money exchange

May 7th, 2014, 12:08 PM
  #1  
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money exchange

Any thoughts on the best exchange rate traveling to Belgium? Airport or local?
pougal is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:10 PM
  #2  
 
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What is your country of origin? If you are American, you don't want to exchange money anywhere. Simply use your ATM card, preferably from a bank that doesn't charge you transaction fees or withdrawal fees, at any ATM machine.
StCirq is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:20 PM
  #3  
 
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The best way to exchange money is always at an ATM. The only question is bank ATMs vs. private ATMs. Banks ATMs are always the best. Often, some if not all of the ATMs in Airports are private ATMs.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:54 PM
  #4  
 
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You should NEVER "exchange" money - unless you feel you must have enough euros to get from the airport to town. In that case change a little at the currency booth at the departure airport. the rate will be terrible but for only a little it doesn't really matter.

For the best rate of exchange in europe you should charge everything you can to your credit cards and pull walking around money from your checking account at an ATM associated with a local bank. The bank will not charge a fee. Your bank in the US may charge a fee and will most likely charge a 1% or 2% above the Interbank rate (official exchange rate between banks for multi-million $ transactions). This is much better than the 8% to 10% you will pay at any commercial exchange booth - or shop, hotel or restaurant (even if they will exchange which most wont).
nytraveler is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 01:03 PM
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You've been asking questions on this board since 2008. Have you never taken any of the trips you've asked about? How did you get cash before? Have you been using the currency exchanges?
adrienne is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 11:18 AM
  #6  
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Oh my that was abit abrupt.

Yes i have taken almost each trip and havent had an ATM card . I have exchanged or used my credit card.

I orderd a Capitol one to avoid the transcaction conversion fee but they charge 10$ or 3% for atm fees.
pougal is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 11:37 AM
  #7  
 
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>>I have exchanged or used my credit card. <<

They're both more expensive than using an ATM/debit card to draw money direct out of your own account, almost invariably. You might it find more convenient at home as well.
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 11:51 AM
  #8  
 
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Umm, not quite Patrick. Some credit cards offer the same exchange rates as debit cards do.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 01:15 PM
  #9  
 
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Well, I hope you weren't using your credit card to get cash from an ATM machine!! That's the worst idea ever, as you'll start incurring interest from the moment you first use it. Exchanging usually loses you 7-10% of your money.

You need a decent bank or a credit union like Andrews that doesn't charge you transaction or withdrawal fees. And yes, it will likely be a benefit to you at home as well.
StCirq is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 01:26 PM
  #10  
 
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You'd be better off paying the 3% transaction fee than using currency exchanges as the rate will be much higher than using ATM machines.

Look into local credit unions. Mine charges a 1% fee and I can access non-credit union ATMs 8 times per month.
adrienne is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 01:14 AM
  #11  
 
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>>Some credit cards offer the same exchange rates as debit cards do.<<

And a "cash advance" fee on top, just as they would if you were drawing cash in your own currency.
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 01:23 AM
  #12  
 
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Yes i have taken almost each trip and havent had an ATM card . I have exchanged or used my credit card.

Ouch. In the future, avoid doing that unless you like throwing money away or absolutely have no other choice.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 01:29 AM
  #13  
 
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And a "cash advance" fee on top, just as they would if you were drawing cash in your own currency.

There does seem to be one card that doesn't charge crazy fees. The Citibank Clear Platinum Card offers for cash advances 0% p.a. for 6 months but then it reverts to 21.74% after that.

Of course, the 3.3% FOREX fees this card offers needs to be considered which pretty much throws it out of the debit card zone.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 04:51 AM
  #14  
 
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You also need to be aware of whether or not your ATM card-issuing bank has any sort of agreement with local banks where you might be traveling. My own bank has various agreements with banks in various European countries. When I use my ATM card to withdraw cash from the agreement bank's machine I do not get charged any additional service fees.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 06:44 AM
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Umm, some confusion here.

Patrick, I wasn't suggesting using a credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM. Nor do I think the OP was saying s/he did that either.

When the OP wrote, "exchanged OR used my credit card", I took that to mean exchanged cash or used the credit card to make purchases or pay hotel bills etc. Not use the credit card to get cash.

When I wrote, "Some credit cards offer the same exchange rates as debit cards do", that implied nothing about what you use the cards for. My presumption is that everyone knows you do not use credit cards to get cash from an ATM, you use them to pay for things. My presumption is also that any withdrawal from an ATM you make is done using a debit card.

Every time this type of topic about cards, exchange rates and fees comes up, the same old same old misinformation and confusion arises.

There are both credit and debit cards which charge no fees and add no % onto the Interbank Rate. Much of the confusion arises because different terms mean different things to different people.

