Using the ATM or Money Exchange firms

Mar 9th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Using the ATM or Money Exchange firms

Hello, I wanted to know what is the best way to get local currency when traveling to Europe. My bank (B of A) charges $5 for withdrawing money and 1% of the total transaction as a fee, does anyone know what the Euorpean banks charge as a fee? Is is less expensive to use the money exchange firms at the airports or are they rip-offs?
UCSB is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Using exchange bureaus will always be the MOST expensive way to get local currency. Ask your bank for the highest possible daily withdrawal limit they will give you so you can limit the number of times you'll have to pay the $5 fee. Then be sure to keep your cash in a safe and secure place (like a moneybelt).
TimS is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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This is asked several times a day. Do a search
alanRow is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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Hi UC,

Open an account with another bank or a credit union.

$5 is an outrageously high fee.

My bank charges $0.75.

Most European banks do not charge a fee to use their ATMs.

ira is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Your cost to get 250 Euro ($300) from a bank ATM would be $8 (the $5 BoA fee plus 1 percent of 300, $3). There's no charge from the European bank, but a convenience-store cash dispenser would probably tack on a fee.

To get the same amount from an exchange bureau, a rough guess would be 5 to 8 percent, or $15 to $24, or even more.
kayd is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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BOA has 'global partners' that you can use and there is no fee. For example, in France it is BNP Paribas.
JJS2006 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Big picture, ATM's are the best value.

You'd have to have the exact rates of exchange, and fees involved from each specific money exchange company, know the amount you wish to change per transaction, etc. etc. to give yourself an exact answer. I'm not willing to do the math.

I pay BoA their $5 and take my daily max. in a transaction. But I'm also not above plopping down $50USD, say in an airport, to get some walking around money (when I go thru Heathrow but am not staying in the UK, for example).
suze is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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And in the UK it is Barclay's. In Germany it is Deutschbank. Meanwhile you can find many of those same banks in other European countries as well. If you have a BofA ATM card, it is relatively easy to nearly always use partner banks and then the withdrawals won't cost a thing. Meanwhile I suggest doing at least 300 euro at a time.
$5 is roughly 1 1/2 percent of that. Not worth getting worked up about, and certainly better than you'll do at any exchange firm.
Mar 9th, 2006, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Personally I am not happy with the BOA charge... I asked at my local brach for the international affliates and got the response "We don't know" Asked how I would find out... they went off to see, came back with "We don't have any"

$5 is OUTRAGEOUS and just plain stupid. On top of their other horrid systems I am probably just changing to my local Credit Union, lower fees and something resembling service.
CarolA is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 04:55 PM
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Bureau de Changes typically charge from 7 to 9% to change currencies. Even with a $5 fee the 1% from BOA is a better deal - as long as you're not taking a few euros at a time.

However - I would look at another bank - don;t know of any others that charge that kind of fee to take out your own money (Citibank charges no fee - and they're infamous for not giving anything away). You must be able to do better.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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I recently converted my Washington Mutual Free Checking account: WaMu Free Checking (which is different from the old free checking account.) They have no fee for using international atm and the conversion rate is 1% for purchases and withdrawals.

This is what I know, can anyone confirm this?
UCSB is offline  
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