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Where are the Experts? How to get the best exchange and lowest fees?

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Aug 28th, 2003, 09:59 AM
  #1
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Where are the Experts? How to get the best exchange and lowest fees?

I always put everything on Charge cards. But I seem to remember hearing that there have been some changes in the last year or so.
Does anyone know about this? I heard that some banks are charging more than others for transactions or getting cash out of the atms.
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Aug 28th, 2003, 10:05 AM
  #2
ira
 
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Hi zucha,

Good questions.

MC and Visa add 1 percentage point to the exchange rate (in their favor) when billing you.

The bank through which you have your card adds 1 - 2% on top of that. Ask your CC provider what they charge.

The banks in Europe do not have a fee for use of their ATMs. They give you the daily bank rate when they bill your account.

Your bank charges anywhere from 0.50 to 5.00 for using someone else's ATM. Ask your bank what they charge.

Hope this helps.
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Aug 28th, 2003, 10:15 AM
  #3
 
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I used my credit card (MBNA Master Vard) for the first time this summer to get ATM $. I was charged around $25 in fees!!! I was using it, because my bank ATM card has a $5 fee every time I do a foreign transaction. You just can't win. Best way is to charge everything on your card!! (A pain in the butt in some cases, but it is the best rate).
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Aug 28th, 2003, 03:40 PM
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Never use a credit card for taking cash from an ATM--it's a cash advance and you get socked for fees and interest!

On the other hand, MBNA credit cards are great for credit card purchases (paying hotels, restaurants, buying stuff, etc.) as MBNA does NOT charge any extra foreign transaction fee like most credit card issuers do.

As ira pointed out, most credit card issuers charge 1-2% (actually up to 3% additional for a couple of companies) in addition to the 1% Visa/MC fee, but MBNA and a couple of others do not.
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Aug 28th, 2003, 03:43 PM
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We found that using our debit card for purchases and museum admissions resulted no fees.
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Aug 28th, 2003, 07:31 PM
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Wow! thanks for some information. I hope more people who are in the know about this will write and let me know about which banks do not charge fees. I have Bank One Mastercard. I will be calling right away. Unfortunately I am leaving on Sunday so it will be hard to get another card quickly.
I wonder what American Express charges which is what I use most of all when I can.
Keep writing everyone...
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Aug 28th, 2003, 10:17 PM
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Try AX. They may still allow $200 fee free withdrawal using your bank check. Use debit card to withdraw local cash from ATM. My bank uses current rate plus $1.50 fee each transaction. Charge everything you can to credit card. Be sure card is useable in that shop. AX is not in favor with merchants because of high fees to merchant.
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Aug 28th, 2003, 11:46 PM
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My bank has never charged for a withdrawal using my ATM card, either in the US or abroad. Since I am reading here that many banks do charge for such transactions, it sounds like you should shop around for a bank which does not and open an account there before your trip.

As far as credit cards, I have read here that MBNA and Capital One do not charge for currency conversion beyone the one percent imposed by VISA or Mastercard. After learning this the hard way when my Bank One bill arrived, I started using an MBNA card for international transactions and it does have lower conversion fees.
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Aug 29th, 2003, 03:30 AM
  #9
ira
 
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Hi Zucha,

AMEX is expensive for getting money from ATMs. They charge $5, but you can take out about $2700 per week.
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Aug 29th, 2003, 05:15 AM
  #10
MGB
 
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We use Merrill Lynch for our ATM withdrawals. They allow you I think 50 or so away no charge withdrawals (for their end) a year (may be less now) so that has worked. For credit card purchases Capital One does not charge the extra fee.
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Aug 29th, 2003, 05:57 AM
  #11
 
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We recently used only our MBNA card for charges since they had no additional charge over the 1% Visa conversion fee (as stated herein).

In addition, we only used our credit union Visa check card for ATM use to obtain cash. The credit union only charged us $ .75 per transaction, and the ATM machines in Italy charged us nothing. If you have access to a credit union, their ATM fees are usually considerably lower.

On note of advice: don't use your ATM card at a currency exchange store. We couldn't find a working ATM one day and finally decided to go that route. Big mistake due to large fees they socked us with on our bank statement. Oh well, at least we only did it once. Live and learn. Stick with the ATM machines only.

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