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On 3/25/2021 at 5:57 PM, neverbeenhere said:

BTW: There are a number of Charities that collect unused foreign currency, my bank has a Officer who collects the foreign currency for one charity.

I've seen collection bins in international airports to drop local currency off and I've made use of them, to an extent.

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Let's see, most of my spending is done with my rewards credit card, any household expense that I can charge to it. I do have a debit card but it doesn't get used much anymore. I write very few checks during the year but they are still accepted. I have Canadian currency and Euro's in envelopes in one of my desks so when we travel to Europe I don't have to be in such a rush to obtain currency and we try to go up to Canada a couple of times a year (when there is no pandemic) and fly out of Montreal when going to Europe. I rarely carry cash at home and carry limited amounts of currency when traveling, enough to cover purchases that can't be made with a credit card (I have a card or two that don't have foreign transaction fees). 

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54 minutes ago, ldubs said:

 The last time one of our credit cards had an unauthorized charge we were in Denmark.  The unauthorized charge was in Florida.

We were in SE Asia; the charge was from FL

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Never use my debit card other than getting money from my banks atm. We get points towards hotels and travel or cash back on my credit cards which we pay off as soon as we get the bill. 

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Cash is rapidly becoming obsolete in much of Europe. I took £30 out of an atm in December, and still have the notes in my wallet!

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53 minutes ago, wowzz said:

Cash is rapidly becoming obsolete in much of Europe. I took £30 out of an atm in December, and still have the notes in my wallet!

We rarely spend cash. With our credit card we get points, sometimes 3X points, so why use cash? We even use it when doing drive through fast food 🙂

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Posted (edited)

We found Australia to be almost cashless.   

 

Just the opposite in Thailand and Vietnam.

 

In Europe we use credit cards BUT we ask, and often receive, a discount for cash when paying for accommodation.  Especially in Greece and Italy.  Usually 10 percent, sometimes a little more.  Same for dealing direct vs booking through an on line agency. 

 

Last discount we had was  on Zakynthos.  It  took us from 350Euro through  a third party  to 250 euro cash to the owner.

 

No bartering involved.   Simply contact the owner direct and ask for the discounted 'direct' price.   Much easier if you are actually in or near the location.

 

 The price he or she provides is always based on a cash dealing direct.

Edited by iancal
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11 hours ago, iancal said:

We found Australia to be almost cashless.   

 

Just the opposite in Thailand and Vietnam.

 

In Europe we use credit cards BUT we ask, and often receive, a discount for cash when paying for accommodation.  Especially in Greece and Italy.  Usually 10 percent, sometimes a little more.  Same for dealing direct vs booking through an on line agency. 

 

Last discount we had was  on Zakynthos.  It  took us from 350Euro through  a third party  to 250 euro cash to the owner.

 

No bartering involved.   Simply contact the owner direct and ask for the discounted 'direct' price.   Much easier if you are actually in or near the location.

 

 The price he or she provides is always based on a cash dealing direct.

Your comment about cashless just triggered a memory. We were in Warnemunde, Germany visiting my brother in law and we had just arrived the day before. He had to go out and do something so we were on our own and while we were walking around decided to stop at a small restaurant to get a snack. At the completion of the snack I presented my card and the waitress shook her head and while my German is non-existent her English wasn't much better. I was told that there was an ATM at the town square in the bank, so I left DW sitting there as I went off in search for said ATM. I did find it easily enough, but by the time I did I had forgotten exactly which street the restaurant was on. I did eventually find it and "bailed" DW out, but that is one reason why I like having at least a little local currency with me.

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2 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

Your comment about cashless just triggered a memory. We were in Warnemunde, Germany visiting my brother in law and we had just arrived the day before. He had to go out and do something so we were on our own and while we were walking around decided to stop at a small restaurant to get a snack. At the completion of the snack I presented my card and the waitress shook her head and while my German is non-existent her English wasn't much better. I was told that there was an ATM at the town square in the bank, so I left DW sitting there as I went off in search for said ATM. I did find it easily enough, but by the time I did I had forgotten exactly which street the restaurant was on. I did eventually find it and "bailed" DW out, but that is one reason why I like having at least a little local currency with me.

 

There is a very good currency exchange in our community and my practice is to arrive in a country with the equivalent of at least two or three hundred dollars in local currency preferably in small bills. More than once having local cash available immediately upon arrival has proved very helpful.   

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OP got dumb advice.  Credit cards for purchases - maximum security, but can't or expensive to get cash.  A travel debit card for getting cash.  One that is linked to your accounts on a one-way basis.  It can't initiate transfers from your regular accounts, but can receive transfers if you initiate them from your regular accounts.  Wells Fargo set us up with one when we took our first cruise, and I'm sure other Banks offer something similar.

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4 hours ago, K32682 said:

 

There is a very good currency exchange in our community and my practice is to arrive in a country with the equivalent of at least two or three hundred dollars in local currency preferably in small bills. More than once having local cash available immediately upon arrival has proved very helpful.   

 

+1 (maybe +100) on that recommendation.

