Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 03:11 PM
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If you have Euro Bank Notes (cash)you may find it imposible to exchange them outside an international US airport with a few exceptions.
Rural america is not set up for foreign exchange unlike most of the world, where
foreign exchange at banks is a normal
We traveled through mid western US and every bank I visited didn't even know what euros where and refused to do any sort of exchange.
We even asked in bigger cities like Okalahoma City,El Paso,San Antonio and
Albuquerque. None would accept euros!

So when traveling US never even try to exchange foreign currency outside Major airports.

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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 03:26 PM
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Yes, only specific branches of very few banks accept foreign currency. Same goes for foreign checks and traveler checks.

I even had to go all the way up to the regional manager to have my check deposited - issued in Canada in US currency, live in San Francisco, and it was an international bank!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 03:35 PM
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The conventional wisdom for US residents traveling to Europe is also never to exchange cash but rather use an ATM to withdraw cash directly from one's own bank account. In this case it's not because $US aren't recognized, but rather the lousy exchange rate and added exchange fees.

I'm curious, does the same rule not apply for Europeans who travel to US? Use an ATM card to withdraw $US cash when needed and just forget exchanging Euro, travelers checks etc?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 03:54 PM
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Yes, J62
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 04:07 PM
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I thought so. I was reading OP to recommend changing Euro bank notes at an airport exchange with no mention of the preferred method of using an ATM regardless of where you are so I wasn't sure. I have business colleagues from Europe visiting US for the 1st time next mo, so it's not out of idle curiosity that I ask.

I grew up in an era were out-of-state drivers license wasn't recognized as valid ID (at bars) in parts of the US and even out-of-state checks were not accepted by local merchants. So it's no surprise that even in 2007 most US banks aren't equipped to handle foreign currency.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 04:45 PM
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This is absolutely correct. Even in New York there are only a few bureau de changes and only the largest branches of a few banks will change euros. There simply is very little call for them - so at other branches they simply don;t want them.

The point is - don;t bring euros. Pay for everything you can with your crdedit card and pull walking around money with your ATM card. As long as it's a member of the major networks (Cirrus, Star etc) you will have no trouble at any ATM. However, both bank and commerical ATMs (in markets, stores etc) will charge a small fee - typically $1 for use of the machine. So don't pull only a few $ - take out enough for several days.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 05:27 PM
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woolverick, I'm sorry you had to learn this the hard way. When I was in college I worked as a foreign exchange teller. Back then we did currency exchange for anyone who walked through the door. But today that same bank only exchanges currency for account holders.

I hope you will come visit the US again someday, but next time plan to use your ATM card, and perhaps bring some traveler's checks in US$ as a back up.
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