Should I get some Euros in the US or....

Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Should I get some Euros in the US or....

take lots of cash (nothing too excessive) and change it once I get there? We will also be using ATMs. Will I get a decent exchange rate at the airport or will it be better at my bank.
I was planning on having about $3-400 worth on me- can BofA give me a good rate? I'm a *very* good customer of theirs so I will not get charged a fee.
TXgalinGA is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:44 AM
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Hi TX,

You will need no more than $100 in Euro, which you can get at your departure airport.

After that, use ATMs for cash only when you can't use a credit card.

The most expensive way to get euros is to buy them in the US.

ira is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:47 AM
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If it makes you feel any better to have cash upon arrival then get a few euros before leaving. I used to do this but I don't anymore, as it's not necessary. ATM's are everywhere in Europe and offer a much better exchange than BofA or any bank will give you. I am a BofA customer and former employee and as far as I know, BofA doesn't charge "fees" to anyone, but the exchange is so terrible that it's like you're paying hefty fees. They will not cut you any slack on that for being a good customer. And no, you will not get a decent exchange at the airport. The best exchange you will get is by using the ATM.

Here is a list of banks that BofA has partnerships with worldwide. If you use these, you will pay no ATM fees at all.
- Barclays - United Kingdom
- Deutsche Bank - Germany
- Scotiabank - Canada
- BNP Paribas - France
- Westpac - Australia and New Zealand
- Santander Serfin - Mexico.

P_M is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:51 AM
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<<I will not get charged a fee.>>

Yup. That's how the receipt will read. "No fee".

But they will use an exchange rate that gives you about 8% fewer euros per dollar than they give the US Treasury, when they are making balance of trade payments (in the billions). That's the exchange rate published in the paper.

Unless you are taking a briefcase containing billions.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:53 AM
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To clarify: use the ATM's owned by those banks and you'll pay no fees.

Just curious, TXgalinGA, which countries are you going to? We recently had a thread where the poster thought euros were used all over Europe, and that is not the case.
P_M is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:54 AM
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I asked the same question a month ago. The consensus was to wait til arrival in Europe. This is what I did; I arrived with no Euros, travelers checks, or cash. I went straight to the ATM in the Brussels airport and withdrew 600 Euros. My ATM card worked at every machine I used it at, maybe I was lucky.
vivi is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:00 AM
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We are going to be traveling to europe so I called B of A and they told me there would be a 1% conversion fee charged for every WD made out of the country. Purchases using the credit portion are subject to a 3% conversion fee. There is no atm fee if you use their banks, but if you can't find one they charge $5 (not including the other bank's fee).

I am also trying to find the best way of exchanging currency and so far i don't care for any of the options!

Anyone have any luck with purchasing the traveler's checks? Is that any better?
dawtrnr is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:02 AM
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dawtmr, to which countries are you going? I've never had any difficulty finding BofA's partner banks except in Switzerland.

As for TC's that's not a good option at all. You could bring those as a back-up, but if you take them to exchange, you will get a terrible rate AND you will pay fees.
P_M is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:05 AM
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While it may have been true in the past, since so many companies now charge fees (& in fact you will most liekly be charged by both your card issuer & the owner of the ATM) if you can exchange some money for free here in the US I wuold take advantage of it. I have ALWAYS taken local currency w/me rather than having the anxiety of searching for an ATM as soon as I get off the plane. Your exchange rate may not be as good but it may save you some headaches & heartburn once you arrive. I have never had trouble w/ATM's over seas but better safe than sorry in my opinion. By the way, I am employed by one of BofA's competitors & banks will always advise you of the exchange rate prior to an exchange. So you can see what the true cost is...
SAnParis is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:10 AM
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I have only had one instance in which I arrived and was unable to either use an ATM or the one readily available was broken. I always take some Euros (usually left over from the previous trip) to get me to the nearest ATM.

I wouldn't bother with TC's which are more trouble than they are worth IMO.

You'll never get the so-called "interbank rate" published in the newspapers so do not despair. Those conversion, and other fees, are often part of the price of foreign travel, unfortunately.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:10 AM
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I get a couple of hundered dollars US before I go. I realize I pay a premium to do this but the $4-5 or so doesn't bother me, other things do.
I will not try to justify this practice as being statistically prudent or financially sound. I have yet to have trouble finding an atm once in town. Still, I prefer to land while having some local cash in my pocket.

I already have some Jordanian dinars and some Israeli shekels for my trip later next week.
elaine is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:12 AM
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that should have been, 'hundred'
elaine is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Thanks!! We are going to Amsterdam and Germany, so we will need Euros. I was not going to use my Citibank CC bc of the 3% fee. We are planning on using our Debit cards through BofA. Hopefully this will avoid the fees.
TXgalinGA is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:38 AM
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The debit card also charges the 3% fee, but as Interpid stated above, you cannot avoid fees altogehter. Everyone will charge something to exchange currency. The best suggestion I can make for you is to use Deutsche Bank to get euros. You will find Deutsche Banks most everywhere in Germany. While in Amsterdam, watch for Deutsche Bank and those other banks I listed. I'm betting they have Deutsche Banks in the Netherlands. (you could post this question on another thread)

Although Barclay's is based in the UK, when I was in Spain I used Barclay's ATM's and paid no fees. Also if you have money market accounts, I think you are allowed 2 freebie withdrawls/month. One last option is to find another bank or credit union and open a small account there so you can get a debit card. In addition to BofA, I keep a small account in a credit union, so if I'm in a place like Switzerland where I found no partners, my ATM fee is only $1.00.
P_M is offline  

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