Getting Euros at Waterloo?

Mar 17th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Getting Euros at Waterloo?

Does anyone know if it is possible to exchange traveller's checks in USD for Euros at the Waterloo station in London? (or do they only exchange for pounds?) My husband and I are taking the Eurostar to Paris and upon arrival will have to pay for our apartment in cash Euros in an amount that is too large for us to withdraw from an ATM in one day. We were thinking about taking traveller's checks for that one expense and exchanging them when we arrive. We will have more time on the London side of the trip, so we were wondering if we could do that exchange at the Waterloo station (or somewhere else nearby?) before we cross the Chunnel, or if we will have to wait until we get to the Gare du Nord. Anyone know? Any other suggestions?
abcgirl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 09:18 AM
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you'll get a horrible rate trying to do that. I hope someone comes up with a batter option, but you might just exchange the moeny in the US- dollars to euros. It's got to be better than US traveller's checks to euros in the UK!!
highledge is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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Don't "change money" anywhere. And don't carry traveler's checks except for emergency backup. Always get local currency from ATMs, starting with the one just to the left of the Eurostar arrivals area at Gare du Nord.

First, see if your landlord will allow you to pay over a few days.

Or explain the situation to your card issuer, and request that your cash withdrawal limit be raised for the date of your arrival. (This might require hitting more than one ATM.)
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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Never attempt to buy a currency that is not the currency of the country you're in. If you find someone at Waterloo who'll accept TCs at all, they'll charge you for converting them to pounds. Then they'll carry out a second transaction, converting the pounds into euros. For which they'll charge you again. In my experience, that's what happens absolutely everywhere in the world when you try to do anything like this.

If you have a proper bank, they'll arrange for whatever size withdrawals you like (mine does whenever I tell them and have funds). Or just cash your TCs in Paris.
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 09:24 AM
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There is an International Currency Echange in the Waterloo International Station so you can do the exchange at either end.
obxgirl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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Hi abc,

Some suggestions:

Ask your bank to raise your daily limit for the day you will arrive in France - you might have to use more than one ATM.

Ask the landlord if you can pay in 2 or three installments.

Get Euro traveler's checks or change your USD TC's to Euros in France.

ira is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Agree with the point about the exchange rate being better in Paris. It doesn't take long to make the exchange so it won't be a schedule breaker.

>If you have a proper bank...<

Do you mean exchange for Euro's in the US? Why carry a large batch of cash around? That doesn't seem smart.
obxgirl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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I have the same situation and the best way I have found is to get a money order from your bank in Euros. I sent our deposit that way and will utilise the same means to finalise payment on arrival.
Corky is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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>If you have a proper bank...<

> Do you mean exchange for Euro's in the US?<

No - a "proper" bank would be happy to raise abcgirl's daily withdrawal limit so she can get enough € from an ATM(s) after they are in France.

Getting € using US$ TCs in London is a VERY expensive way to get €
janis is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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my bank has told me that my daily withdrawal limit is set by VISA and is unchangeable. would you then recommend that we wait until we get to Paris to do the exchange? Our apartment is in the Marais (near Musee Picasso) and we've told the landlord that we would meet him there about a half hour after our train arrives. should we contact him to request a later meeting time? I'll also consider the option of finding out from the landlord if we could pay him in installments. thank you!
abcgirl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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My bank has given me the same information about temporarily increasing limits, abcgirl. Guess we don't have "proper" banks. Gosh.

Make the exchange when you get to Paris. Although it shouldn't take more than a few minutes, I'd consider extending the time to meet your landlord. 30 minutes doesn't give you much buffer time in the event of a delay.
obxgirl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Have you considered opening an additional checking account and getting an ATM card for that account? You could have account #2 at your present bank or at different bank.
That way you would be able to draw out the maximum daily amount, in Euro, from each account. Would the maximum daily amount from 2 accounts be sufficient to cover your apartment's rental?
You'd also get the peace of mind of having one ATM card in your possession and the other card in your husband's possession.

