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Euro Exchange Rates?

DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User regular
edited June 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm heading to Europe for 2 weeks and I'd like to find the best way to exchange dollars for euros. I can order them online from places like Wells Fargo, where I would get about 61 euros for $100. Alternatively, I could get withdrawals from ATMs in Europe. Can I expect to get a better exchange rate with my debit card in Europe than I would find here in the U.S.?

I was in France this summer and I used the ATMs there, but that was a long time ago and I have no idea how much I could get for $100 over there now. If anybody has any ideas, I'd appreciate it. If it matters, we'll be in Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy.

DJ-99 on

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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    It depends on how much you want to strategize. If you buy euros now and then the value of the euro goes up (i.e. you buy for 60 euros/$100 and by the time you get to france the exchange rate is 58/100) then you will have saved yourself a little bit of money. On the other hand, this means you have to carry large amounts of cash on your person, which is not as secure. If you use an ATM, you may get a better exchange rate (since the conversion fees are usually less) but you may get hit with an ATM fee every time you withdraw. Personally I wouldn't say it would be worth it to get currency beforehand (especially if you use a credit card for lots of purchases, you will get that day's exchange rate) due to the hassle of carrying a lot of cash.

    tsmvengy on
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    TaGuelleTaGuelle Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    When you get to Europe, depending on the bank you have, try and find one, and just withdraw a buttload then. You'll save yourself a bunch and it will be much easier. Depening on the City, I might be able to direct you to it. Though only if you are flying into Germany.

    TaGuelle on
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    TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If you can get Euros from your bank now, and you have time before your trip, do it. Their rates are usually the best. You just have to let them know in advance (Compass Bank takes a week to get them to you).

    If not, go to a bank in Europe, and use the ATMs there. Prague in particular has a lot of ATMS on the corners, but they seem to be more a branch of those shady exchange booths you used to see everywhere when everyone had their own cash monies.

    TexiKen on
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    CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I've always just used ATMs at my desination. I used to get charged a $2 foreign atm fee (I also used to get that in the US), but when you're getting out a couple hundred Euros, that's like a 0.25% fee, which is nothing.

    Getting them ahead of time seems like a pain to me, and I wouldn't bother with it personally.

    Cauld on
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    SakebombSakebomb Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I would get the get the cold-hard cash now.
    Also if you have a Visa, try to avoid using it.
    I found out the hard way that they apply a 3% International Service Fee on every transaction while you are overseas.

    Of course this means, youre carrying cash on you every where you go, which can be a little risky.
    Minimize the risk by only carrying what you intend to spend whenever you leave your room. If your hotel has a safe, take advantage of it.

    Someone recomended to me that you carry a "dummy" wallet with minimal cash, and a few expired store cards in it.
    That way in the event that youre mugged (gods forbid) you can toss the assailant the dummy.



    EDIT: would you mind linking the Wells Fargo exchange site?
    Im taking a trip next year too, and thatd be useful to me, thanks.

    Sakebomb on
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    TreelootTreeloot Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Sakebomb wrote: »
    I would get the get the cold-hard cash now.
    Also if you have a Visa, try to avoid using it.
    I found out the hard way that they apply a 3% International Service Fee on every transaction while you are overseas.

    Of course this means, youre carrying cash on you every where you go, which can be a little risky.
    Minimize the risk by only carrying what you intend to spend whenever you leave your room. If your hotel has a safe, take advantage of it.

    Someone recomended to me that you carry a "dummy" wallet with minimal cash, and a few expired store cards in it.
    That way in the event that youre mugged (gods forbid) you can toss the assailant the dummy.



    EDIT: would you mind linking the Wells Fargo exchange site?
    Im taking a trip next year too, and thatd be useful to me, thanks.

    Visa isn't who applies the 3% service charge, it's the credit card company. Capital One's cards don't have a foreign purchase transaction fee.

    Treeloot on
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    corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Honestly I just use ATMs at the destination. You get screwed on costs but the convenience far outweighs the losses.

