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Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 03:54 PM   #1
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Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Traveling to Ireland in may; NI uses the Pound Sterling and Rep. Ire. uses Euros.
I'll be in both places. What is the best way to convert money over there?
I used to take pound sterling travelers cheques (bought at AAA) and cash them in at the airport or just pay the store with them.
I'll be landing at Belfast International.

.
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 03:59 PM   #2
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Why not just use an ATM card while over there and let the machine do the exchange for you?
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 04:07 PM   #3
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

by ATM card, you mean my Visa credit card and/or my bank debit card ? ?
I've only ever used my debit card at my credit union; will it work overseas?
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 04:13 PM   #4
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Your debit card is a 'ATM' card...

It will work in most machines... I have found a few that mine don't work...

Be prepared to pay a 1% 'fee' and a fixed rate also.... before it was free, but they found out they could charge you for this...

My bank is $3 for any internatinal withdrawl, plus someone charges the 1% fee... think it might be the network, but not sure...
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 04:23 PM   #5
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Yes, your debit card is an ATM card and yes, you will be charged fees - check with your bank on their charges. Look at the back of the card for the networks that your card will work on and match that at the ATM machine if possible - will minimize the fees possibly.

Think ahead as to how much youwill need so you don't need to worry about juggling the money and the spread with the conversions - also, use your credit card as much as possible - they use handheld machiens to run your credit card right in front of you in Europe - no issues with going into the back room and possibly stealing the number--the receipt prints out on the handheld, you sign it and go - again your credit card company may put a fee on, but you'll get the best exchange rate.

Lastly, if you have an overcontrolling bank (they've hired a security firm to protect themselves from fraudulent charges - PenFed is one of them), tell them you will be traveling in Europe so they don't stop the credit charge thinking someone has stolen your card number - I had that unfortunate experience last year and was reduced to cash machines between France, Germany and Switzerland.....and then a collect call to the security company explaining my situation.....arghhh.

Have a great trip!
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 04:40 PM   #6
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

thanks! I assume that I can carry cash with me and convert at the airport or at a bank...is that right?
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 04:59 PM   #7
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennevis
thanks! I assume that I can carry cash with me and convert at the airport or at a bank...is that right?
Yes, but that is the WORST rate you can get for exchange....

The ATM and the CC is about the same rate.... but most CCs charge 3% fee... so check carefully before you start charging things... plus a 1% Visa or MC fee (if I remember right)

If you have time, get a Capital One card... they do not charge a fee.... but still get hit with the other one from MC or Visa..
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 05:04 PM   #8
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

good idea about the Capital One card, wife has one for herself, but first I'll call my credit union to ask about charges.
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 05:08 PM   #9
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deserat
also, use your credit card as much as possible
Agreed, except make sure that the bank or credit union that you card is issued with doesn't charge you extra on top of MasterCard or Visa's 1% standard foreign transaction fee. My bank charges 2% extra for a grand total of 3%. This eliminates any benefit from their favorable exchange rate. Since early 2005, we've been using our credit union's Visa card for overseas travel.

I think I mentioned before on this board that some merchants will convert the Euros -> dollars for you before charging your card. What they don't tell you is that they will give you a horrible exchange rate and to make things worse, MasterCard/Visa will still charge you the 1% foreign transaction fee! We had this happen in Bunratty Castle, Ireland. Just keep on your toes and make sure they charge you in the local currency.

You also might want to write down the non-toll free numbers on the back of your card so that you can contact them in case it gets lost or stolen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennevis
thanks! I assume that I can carry cash with me and convert at the airport or at a bank...is that right?
Both Dublin and Shannon airports have ATMs at the airport.
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 06:22 PM   #10
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

BFS airport also has 2 foreign exchange bureaux to that sell/buy foreign currency,
but don't know if they will sell euros there. Obviously they will sell pounds.
Found that bit of info. on their website.
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 07:14 PM   #11
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

I've done a ton of international travel, and I find that it's just easiest to use the ATM / debit card.

Your bank will give you the best exchange rate when you withdraw from an ATM / "Cash Machine". Then you'll typically be charged a fee from the foreign ATM and another fee from your bank (unless they reimburse / don't charge for ATM transactions with other banks).

