Paying my way by credit card?

Jul 20th, 2006, 05:28 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 61
I have two cheap questions then, and I'm just dull so bear with me.

If I were going to Ireland for 4 days, renting a car so I'll need gas, staying at moderate B&Bs (I hope to spend no more than 60 or so Euros/nite), and eating at nice restaurants 3 nights, how many Euros in cash would it be advisable to start out with, AND should I get them at the ATM at the airport? If not, where?

I've been to Ireland but not since credit cards have become more accepted. So I was stupid and went to a bank here and got a ton of punts for a bad exchange rate.

Be nice to me.
irishiningo is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 06:46 PM
  #22  
 
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This article from Moneycentral is a comprehensive source of suggestions and warnings:

http://tinyurl.com/pzhp4
jsmith is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 05:14 AM
  #23  
ira
 
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Hi Irish,

>...how many Euros in cash would it be advisable to start out with, AND should I get them at the ATM at the airport?<

Some people like to exchange $50-100 at the departure airport so as to have some cash on arrival. Some people get their cash when they arrive and save a few dollars.

Do NOT exchange more than about $100 before you leave. It will cost you about 5-7% more to do it in the US.

ira is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 08:32 AM
  #24  
 
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Of course banks have different exchange rates. The rate varies constantly. I thought the rate that you would get depended on when the bank actually bought the foreign currency. But you should always getting the wholesale rate. That is to say that they shouldn't be adding a fee there. They will then add their fee to the rate.
airfarce is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 08:50 AM
  #25  
 
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I read the Moneycentral article, and I have a few additions:

"17. Leave debit cards at home.

When you travel, it's more secure to use a credit card than a debit card for shopping, hotels, meals and gas."

Leaving the debit card at home means you can't use it for cash withdrawals. Getting cash from an ATM with a credit card is one of the worst ways to do it. So take the debit, and if you feel queasy about buying things with it, use a credit card.

21. What to do if you're presented with a charge slip in dollars:

Ask to have it recalculated in local currency. If the merchant declines, write Local Currency Not Offered above your signature, and be sure you save your copy. Dispute the charge when your statement comes. The card network operating rules require that the merchant offer a choice, so you will get a refund of the amount ripped off.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 08:50 AM
  #26  
 
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No no...talking about credit cards specifically...

The exchange rate is set by the international visa or mastercard system...

You buy something for £10 in London using your credit card...the merchant deposits it in his credit card account gets paid his £10 (minus the discount rate) and is now totally out of it (which is why some try to scam people with dcc)..

From the numbers, the charge is not on the British bank the merchant uses so it enters the international visa or mastercard system.....at this point it is converted to the currency of the card holder...visa/mastercard essentially use the interbank rate with a 1% mark up...the bank of the card holder has nothing to do with this conversion...nothing like in nothing....the conversion is not done by the bank...it is done by the visa or mastercard system as appropriate...

This charge, already converted, now reaches your bank in your local currency...it is at this point that different banks have different policies...Capital One gives back the 1% charge,..USAA simply passes along the 1% charge...the near criminal banks such as Citibank, Chase, Bank America now add an additional 2% which of course is ridiculous as the reason for the original 1% charge is to protect the system against currency fluctuations...the banks have no currency risk as the conversion is done by visa/mastercard...

Most but not all ATM transactions also go through the credit card systems of visa or mastercard because plus is owned by visa and cirrus is owned by mastercard...there are other atm processors which have different rates.

But, in general, the rates of conversion are set by visa/mastercard with banks free to add on whatever extra charges they wish to rip off their customers as they can get away with.
xyz123 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 09:02 AM
  #27  
 
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We charged most on our credit card - hotels, rental car, train tickets, some meals, all gifts. Yes, there was a percentage fee - I didn't moan and groan much about it as, in the grand scheme of our entire week's vacation, it wasn't enormous. In addition, the frequent flyer miles garnered always helps me to feel like I've "earned" something to help me towards my next European sojourn. We also make sure we take about 100 euros for arrival and utilize ATM machines for additional cash (mainly meals and taxis). Happy travels to Ireland!
dorkforcemom is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 09:21 AM
  #28  
 
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To clarify a couple points in this discussion, my understanding is that a Debit card is like a credit card with a PIN. But it can also be used as a credit card
Mimar is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 09:24 AM
  #29  
 
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Posted too quickly.