    I'd go with some cash however, and really do tell your bank before you leave.

    corcorigan on
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    CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    corcorigan wrote: »
    Honestly I just use ATMs at the destination. You get screwed on costs but the convenience far outweighs the losses.

    I'd go with some cash however, and really do tell your bank before you leave.

    I've heard this before, but in my experience I get the actual market exchange rate at the time of the transaction without fees (other than the ATM fee I referenced earlier).

    Also, my visa charges a 1% foreign transaction fee, not that it really effects things (I mean its 1%.

    But yes to the telling your bank thing

    Cauld on
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    TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Oh, make sure you call you credit card/debit card company to let them know where you are going and for how long.

    When I went my credit card had a hold on it (and had to call and tell them it was me when the hotel had a fit that it was being rejected, despite being prepaid on Expedia) but my debit card worked just fine.

    TexiKen on
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    DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Sakebomb wrote: »
    I would get the get the cold-hard cash now.
    Also if you have a Visa, try to avoid using it.
    I found out the hard way that they apply a 3% International Service Fee on every transaction while you are overseas.

    Of course this means, youre carrying cash on you every where you go, which can be a little risky.
    Minimize the risk by only carrying what you intend to spend whenever you leave your room. If your hotel has a safe, take advantage of it.

    Someone recomended to me that you carry a "dummy" wallet with minimal cash, and a few expired store cards in it.
    That way in the event that youre mugged (gods forbid) you can toss the assailant the dummy.



    EDIT: would you mind linking the Wells Fargo exchange site?
    Im taking a trip next year too, and thatd be useful to me, thanks.

    This is the Wells Fargo link. https://www.foreignexchangeservices.com/

    My bank said they charge a 1.5% fee, which I guess isn't that bad. I think that, in general, European banks have worse exchange rates than the ATMs, for whatever reason. I suppose I will end up buying about 20% of my Euros/Crozars here in the U.S. and then buy the rest over there, to somewhat hedge my bet. I don't want to be carrying around 1000 euros in cash, so I definitely won't be getting it all here.

    DJ-99 on
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    CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    DJ-99 wrote: »
    Sakebomb wrote: »
    I would get the get the cold-hard cash now.
    Also if you have a Visa, try to avoid using it.
    I found out the hard way that they apply a 3% International Service Fee on every transaction while you are overseas.

    Of course this means, youre carrying cash on you every where you go, which can be a little risky.
    Minimize the risk by only carrying what you intend to spend whenever you leave your room. If your hotel has a safe, take advantage of it.

    Someone recomended to me that you carry a "dummy" wallet with minimal cash, and a few expired store cards in it.
    That way in the event that youre mugged (gods forbid) you can toss the assailant the dummy.



    EDIT: would you mind linking the Wells Fargo exchange site?
    Im taking a trip next year too, and thatd be useful to me, thanks.

    This is the Wells Fargo link. https://www.foreignexchangeservices.com/

    My bank said they charge a 1.5% fee, which I guess isn't that bad. I think that, in general, European banks have worse exchange rates than the ATMs, for whatever reason. I suppose I will end up buying about 20% of my Euros/Crozars here in the U.S. and then buy the rest over there, to somewhat hedge my bet. I don't want to be carrying around 1000 euros in cash, so I definitely won't be getting it all here.

    Those rates don't look so great. It says $1.64/euro. A quick googling of 'dollars per euro' yields 1.54, meaning wellsfargo is charging a 7% premium, plus a 1.5% "fee". When I do the atm thing, I always get within a few hundreths of the actual rate.

    I got 700 Yuan a few days ago, it cost me about $101. So the rate was about 6.93/dollar. I just googled it and it says 6.925 and since the rate has been falling slowly that makes sense. Even taking into account the $2 fee I pay, that's like 2% naturally this would go up/down if I got less/more money from the atm.

    Cauld on
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