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Which currency is needed for Rhine River Amsterdam to Basel?


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1 hour ago, sharkster77 said:

We've been to 6 European countries and have never had a problem with our chip and sign cards.  I've heard that some Americans have obtained chip and PIN cards, but it seems like pulling teeth to get one.

 

This thread has gotten off on a tangent, but a useful tangent nonetheless!

A few years ago there were many threads about chip and PIN and how there were going to necessary (but almost impossible to obtain) for Americans in Europe.  That's why we got the Barclay Arrival card – it was one of the very few with full chip and PIN capability.  And it worked everywhere in Europe – but it still printed out a receipt that we had to sign!!!  And our other, chip but not PIN cards, also worked everywhere.  [Except at French toll booths, where apparently only EU cards would work no matter what technology our cards had.]  Now I don't worry about the PIN any more, although I do bring the Barclay card as my 3rd backup.

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4 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

A few years ago there were many threads about chip and PIN and how there were going to necessary (but almost impossible to obtain) for Americans in Europe.  That's why we got the Barclay Arrival card – it was one of the very few with full chip and PIN capability.  And it worked everywhere in Europe – but it still printed out a receipt that we had to sign!!!  And our other, chip but not PIN cards, also worked everywhere.  [Except at French toll booths, where apparently only EU cards would work no matter what technology our cards had.]  Now I don't worry about the PIN any more, although I do bring the Barclay card as my 3rd backup.

YES--when I retired in 2017 and we started traveling to Europe, I distinctly recall reading on these boards about the whole chip and PIN card issue.  Turns out it was a lot about nothing!

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

Good to know - so a debit card with chip & pin would also work? Do you think that this will be a permanent change?

I would be wary about using a debit card on vacation, except at an ATM.  Protection from fraudulent charges are excellent for credit cards but non-existent for debit cards.  Someone could steal your debit card and clean out your checking account.  Most credit cards do not hold you responsible for fraudulent charges--a few might charge the maximum, $50.

Edited by sharkster77
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Barclays advice on cards, use a credit card whenever possible, abroad, on line etc. otherwise in person you can use a debit card. We’ve used them over many years my husband for business all over the world used a combination of Barclaycard and American Express - the best of both worlds in those days. CA

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  • 1 month later...

My VISA credit card says:  There is a total fee of one percent for each foreign transaction, which is added together for each foreign transaction made during the billing cycle, and is shown as a foreign transaction fee.  This does not sound bad to me.  Would you agree?

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29 minutes ago, Judicruise1 said:

My VISA credit card says:  There is a total fee of one percent for each foreign transaction, which is added together for each foreign transaction made during the billing cycle, and is shown as a foreign transaction fee.  This does not sound bad to me.  Would you agree?

It sounds bad to me compared by the half-dozen credit cards I have that charge Zero foreign transaction fees.  And especially the Citi Costco Visa that charges no fees and pays back 3% on all travel charges.

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4 hours ago, Lois R said:

I agree with Jazz.......I also have a VISA that has no foreign transaction fees.  CAPITAL ONE.

As long as Capital One doesn't cut your credit limit to almost nothing for no reason.....yeah I'm still bitter about that!!!!

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7 minutes ago, sharkster77 said:

As long as Capital One doesn't cut your credit limit to almost nothing for no reason.....yeah I'm still bitter about that!!!!

Ouch.......so sorry. 

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3 hours ago, sharkster77 said:

As long as Capital One doesn't cut your credit limit to almost nothing for no reason.....yeah I'm still bitter about that!!!!


Speaking of still bitter.
Years ago, when chip and pin was first debuting in Europe (perhaps elsewhere, but unavailable in the states),  USAA issued cards with a chip and pin. Then, sometime after the chip machines were common in the US they discontinued the pin function except for cash advances.
Doesn’t seem like a good business move when your core clientele is military. 
All that aside the only place I was unable to use my chip and sign card was the Schleswig Bahnhof. A very small station in northern Germany. 

 

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5 hours ago, Lois R said:

Ouch.......so sorry. 

Yeah, Capital One lost lots of money when COVID job losses led to many people not paying their credit card bills.  They lowered their risk by cutting MY credit limit from 15K to 5K, when I NEVER missed a payment.  I have thanked them by using their card as little as possible.  My other 3 cards kept their credit limits, so they get my business.

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3 hours ago, sharkster77 said:

Yeah, Capital One lost lots of money when COVID job losses led to many people not paying their credit card bills.  They lowered their risk by cutting MY credit limit from 15K to 5K, when I NEVER missed a payment.  I have thanked them by using their card as little as possible.  My other 3 cards kept their credit limits, so they get my business.