An ATM card is for ATMs only and has a PIN.

Is this true?

Also, the reason AmEx credit cards are rarely accepted is the extra charge (more than Visa or MC) incurred by the merchant.
Mimar is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 09:24 AM
  #30  
 
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A debit card is more like a check than a credit card. The funds are transferred out of your checking account when the merchant submits the charges.

Some ATM cards can only be used for withdrawals, and some (a.k.a. "check cards") work like a debit card. Both require a PIN in ATMs.

I think the optimum use is:

Credit card for purchases.
Debit or ATM card for cash withdrawals.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 09:28 AM
  #31  
 
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< To clarify a couple points in this discussion, my understanding is that a Debit card is like a credit card with a PIN. But it can also be used as a credit card >

A debit card is linked to your check/cheque/current account. If you use it, mony goes from your account. It is not a credit card where when you use it you are getting - credit - and you pay the bill later
alanRow is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 09:57 AM
  #32  
 
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This site has a lot about credit card fees:
http://www.travelfinances.com/blog/i...nversion-fees/

But I haven't been able to find anything about if credit cards take a cut on the exchange rate that they charge and then charge a fee.
airfarce is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 10:25 AM
  #33  
 
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Back a few years ago I had a debit card thru my PaineWebber account that functioned as a QUASI credit card. If I used it to get cash from an ATM with a PIN or a "cash advance" inside a bank, without using a PIN but with a signature, the funds were immediately removed from my money market brokerage account with NO FEES or INTEREST. The card was issued by BankOne and was either a Visa or Mastercard. I forget which.

If I used the card for purchases, I identified the card as a credit card to the vendor and signed for the purchase. The funds were taken from my account once a month with NO FEES or INTEREST.

The notation of NO INTEREST assumes I had funds available otherwise it was a margin loan and began accruing from the day the funds would normally have been removed from my account. BTW, a margin loan has a much lower rate than a credit card.
jsmith is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 09:07 PM
  #34  
 
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ttt
Merseyheart is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 12:51 AM
  #35  
 
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Most interesting! Merchants accept payment by CC because it increases business volume. If CC cost is excessive they raise base prices. I suspect that most CC users don't pay their CC bills on time. CCs charge around 18% on overdue balances! This is a great business. Note what CDs are now paying. Re: Check/Debit cards. Either set a daily withdrawal limit or acquire a card only for travel use with a travel budget amount. Currency conversion costs are quite low and actually insignificant compared to current lodging price raises. Visa politely notes that their annual percentage rate on foreign transactions is 36%.
GSteed is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 03:03 AM
  #36  
 
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Also, the reason AmEx credit cards are rarely accepted is the extra charge (more than Visa or MC) incurred by the merchant.

That's completely true.

Carrybean is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 07:54 AM
  #37  
Neopolitan
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I'm not sure if this is still true today, but when I had my business, I didn't accept American Express for two reasons. One was the higher service fee I had to pay to take it. The other was that with Visa and Master Card I got instant cash in my bank account when I accepted the card. With American Express, they didn't transfer those funds until the end of the month.
 
Sep 4th, 2006, 08:05 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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GSteed - I don't know about others (or how that info would be garnered or assumed), but we always, always pay our credit card bills when received so that we never pay more than what we purchased.
dorkforcemom is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 08:29 AM
  #39  
 
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I've been an AmEx merchant since 1991, and they have always settled electronic transactions every night. The paper ones accumulate for a month, but I can count the number of those I've done on the fingers of one hand.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 05:03 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I was told by a friend in France that if I prepay my credit card bill to leave me with a credit (like, if my bill is $100, pay $500) then if I take a cash advance from the card in Europe I won't be charged any extra fees, as it will come from the credit. Any thoughts?
ls608 is offline  

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