For example, a bank may advertise, 'no foreign exchange loading' and then somewhere in the fine print you come across, 'we use our own exchange rate on the day of the transactio' or some such wording.

The comsumer sees, 'no exchange loading' and says, 'that's the one for me!' Not realizing that all it means is they are not going to load more onto their OWN exchange rate which is already several % points above the Interbank Rate. Sneaky but legal.

Dukey1, when you use your ATM card to withdraw cash from ANY foreign bank, you do not get charged additional service fees. The agreement between banks and VISA or MC does not allow them to charge a withdrawal fee on a foreign card.

As Nytraveler correctly said, "The bank will not charge a fee. Your bank in the US may charge a fee".

So what advantage has your bank's affiliation with other banks really given you? Answer, nothing. Once again, a case of the consumer not really understanding the system and being taken in by glib advertising.

Here in Canada a hamburger chain adverises, 'no added hormomones and steroids'. Oh, that's for me the consumer says. Note the 'added' word. It doesn't mean the hamburger has NO hormones or steroids, it just means they don't ADD any! So what does it really mean? Nothing.

The consumer hears what they want to hear and often that has nothing to do with reality.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 07:38 AM
  #16  
 
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Let's not argue because there is no answer that fits every situation for every bank in every country. Different countries have different banking laws and eccentricities that build up over the years that don't apply to banks and cards issued in other countries. But one can certainly generalize with the provision that one has to check the policies of specific banks to make an informed decision, not rush to judgment based on bloggers who may or may not know the answers about their particular banks.

For example, and it's just an example, the blanket statement to never use a credit card for a cash advance because of high fees and high interest rates and interest clock starts running from the moment the cash hits your grubby little fingers. In general, true. But however...

There are banks which charge no fees for cash advances (which are what ATM withdrawals are when done with a credit card). Not all that many but they exist. So you're in a pinch. Your credit card has had a security hold placed on it for any number of reasons and you can't find a phone to notify your bank or don't have the number of whatever. But you have a card with no cash advance fees. So you hit an ATM for an advance. Uh oh, 24% interest clock starts running. But it is charged on a daily basis. You get home and immediately pay off the loan. That 24% is 2% a month...perhaps the advance is only 15 days old. That's 1%. That's less than a foreign transaction fee you might be charged on your credit card. Clearly not the end of the world but then again this is true of certain banks. Other banks charge as much as 5% in fees for a cash advance. On an equivalent of a $200 cash advasnce, that's $10 up front. Maybe it's no big deal to you on a trip costing hundreds r thousands. But it's something to be aware of. You should be aware of the gneral policies of whatever bank you do business with. True, for example, Bank of America on its debit banks advertises it has a network of partner banks where they charge no fees for ATM withdrawals. Nice guys, right? Well not exactly. Many banks charge no fees for withdrawals from any bank. To top that off, Bank of America, near criminals that they are, have recently instituted a 3% foreign transaction fee on withdrawals from ATM even from their partner banks.

But I can generalize of what works best or should work best for everybody.

1. Get a credit card which has no foreign transaction fee and hopefully no annual fee. Many exist in the USA, not so many in other countries. If that card has a nice rewards program, so much the better.

2. Use it for every purchase, large or small, at every place that takes credit cards. After all, the costs of credit card transactions is factored into pricing of everything so if you use a merchant that takes credit cards, you're paying for it taking the cards anyway indirectly.

3. In those cases where you need cash, use a debit card from a bank that charges no fees for cash withdrawals from ATM machines and withdraw whatever small amounts you need. Again, to a degree this can be country specific. Great Britain is a lot like the uSA. Credit cards are taken and used most everywhere. Germany and Holland, unfortunately, have not entered the 21st century to the same degree and you might find more places that insist on cash. In those cases, you will of course need more cash from the ATM.

4. If a merchant tries to pull off the dynamic currency conversion scam on you, just say no. If you are presented with a sales slip which has your currencyon it, you are being scammed with this vicious garbage. Insist the merchant void the transaction and do it properly in local currency. The merchant may throw out lies at you like he has no control over it, the terminal does it automatically. Or the amount in your currency is just being shown for your information or that it is a good deal or the famous no speak English. If the clerk refuses to do the charge properly, insist on seeing the manager. If the manager still refuses to void the sale and do it properly, simply write on the sales slip local currency not offered and cross out the statement you were offered the opportunity to pay in local currency and accept the exchange rate as final. Under no circumstances, fall for this garbage. It is a SCAM. When you get home, dispute the charge and hopefully the bank will charge back the charge to the merchant causing him to pay a penalty for a chargeback (some banks, especially on small amounts, simply refund the difference.

Follow this advice and have a happy, carefree trip without hqaving to worry about things like changing money.
xyz123 is offline  
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