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face – but maybe those other credit cards have better benefits anyway so you don't need it.  Capital One Quicksilver was my go-to travel card for a while, but it kept getting replaced by better ones.  I still take it with me, but it is listed as #3 on my depth chart.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face – but maybe those other credit cards have better benefits anyway so you don't need it.  Capital One Quicksilver was my go-to travel card for a while, but it kept getting replaced by better ones.  I still take it with me, but it is listed as #3 on my depth chart.

Jazz, when we started travelling internationally when I retired 4 yrs ago, we wanted 2 cards with no foreign transaction fees.  Our go-to card is our AAA Visa--it has no foreign fees and gives us triple points on travel booked through AAA, double points on gas, groceries, and pharmacies, so that's our go-to card.  Neither of my other cards offer no foreign fees, so we're on the hunt to replace the Cap One card----having a small credit line is of no use if one needs to book emergency air fare home, for example.

Edited by sharkster77
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1 hour ago, CPT Trips said:

I don’t know your your usage of the Cap One card . . . Ours was historically seldom used and we had our limit lowered pre-Covid. 

My limit was lowered last summer, and the effect of COVID on Cap One's bottom line was given as the excuse when I called them.  I would charge typically several hundred per month on the card, occasionally getting into low four figures, yet I had to suffer for the lack of payments from others.

 

Looking back, when I applied for the card I was approved within minutes----Capital One has to accept the blame for perhaps giving cards to anyone and everyone.  It took a full week to get approval on my B of A Visa card.

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We never get euros ahead of time.  The exchange rate is never good at US banks/airports.

I usually hit an ATM upon arrival while we're waiting for our luggage, & I'm a fan of taking out a few large withdrawals instead of lots of small ones to avoid transaction fees.  

We use CC for everything except small transactions (snacks/water) or if the vendor seems shady.

Hoard the 1 & 2 euro coins.  Its always good to have them handy for street performers, pay toilets, & vending machines.

 

Like others said, there are lots of good CC's with zero foreign transaction fees.

If you travel a lot, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and AMEX Platinum are kings for travel benefits.

Both come with a hefty annual fee, but quite easy to recoup with their added benefits, along with great lounge access in airports all over the world.

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Guess I am in the minority but I do get some Euros before I travel to Europe. I just feel like it is easier for me.   Actually, I have Euros left from my last cruise to Europe........that was in 2019. I found the envelope in a desk drawer! I guess I  forgot it was there.

 

The exchange rate may not be good but I just prefer having the $$$ with me. 

 

We all need to do what is best for ourselves🙂

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13 hours ago, Lois R said:

Guess I am in the minority but I do get some Euros before I travel to Europe. I just feel like it is easier for me.   Actually, I have Euros left from my last cruise to Europe........that was in 2019. I found the envelope in a desk drawer! I guess I  forgot it was there.

 

The exchange rate may not be good but I just prefer having the $$$ with me. 

 

We all need to do what is best for ourselves🙂

 

We do the same, we have exchange offices here that sometimes beat the bank rate.  Using an ATM that is not with our bank can be expensive...fees for not being from our bank, exchange fees etc.  Since we usually used our card, we came back from our last trip with most of our Euro's that we had taken, so I don't think we will need to get anymore.

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2 minutes ago, Daisi said:

 

We do the same, we have exchange offices here that sometimes beat the bank rate.  Using an ATM that is not with our bank can be expensive...fees for not being from our bank, exchange fees etc.  Since we usually used our card, we came back from our last trip with most of our Euro's that we had taken, so I don't think we will need to get anymore.

Oh, I always bring my CC  and use it for the majority of the time too.  Can't travel without a CC🙂

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I too generally bring some Euros with me. I have an exchange company (it might be the same one that @Daisi uses as they have offices across the country) with good rates and a small fixed charge no matter how many different currencies you get.

 

For me to get cash from an ATM in Europe costs me 3.5% and no additional fee with one card, or $5 plus 2.5% on another; I have not found a bank in Canada that doesn't charge foreign exchange fees on debit/ATM transactions.

 

That said, I use my CC as much as possible, since it doesn't charge foreign exchange fees. I came back from my last trip to the Euro zone with lots of Euros, so I think I now have enough for any trip, since it seems that even countries that used to be averse to CCs are accepting them in more and more places.

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Posted (edited)

So, many different approaches here. It really depends on how comfortable you are negotiating foreign ATMs, and how much it will cost you. For me, it is never cheaper or better to get currency here in the US.

 

I have a Charles Schwab checking account that I only use for travel - I finally opened it in late 2018. They charge the bank rate on ATM withdrawals and they refund all ATM fees. It's attached to a brokerage account which I use to park a few investments but you don't have to use it at all - even with a zero balance in the brokerage account you can still get the benefits of the checking account. I keep less than $1000 in the checking account and only use the debit cards overseas. 

