Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

I am leaving for Rome in 5 days! Is it cost effective to buy Euros here where Iive?

I am leaving for Rome in 5 days! Is it cost effective to buy Euros here where Iive?

Mar 12th, 2019, 06:25 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 6
I am leaving for Rome in 5 days! Is it cost effective to buy Euros here where Iive?

I will be paying a big bill to see this doctor about $2500 Euros.
My bank says the charge 3% to make that purchase,
I do not remember what the ATM limits are In Italy with my debit card.
Or cash US dollars and exchange at a bank?

Appreciate any advice

​​​​​​​Robert
goodluckman70 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2019, 07:08 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,519
Why does the doctor need to be paid in cash? Surely he can afford to have a card machine. Or is it a deal "under the table"?

Walking around with E2.500,00 in cash is a bad idea at any time and normally in Italy, you find that such transactions are completely illegal. The Italian state maintains a Financial Police, one of their functions is to spot such paper deals and to arrest all involved.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Mar 12th, 2019 at 07:11 AM.
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 12th, 2019, 07:23 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,017
It's not clear that the doctor demanded to be paid in cash. I may be wrong, but I think the OP wants to pay in cash to avoid the 3% bank fee. (Is it a currency transaction fee?) But I hope the OP realizes the 3% fee is relatively small compared to the overall cost of the trip, and he will encounter fees of one type or another no matter how he does this.

If this had been considered well before departure, there might have been time to apply for a no-fee credit card.
Jean is online now  
Mar 12th, 2019, 07:32 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 863
I believe the current legal limit on cash payments to individuals in Italy is up to 3,000 euros. if you do bring the cash from the US, make sure you have a money belt. And, make sure you don't use the belt as your wallet. I know someone who took out their belt in a taxi in Brussels and left, never to be seen again, the belt with1500 euros on the seat of the taxi in a rush to get luggage, etc.
whitehall is online now  
Mar 12th, 2019, 08:02 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,322
The cash withdrawal limit is more to do with what your bank allows you to take out from an ATM each day. I do my banking in the US, and last I checked my withdrawal limit was $600 (about €500) per day. That would mean five days of ATM withdrawals to get €2,500, and you will need more for your own personal expenses.

Withdraw your money from a bank in the US and you will have a worse exchange rate, but that may be your only answer at such a late date.
Heimdall is offline  
Mar 12th, 2019, 08:31 AM
  #6  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,877
You state that your bank charges you 3, but what is the NET cost? Did they quote you an exchange rate? That info is far more important, as the spread between buy rate and sell rate can be 5-7%.

If you were to get 1000 euros from an ATM today, the total cost would be $1,128.80, or the current interbank rate. Your own bank may add some non-network ATM Fee. Mine does not, so that $1,128.80 would be my total cost.


Practically speaking, the daily withdrawal limit (imposed by your bank) may tell you if this is feasible. When I had a large cash payment years ago (for an apartment), I had 2 ATM/debit cards from separate banks, and had no problem getting my hands on enough euros over a few days.

Bottom line - find out the total cost to get 1000 euros, and then post that # here and we can tell you if it's a good deal
J62 is online now  
Mar 12th, 2019, 08:33 AM
  #7  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,877
Trying to exchange cash at a bank is nearly impossible. Exchanging cash at an exchange bureau (at airport or post office) is just as bad financially as buying euros in the US.
J62 is online now  
Mar 12th, 2019, 08:34 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
Taking cash would be dumb in so many ways. But first, no it doesn't make sense to "buy" euro in the US. DO you thinkn someone in Italy could get better deals on USD than in the US itself where it is the common currency?

Bad planning, you could have easily gotten a credit card that didn't have those fees, I have several that don't have them and two don't have any yearly fees whatsoever for the card. But it's too late now, probably. But if you can get one quickly somehow (I doubt it as they'd have to do credit checks, then mail you the card), Cap One has some with no fees and I have a AAA Visa that is free also, and it has no fees.

Since you planned badly, just accept the 3 pct as a necessary cost.
Christina is online now  
Mar 12th, 2019, 08:36 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,519
Yes, you are right E3000 as of 2016, my mistake. I'd still try to do a card transaction. I too have a friend who lost E5k on an aircraft when someone dipped her pocket.
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 12th, 2019, 10:26 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,164
I'm not sure you have time to order foreign currency if your trip is only 5 days away. I do this from Bank of America, my own home bank, and yes there is a fee and a lesser exchange rate, and it takes a few days to have it shipped to my local branch.

The best way to get local currency is likely at an official bank ATM machine after arrival, even if you have to pay a fee to your home bank. You could have a different kind of bank account without fees, but you don't have enough time to do that either.
suze is offline  
Mar 12th, 2019, 11:52 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,588
One of your other posts says you are flying in from Bangkok -- do you live in Thailand? Would you be exchanging Baht for US $ then to €?

Do you have a credit card? The medical facility likely accepts cc's and or debit cards, so you wouldn't need to carry cash.
janisj is online now  
Mar 12th, 2019, 06:13 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 6
I would be exchanging US dollars and I can get some with no wait. Carrying that much cash gets me a little nervous.
I do have a credit card but the bank charge 3% and I don't like that. I do have a debit card but cannot remember how much is the maximum I can withdraw. The bill is going to be 2 ,000 or 3,000 euros. When you travel do you carry cash with you?
Thank you for responding
Robert
goodluckman70 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2019, 06:29 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,588
>>I do have a credit card but the bank charge 3% and I don't like that.<<

Exchanging cash will probably cost you 3% or more . . . and very few banks will exchange currency unless one is a customer. So you'd have to go to a currency exchange bureau and they would charge a % plus a flat fee of some sort.
janisj is online now  
Mar 12th, 2019, 09:28 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,827
Tough, but

the 3% charge from your credit card is probably net/net cheaper than what you will pay to exchange dollars. Also removes the risk of traveling with all that cash. It's your best option, IMO.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 13th, 2019, 12:18 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,519
You've forgotten your debit card limit? Can I suggest you ask your bank?

I don't use much cash in Europe, card is the way to go most of the time, though I might pick up E100 at the airport on arrival from an ATM machine.
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 13th, 2019, 12:48 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,322
Credit cards are almost always cheaper than exchanging currency, even with a 3% charge from your bank.

Is there some reason why your posts are all in boldface?
Heimdall is offline  
Mar 13th, 2019, 04:31 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,439
If the doctor takes a credit card then use that.
If he wants cash, then take it and exchange it in Italy. Sounds dodgy if that is the case, but I know here in Belgium there are doctors that want to be paid in cash too.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 13th, 2019, 04:35 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,519
Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
If the doctor takes a credit card then use that.
If he wants cash, then take it and exchange it in Italy. Sounds dodgy if that is the case, but I know here in Belgium there are doctors that want to be paid in cash too.
Really, just how do you take legal action against a doctor who has done work "off the books". Sounds even dodgier than it needs to be.
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 13th, 2019, 06:10 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,439
In Belgium the national healthcare takes care of most costs. However if you want a private room in a hospital, the doctor is allowed to charge you extra, sometimes double the normal charge, the so-called 'honour wages'. Years ago, I was in hospital and the surgeon came by the room to collect his 'honour wages' in cash. He had told me this in advance, so I had cash. This can easily be over 1000 euro.
An article in the papers just last week said that more than half of all doctors in Belgium do not accept cards. A doctor in Italy wanting cash does not surprise me.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 13th, 2019, 06:12 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,439
By the way, I think this is dodgy in Belgium too, but you always get a receipt - since you need that for your health insurance records, in order to claim back part of the costs.
Tulips is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:44 PM.