$$$ in hand. Where to buy Euros?

Feb 1st, 2011, 09:50 AM
  #1  
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$$$ in hand. Where to buy Euros?

My daughter is in the airport, waiting with a group of students to board their Rome-bound flight later this afternoon. She has a couple hundred US $ in her pocket (and some 100 Euros too). She just called asking if she should buy Euros at the change shop there at the airport (their rate is 0.63 Euro per $1, plus $10 fee) , or wait to buy Euros in Rome, and if in Rome, where should she buy, at a bank, or a private change shop?

Thanks....
mamamia2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 09:57 AM
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Best rates should be at a bank in Italy. However, it will be a tedious process and she may find some banks unwilling to do it or not without adding high fees. Also, the last time I changed paper currency in Italy (10 years ago), that bank would only accept $100 bills that were "Big Bens"--the newer bills with the larger image.

Best exchange is by using your home bank ATM/debit card at a bank ATM in Italy.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 09:59 AM
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If I had to choose, buy in Europe.

Is there any reason she has to buy any at all, versus use ATM when land?
Michel_Paris is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:00 AM
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She should save the dollars for an emergency and use an ATM for cash. As of right now (2/1/11, 11 a.m. PST), the rate is 0.73 euro to the dollar. So the cost is more than the $10 fee. Cost will not be significantly lower in Europe for a cash exchange.
Michael is online now  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:03 AM
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Doesn't she have an ATM card with her? That's by far the easiest and least costly way to get euros once she's arrived. Save the dollars for an emergency.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:09 AM
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What michael said. Keep the $$ for emergencies. She already has enough Euros to get her started. The best exchange is in Italy at an ATM with a debit card. Skip the banks - too high fees and too much hassle. It may be too late now, but hopefully she made sure to have a pin# that will work in Europe. Visa and Mastercard will be accepted at most places.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:15 AM
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Yes, 2 ATM cards (one of them from my local credit union bank), and 2 CC (one is from CapitalOne)......

But she also took some money that she earned just lately, more for emergency...

...I actually was playing with the idea, since she's spending a whole semester there, in a small town in Tuscany, to open an account at a local bank, deposit that money there, and use their own ATM....

Don't you think it makes sense?
mamamia2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:15 AM
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McDonalds should give you a decent exhange rate, Burger King is not so good. Ask if you can pay with a $100 bill. The return will be in €. The rate will be better than what you get at the bank but check first. And don't use the MCDonalds at the airport!!
logos999 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:17 AM
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Yes, we have 4 digits for each ATM cards' pin #.

Shall I tell you those digits?
mamamia2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:21 AM
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I agree with Michael and basingstoke: don't spend the US cash unless she needs to. If she does go to exchange the dollars, do so inside a bank, and if it's at all possible, at a bank affiliated with one of the cards she has with her. It won't help the exchange rate, but can improve the tedious process a bit...
ggreen is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:27 AM
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It makes more sense to withdraw money from a U.S. bank than to open an account in Italy. For one thing, the money would have to be transferred one way or another, and the cost is likely to be higher than a withdrawal from a U.S. bank--although since the die is cast, you may discover that her bank charges a flat fee per withdrawal plus a possible percentage. It is also not clear that she could open an account in Italy, nor that their charges would be lower. For example, I have a bank account in a French bank but no ATM/Debit card because I would have to pay a monthly fee for it (checking is free).
Michael is online now  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:47 AM
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No, don't open an account in Italy, even if you can. I believe Italian banks, like French ones, charge you to make a deposit to your own account, plus you'd have wire transfer fees or have to pay for international drafts, etc., etc.

Her ATM debit card is all she needs.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:52 AM
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You most likely already know this, but it bears repeating. She should understand the difference between using her card at an ATM and for purchases. With credit cards, she will be charged as if it were a cash advance, which it is. Not so with a debit or for purchases. There is also a difference in fees, including currency conversion fees for the different cards. Capitol One does not charge a conversion fee for purchases but does charge a use fee for its cc at an ATM. Because of ATM fees she should understand that it not efficient to use it often for small amounts.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:55 AM
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BTW good look to your daughter. Our own DD spent a semester in Siena and it was the highlight of her undergraduate studies.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:57 AM
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typo alert! look=luck
basingstoke2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 11:19 AM
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She needs and do you be smart enough to understand exchange rates. To exchange $200 into Euro at .63 plus 10$ in a rate in excess of 12%. Put it another way, if you exchange $200, in the end you have an amount of Euro equal to $176. First, recognize that exchange bureaus, especially in airport, have a horrible exchange rate. Second, a debit card at an ATM will always be the cheapest and most convenient way to obtain local currency. Sitting in an airport about to go to Europe is the wrong time to be learning about exchanging money.
fmpden is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 11:41 AM
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Yes, I hear you.

I told her changing money at the airport is probably the worst. I think I'll tell her to just keep the $$$ for emergency. BTW, I did get educated HERE, regarding which ATM and CC to get before her leaving (we're to join her at the end of her semester), and as I mentioned, got her the credit union bank's ATM, and CapitalOne' CC. And yes, she is well aware that for cash it's the ATM card, and for larger purchases, whenever they accept CC, that's what she should use.

Thanks to all.... FOR YEARS, THIS PLACE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A REALLY GREAT RESOURCE FOR ME WHENEVER PLANNING A TRIP, ESPECIALLY TO EUROPE....
mamamia2 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 12:14 PM
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like French ones, charge you to make a deposit to your own account...

I don't get charged unless I try to deposit a check in dollars, and I have taken out money via ATM from my U.S. bank to deposit into my French account with no charge. Electronic transfers are free from the bank's point of view.
Michael is online now  
Feb 1st, 2011, 01:01 PM
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Michael: When I send a wire transfer to my bank in France (Crédit Commerciale du Sudouest), my U.S. bank charges me $25.00 and the Crédit Commerciale charges me 18 euro to "accept it." Same for internationala drafts that Ive mailed, though it's been so long since I've done that I don't remember what th charges were. And yes, the few times I've physically deposited a check in U.S. dollars there's been a charge too. I've never made a cash deposit in dollars, so don't know about that. You don't get charged when depositing dollars into your account? No transaction fee? No percentage? No poor exchange rate?

I was assuming the OP would be depositing dollars one way or another into an Italian account, or sending a wire.

Maybe it's just my bank...
StCirq is online now  
Feb 1st, 2011, 01:24 PM
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I've wired money to France, and unless I tell the bank specifically I want to pay them, there are charges applied at the other end.
Michel_Paris is offline  

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