 

I've used the cards at ATMs in Ukraine, all over the Euro zone, Argentina, Chile, and Australia and they are very good about refunding all of the ATM fees, even if they aren't broken out separately on my receipt. I check fastidiously and they always get the exchange rates perfectly, within pennies of the XE.com exchange rate for that day. It's the lowest cost way to get foreign currency for me. None of the places that I can buy from here in the states come close to the bank rate - they almost always add about 10%, which is ridiculous and I just won't pay that much. I've looked at my bank, at AAA, and at AMEX. All are way overpriced. The deal with Schwab is almost too good to be true (which is why I keep checking it).

 

Before Schwab, I would bite the bullet and pay the 3% to use my BoA debit card. There is also a $5 fee on top of this at most foreign ATMs, but BofA has partners in many popular overseas destinations where that fee is waived. For instance, you can use your BofA card at a Deutsche Bank ATM in Germany and there is no ATM fee. Or BNP Paribas in France. But you still pay 3% which annoyed me. And in countries where there is no partner bank, you pay a lot at ATMs.

 

For travel expenditures while away (restaurants, shopping, etc), like most here, I also use credit cards. My AMEX Platinum and ML Visa both charge no exchange fees, and the exchange rate is spot on. Both have chips and I can usually use one or the other as chip and PIN.

 

And like many here, I always come home with a stash of Euros for the next trip. The hardest part for me is remembering to go into the right drawer of the filing cabinet and grab the appropriate bag of currency for my upcoming trip. I've probably got 30 plastic bags of assorted currencies from all over the place. Back in the day when we could actually travel, we used to revisit countries...

 

So - lots of options in this thread. Hopefully you can find the one that works best for you.

 

I'm impressed that the Canadian posters can purchase foreign currency at such a good exchange rate. But my Canadian friends complain that their CC benefits are much less generous than mine are. You win some and lose some I guess?

Edited by jpalbny
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Yes, there are many approaches  and many comfort zones, but a major difference is which country you are from.  Here in Canada we do not have all of the different credit cards and features the Americans have. We have had chip and pin for quite some time and now because of the pandemic many businesses have adjusted limits and terminals so it is a truly hands free transaction...just flash your card at the terminal and go.

Where we live there are many retailers who are debit and credit only. No cash, so germs are not spread to cashiers.  I have not used cash in 15 months. 

RB 

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1 minute ago, Ritabob said:

Yes, there are many approaches  and many comfort zones, but a major difference is which country you are from.  Here in Canada we do not have all of the different credit cards and features the Americans have. We have had chip and pin for quite some time and now because of the pandemic many businesses have adjusted limits and terminals so it is a truly hands free transaction...just flash your card at the terminal and go.

Where we live there are many retailers who are debit and credit only. No cash, so germs are not spread to cashiers.  I have not used cash in 15 months. 

RB 

I use cash only to pay my cleaning woman. When I tried to ask her about Interac eTransfer, she knew nothing about it, so I gave up and I pay her in cash. Once every 4 weeks I transfer money to my chequing account, and go to the ATM to get cash, so I have enough for the next 4 weeks.

 

As to credit cards, because foreign exchange fees are so important to the banks (Canadians do a lot of shopping in the States, either in person or online and I believe that they travel internationally more than Americans) they don't want to give up that lucrative income source. As far as I know, foreign currency transactions are much less prevalent in the US, as you can buy pretty much anything you want in US dollars. I know of only 2 credit cards in Canada that don't charge foreign exchange fees; mine used to offer 1% cash back on all purchases and cut that benefit for foreign currency transactions; I was OK with that, but now they have dropped the car rental benefit on foreign currency transactions, which means that if you rent a car, you have to do it in advance in Canadian dollars to get the coverage.

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On 5/5/2021 at 8:23 AM, sharkster77 said:

We have a AAA Visa card that has no foreign transaction fees.  We use that and a Capital One Quicksilver card overseas.   Warning:  we requested a high limit on both, as they would be used should we need emergency, short-notice airfare home.  Capital One last winter reduced the limit by TWO THIRDS!  I paid every bill on time.  When questioned, they said too bad, but because of COVID they've had lots of people not pay their bills, so they had to lower our debt exposure.  So, due to the action of others, a dependable customer (me) has to be punished.  Suggestion:  cancel the cards of those who don't pay their bills, and leave the rest of us alone!

 

I said OK, and now only use that card for a couple of auto payments.  They show no faith in me, so I send them less business.

Change your auto payment card and dump Capital One. That is dreadful customer service. 

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