I agree about the 30 minutes not being enough time to allow to meet your landlord.
There can be a very long line of people waiting for taxis after a Eurostar arrives at Gare du Nord.
orleans is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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oh, erm, taxis. we were planning to take the metro. should we DEFINITELY postpone our meeting time?
abcgirl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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We took the Metro from Nord to Marais with no problems. The only thing that might delay you, is if you're a little confused on arrival - where to go, buy tickets, etc.
LAwoman is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Walk down past the front of the train and out the gate.

Turn left and get some cash from the first ATM you come to. Be aware that pickpockets work the station.

Keep going in the same direction all the way to the east end of the station. Follow the signs with an M in a circle. The ticket office is down a few steps on your right. Buy your transport tickets/passes.

What is the address of your meeting?
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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abcgirl: "my bank has told me that my daily withdrawal limit is set by VISA and is unchangeable."

That seems very odd to me. By any chance are you talking about taking a cash advance on your Visa?

Both of my banks and the banks of several people I have traveled w/ have been able to raise daily limits w/o any problems. I have done it probably 9 or 10 times over the years (usually when I've had a big bill due right after arrival).

I'm probably talking about 8-10 different banks here -- small local ones, nationwide chains and a copuple of credit unions. Maybe you need to talk to the manager of your bank branch and find out what the problem is. Don't do this over the phone - bank customer service call centers are notorious for giving out lousy info.

Heck, many banks even tell their customers they don't charge ATM fees - "The only fees you will have are from the European Bank" - as most of us know, that is not correct.

janis is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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I would go into your bank personally and tell them what you need to do. They should be able to provide you with several good options.

There are international money orders, international bank drafts, money can be wired, etc. If you do the transaction directly from $ to Euros you won't lose as much as exchanging the amount twice. Avoid traveler's checks; nobody wants to cash them anymore. Everybody just pays by ATM/credit card and gets cash the same way.

I did the two bank account thing when we went to Europe 2 years ago. Got pickpocketed our last day in Paris and was able to go quickly to an Internet place, get online and transfer all my money from the stolen card account to the other account. And notify the bank of the stolen ATM card. Our trip kept right on, thieves didn't get a cent.

Never heard of a bank not being able to temporarily raise an ATM limit. I asked mine to do that when I wanted to buy a new refrigerator. I wanted to pay from my checking, not on my credit card, but I didn't want to fuss with a check. Same when I got my new computer. All it took was a phone call. Since then I dumped Wells Fargo and now I bank with a local bank and it has a much higher ATM limit so I just don't have the problem anymore.

Notify your banks that you are traveling to Europe so they won't suspect fraud and deactivate your cards. Find out what kind of fees they will charge. Find out how many daily transactions you are limited to as well.

If you pay for a transit pass, buy a couple of museum tickets, buy lunch, buy dinner, get out some cash, buy other stuff, you might quickly exceed the number of transaction limit even though you didn't exceed your daily limit. Having 2 ATM cards helped with that, too.

Have fun on the Eurostar. Be aware that the lines are sometimes really long.
mowmow is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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thanks everyone for the suggestions!

robespierre: our address is on the rue de thorigny, apparently right across the street from the musee picasso. thanks for the detailed train station directions!
abcgirl is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 12:19 PM
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I suggest you take Métro Ligne 5 (Direction Place d'Italie) to Bastille. Exit the station on Rue de Lyon, and you will be right at a bus stop.

Get on the #29 bus (Direction Gare St-Lazare) and ride to the Rue Vieille du Temple stop, adjacent to the Museum.

A map of the area can be downloaded and printed from

Select Bastille from the first pull-down and hit OK.

This is probably the fastest route even though it involves a little backtracking. Its principal advantages are that it doesn't require any connections in the Métro, and takes you practically right to your door.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 06:15 PM
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is transferring to a bus from the metro easier than transferring from one metro line to another? and can i buy tickets for the bus at the same time that i get metro tickets? or do i buy them on the bus?

thank you!
abcgirl is offline  

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