung up. Called back (another long wait) & got someone who said they would unblock the card & they did - I had tried to order RyanAir tickets online. Ended up buying them on my Chase card without a problem.

2 days later, I had 2 erroneous charges on my account (I now think the "silent" guy did it). I called & was told the charges should not be there, didn't know how they got there, & would be removed. Several days later, called back just to check & no one knew about the charges being removed!

I begged for a manager three times; 1st time got disconnected; 2nd got put back in queue; 3rd no manager called me as prominsed. I begged for the coporate office number - "not allowed to give".

Searched the web for hours & finally found the corporate number by calling schwab (i'm a customer). The corporate office person did the correction herself & credited a $50 "we are sorry" to my acct. No good. I'm leaving anyway.

From now on, I deal only with a bank where I can go in & meet eye to eye!

I was so frustrated, but never raised my voice or got nasty & ugly. My husband said he didn't know how I held my cool!

Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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ha ha Ira, is your name short for "irony"? As Patrick said, my rant WAS about Capital One.
Christina is online now  
Aug 10th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Hi ch,

Sorry, I thought we were still raking BofA over the coals.
ira is online now  
Aug 10th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Regarding CapOne - they bought my dh's company about 3 years ago or so..he just finished up his rentention period... he could share some interesting things regarding their policies et - but it is hard for either of us to be "too" upset with them... there buying the company did get us to Europe in the first place... ;-)

But seriously - a card invite came from them to my 19 year old and dh said "cut it up - NEVER get him one of those cards"
Alrighty then.
dawnnoelm is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 04:08 PM
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I still laugh every time I hear a Capital One "no hassles" commercial. A couple of years ago I seriously considered doing the switch mainly for the no fee international thing. But after spending the better part of a day trying to talk to anyone in customer service who could answer a few basic questions and still getting nowhere, I decided I didn't need that "hassle".
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 10th, 2007, 10:12 PM
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NeoPatrick...good good move.
dawnnoelm is offline  

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