 

DON

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We have a pouch that we keep.  Currently is has Euros, GBP, USD, Mex Pesos, Cuban Conv. pesos,  and Thai bhats.  We just hold on to them.

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7 hours ago, K32682 said:

 

There is a very good currency exchange in our community and my practice is to arrive in a country with the equivalent of at least two or three hundred dollars in local currency preferably in small bills. More than once having local cash available immediately upon arrival has proved very helpful.   

I haven't checked lately but the last time I did getting Euros locally wasn't easy or inexpensive. I just make sure after each trip that I bring some home with me for the next time.

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52 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

I haven't checked lately but the last time I did getting Euros locally wasn't easy or inexpensive. I just make sure after each trip that I bring some home with me for the next time.

 

The difference charged by my local outlet for USD, GBP, EUR and ZAR compared to the exchange rate charged by the bank plus the ATM fee makes the difference negligible. It is worth the extra few bucks for the convenience of not having to madly search for an ATM on arrival or if I'm in a place where my debit card doesn't work. 

 

It becomes more expensive with less common currencies but is still worth the effort. 

 

 

Edited by K32682
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For our 2019 round trip crossing, I bought 50 pounds and 50 euros. There were two Southampton days, Hamburg and LeHavre port visits.

What little shopping I did was on plastic, the pounds and euros went to tips at the end of the westbound crossing.

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2 hours ago, K32682 said:

 

The difference charged by my local outlet for USD, GBP, EUR and ZAR compared to the exchange rate charged by the bank plus the ATM fee makes the difference negligible. It is worth the extra few bucks for the convenience of not having to madly search for an ATM on arrival or if I'm in a place where my debit card doesn't work. 

 

It becomes more expensive with less common currencies but is still worth the effort. 

 

 

It does seem much easier to get foreign currency in Canada than in the US.

I lived in Colorado for 4 years and it was a real PITA to get currency for a trip. Went to my bank and said I want to buy some Euros and their response was "we don't do that" . I was like, what do you mean you don't do that, your a bank! I never had that happen in Canada.

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13 minutes ago, electro said:

It does seem much easier to get foreign currency in Canada than in the US.

I lived in Colorado for 4 years and it was a real PITA to get currency for a trip. Went to my bank and said I want to buy some Euros and their response was "we don't do that" . I was like, what do you mean you don't do that, your a bank! I never had that happen in Canada.

 

Most Americans don't have passports. Most Canadians do. Perhaps that's why U.S. banks don't carry foreign currency. My local currency exchange is not a bank but a small outlet where the staff have got to know me over the years. When I walk in they ask, "Okay, what is it that you want now?!"  I've only stumped them a couple of times. 😉 

 

 

Edited by K32682
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If you are travelling in Europe it helps to have a chip and pin card - especially if you will be using public transportation or driving a car.   A lot of sites for buying train, bus and metro tickets, and gas stations, are un-manned. You cannot use cash or regular credit or debit card.

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I have never owned a debit card, far too risky in comparison to a credit card.  I haven’t used an ATM since 1995. I get cash with my Discover card at the grocery if needed.  I used to laugh at people who charge micro payments but I wised up and charge everything regardless of price.  That said I have a PayPal account and plan to use their debit card next trip.  Just a small trial. 

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10 hours ago, K32682 said:

 

Most Americans don't have passports. Most Canadians do. Perhaps that's why U.S. banks don't carry foreign currency. My local currency exchange is not a bank but a small outlet where the staff have got to know me over the years. When I walk in they ask, "Okay, what is it that you want now?!"  I've only stumped them a couple of times. 😉 

 

 

My bank doesn't carry foreign currency, they have to special order it, even CDN should I have a need for that (unless they have recently had someone exchange CDN and happen to have it in their drawer).

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1 hour ago, sparks1093 said:

My bank doesn't carry foreign currency, they have to special order it, even CDN should I have a need for that (unless they have recently had someone exchange CDN and happen to have it in their drawer).

I don't think it has anything to do with passports.  Banks simply have cut down on walk up services.  We have been decluttering getting ready to downsize and gathered all of our coins.  Our very service oriented bank does not even have a coin sorter anymore.  The clerk was apologetic but that is the way of it now.  

 

I know Bank of America will order currency for you even if you are not a customer but the rate is likely the same as you would get on a cruise ship!  I don't worry about currency until I am in port as I find usually credit card is good enough. 

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14 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

I don't think it has anything to do with passports.  Banks simply have cut down on walk up services.  We have been decluttering getting ready to downsize and gathered all of our coins.  Our very service oriented bank does not even have a coin sorter anymore.  The clerk was apologetic but that is the way of it now.  

 

I know Bank of America will order currency for you even if you are not a customer but the rate is likely the same as you would get on a cruise ship!  I don't worry about currency until I am in port as I find usually credit card is good enough. 

It has to do with demand and in our village of 1700 people the demand isn't there for foreign currency, even for CDN currency with Canada being only 8 miles away. Since travel habits dictate demand passports does play a part, but maybe not a big part. Our cruises so far have been limited to the Bahamas and the Caribbean and there has been no need to worry about local currency.

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