money matters

Sep 25th, 2007, 06:24 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 14
money matters

Hi everyone! I'll be leaving for Europe (France, Italy, UK, switzerland) today and have questions regarding credit/debit/atm cards/exchanging in banks/hotels.

I have read a few threads about this matter but still can't decide on how to pay for purchases I'll be making in Europe.

I'll be making huge purchases abroad (eg. LV bags around $2000, etc. etc.) and would certainly need to get the best exchange rate as possible.

I have an amex (2% int'l transaction fee plus 2% conversion fee) and cc from La Salle Bank -Mastercard (3% transaction fee), as well as a debit card from the same bank with mastercard logo ($2.75 per withdrawal from ATM, but max. $500 withdrawal for 24 hours). Question is, for big purchases as above, which one is the best to use?

In relation, how big is the difference between the exchange rate by atm/cc and hotel/airport/currency exchange places?

I'm considering the option of using my debit card for purchases as well. Do shops in Europe accept this form of payment? Do I need to key in a pin or do I just swipe?

Urgh. I'm sorry about asking too many things but I'll be leaving today and was wondering if I could get thoughts from y'all.

Thanks,

Rose
roseannegon is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 06:42 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
...be prepared to have your credit card blocked whether you notify them or not with the size of these transactions.

Get a credit card from Capital One which charges no transaction fee on foreign transactions and does not even pass along the 1% visa fee.

Do not under any circumstances allow them to pull currency conversion on you where they offer to bill you in US$.
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 06:51 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,568
AmEx would probably be best for you (if you don't want to make multiple atm transactions and handle wads of euros) because there is only its 2% international conversion fee, not two separate charges since it is outside the VisaMC system. Other credit cards will have the VisaMC system's 1% conversion rate addon plus whatever your card-issuing institution wants to charge--usually 2%, but 0 for some.

Changing one currency for another will almost always cost at least 5%, possibly as much as 8%. Most atm withdrawals are at 1% but some banks charge more -- it is your bank, not the european bank, that adds these charges so it doesn't matter what european bank atm you use.
kayd is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 07:34 AM
  #4  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,471
Hi R,

I also suggest that you get a Capital One card.

Charge everything you can. Get walking around money from ATMs.

Why use a debit card when you can get a CC with no conversion fee?

ira is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 02:54 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,356
Well, if she's leaving today (probably has already left by now), she obviously doesn't have time to get a Capital One card, which would have been the smart thing to do. She also probably could have had her bank increase her daily withdrawal limit for ATM, but it's too late for that now as well.
SusanP is offline  
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