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johnjen

The Best Advice on Obtaining Foreign Currency

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I wasn't sure where to post this.....

 

Since we're going to Europe this summer on our cruise, I've typically just always used the credit card for purchases but now realizing it's good to carry at least some Euros with me.

So far, I learned that the currency exchange at IAD's rates are better than pre-ordering foreign currency even from my own bank, and, the rates are better. 

 

So, what is the BEST advice on getting foreign currency before departing? At the airport? Or, just extracting it from an ATM using the card?

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I live overseas and so travel to places with different currencies regularly. I always get money out of the ATM. Usually, there's an ATM surcharge, but my bank refunds those... and using the ATM I get the bank rate of exchange, which is almost always better than the rate offered at a currency exchange booth. 

 

(Some ATMs, especially in Europe, will offer to charge you in dollars. So, for example, you get 100 euros but the charge to your card is the dollar equivalent. Always say no to this... the rate is worse than the rate you'd get for your bank at conversion.)

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Getting your currency from an ATM in its country of origin is your best bet.  For the Euro that means any of the Euro countries.  If you use an ATM, especially at the airport, be sure it is a bank affiliated ATM and not one from a money exchange company as the rate will be quite different.  Also it is best for you if you have an ATM account that covers fees anywhere.

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2 hours ago, johnjen said:

 

 

So, what is the BEST advice on getting foreign currency before departing? At the airport? Or, just extracting it from an ATM using the card?

the BEST advice on getting foreign currency before departing is to get your foreign currency After Arriving....in the airport at a non-Travelex ATM.  Not hard to find, will only take as much time as entering your PIN and selecting the amount that you want.

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Great answers all. I deeply appreciate this. As for ATM's, like we have in the US, are there limits on amounts you can take out? Here in the US (at least with my credit union) the daily limit is $400.

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On 4/17/2019 at 9:27 AM, johnjen said:

Great answers all. I deeply appreciate this. As for ATM's, like we have in the US, are there limits on amounts you can take out? Here in the US (at least with my credit union) the daily limit is $400.

Generally the limit that you have here still holds.   I had a card with a $500 limit.  First night on a land trip to Spain I kept asking for €500 and was declined.  After third try,  my brain, dulled by too much time in the air, said ask for less and like magic €400 appeared.  So calculate what your max would be in dollar equivalents.

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On 4/17/2019 at 5:27 PM, johnjen said:

Great answers all. I deeply appreciate this. As for ATM's, like we have in the US, are there limits on amounts you can take out? Here in the US (at least with my credit union) the daily limit is $400.

The limit will depend on your card - and the ATM itself.  The figure you quote is fairly typical, but it could be lower.

 

Across Europe ATMs are widely available and the cheapest way to get cash - subject of course to the charging structure of your particular card.

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We always change a small amount of money into the currency of countries we are going to visit.

 

We do this before leaving home.

 

Exchange rates in airports, hotels and on cruise ships are definitely not the best.

 

We do not usually use ATMs but understand they offer good rates.

I do not want my card 'swallowed' in countries where I cannot explain what has happened.(Technophobic !)

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On ‎4‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 12:27 PM, johnjen said:

Great answers all. I deeply appreciate this. As for ATM's, like we have in the US, are there limits on amounts you can take out? Here in the US (at least with my credit union) the daily limit is $400.

If you are travelling with another person and they have a card, too, you can each withdraw up to the limit.

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ATM with Charles Schwab Investor Checking account. No foreign transaction fee, will refund any ATM fees. It's worked flawlessly for me for years. I can't recommend it enough. Also note that if you are taking euros out of an ATM and it asks if you want them to convert it from USD to Euros for you say no.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

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On my tour around South America before we left home I went to  currency exchange and got about 200 US dollars worth of the local currency. For each of the ports of call including Mexico. I got denominations as close as I could to $10 US value.  It was great.  I could shop at the local markets and not really have to speak the language to purchase whatever.  Purchasing soft drinks or beer from the vendors was easy.  Ten dollar tip to the tour guide was always welcomed in the local currency.  The whole exercise was fun...  For major purchases I used the credit card.

Edited by donh1

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I have ordered foreign currency through my checking account at Bank of America.  Their Euro/ Dollar rate today is 1 EURO equals 1.1748 US Dollar. 

 

They can mail it to you or you can pick it up at a local branch, and you can order whatever denominations you like. You can order pretty much any currency for any country you can think of.

 

The only fee is $7.95 delivery fee if you order less than $1000 in currency.  

 

Edited by Angela2017
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1 hour ago, Voelfgar said:

Does using the ATM in the destination country still apply if it is say Mexico?

I just use  US Cash 

which I can get at my local bank 

I guess if you want to use an ATM there I would go into  a bank  & not use a stand alone ATM 

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On 4/16/2019 at 10:37 AM, johnjen said:

I wasn't sure where to post this.....

 

Since we're going to Europe this summer on our cruise, I've typically just always used the credit card for purchases but now realizing it's good to carry at least some Euros with me.

So far, I learned that the currency exchange at IAD's rates are better than pre-ordering foreign currency even from my own bank, and, the rates are better. 

 

So, what is the BEST advice on getting foreign currency before departing? At the airport? Or, just extracting it from an ATM using the card?

We just withdrew money once we got to Europe.  Had some US dollars and used them as we could or needed to.

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I had planned on getting some Euros from my bank before I went to Spain last fall.  I decided not to, due to the fee involved.  Hard to believe, but I had a hard time finding ATM's once I got there.  Amsterdam airport, only 1 place to get Euros...then in Barcelona, finally at one of the Metro stations...I had even asked several locals (the one they did point me to, unable to use due to the banking requirements).  I ended up spending more there than if I had purchased them here, due to foreign transaction fee and ATM fees.

Next time, I will just pay the extra here. 

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