So I would generally take out a large sum of cash at once (to minimize the transaction fees), and that would cover me for a while.

Also, if your debit/ATM card is a Visa or Mastercard, then in a bind you can use that to charge at most places (though you'll get hit with a 3% transaction fee when you use it as a Visa / MC).

Basically: Get cash out of ATM primary. Then use debit card and/or credit card for backup, or for purchases that you want any of the warantees/guarantees on.
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 08:17 PM   #12
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

I'm probably the only Irish person on this board, so......

Here is the link to the ATM and Branch Locator for Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank. Expect to see logos for Cirrus, etc. Both ATM and credit cards are in wide use in Ireland. In fact, there is an international financial centre in Dublin. You shouldn't have any trouble. Credit card or cash withdrawn from the ATM would be the most efficient financially. ATMs give the current daily rate and the flat fee you will pay is comparable to that charged when you withdraw cash from any bank other than your own, so to minimize fees, take out larger chunks of cash at a time. Foreign exchange at a bank or exchange will cost you a fee. Should you choose that route, traveller's cheques are accepted. In tourist traps, they will take your US dollars.

If I can provide any other helpful information, just PM me. And enjoy the craic (Irish for have a whale of a time!)



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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 08:28 PM   #13
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?


Up-to-date details on exchange charges on various credit and ATM cards:

http://www.flyertalk.com/wiki/index....reign_Exchange

Kramer
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 08:48 PM   #14
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

I travel to Europe fairly often. There is no need to carry any extra cash. Maybe only for a taxi. The above messages have good advice: Use your credit card for all possible transactions. Get a card that does not tack on the 2% extra fee for foreign transactions. CapitolOne is one such card. Amex, Chase, Citi are not. Also forget about travelers checks. No one knows what those are anymore.

Also call your credit card company and tell them you will be using it in Europe and when. Otherwise, you may find unpleasantly that your card will not be approved.

Your bank may charge you $5 for the ATM transaction if it isn't in your network. Check with your bank. You can get maybe a hundred pounds or euros, but you don't want to bring any foreign money back or it will be dead money until the next time you go.

The last couple of times I went to Europe, I took a 5 pound note and a 10 euro note. I didn't use an ATM, only a credit card. I came back with the same 5 pound note and the same 10 euro note.
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-06-2007, 08:57 PM   #15
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh
I'm probably the only Irish person on this board, so......
Not to hijack, but I'm Irish too (county wicklow) --...did a masters here, then a Ph.D. then got a job, then FIRed, and am still here 20 years later.

anyway, agree with all the above posters....I go back home once a year, and always use ATM or credit cards.

Remember too, if you make any large purchases, thn you are entitled to get your VAT (a ridiculous tax on purchases) back....it can add up to quite a lot if you buy a lot of gifts. You need to keep your receipts for reclaiming the tax.

Winnie

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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-07-2007, 12:14 AM   #16
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Agree with above poster about traveler checks... they are NOT taken by a lot of places anymore... it costs them to deposit.. they much prefer cash or CC...

A friend just went to England with traveler checks and was refused by a few hotels... had to use his CC... he was going to give them to his son who was at university there, but he said the bank would charge a large fee to deposit them... he would rather have cash and deposit that...
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-07-2007, 01:02 AM   #17
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

I'm probably one of the few on the boards living overseas. Right now, I have 4 different currencies in my wallet - $, euros, pounds, and rubles. I highly recommend using an ATM card. I'm not sure who you bank with, but our WF account never charged us a fee for withdrawals in the UK or Europe. When I pull money in Russia they're reimbursing us for the access fee (from the ATM here). That is probably a benefit of the premium account we have with them.

I highly discourage the use of traveler's checks. When my family came to visit last year they brought traveler's checks - such a pain. We always had to find a bank branch to cash them.

That 3% credit card fee adds up, cash is probably a better deal.
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-07-2007, 08:57 AM   #18
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

Talked this morning with both credit/debit card companies and my credit union.
I can get cash from atm machines with both credit cards and my one debit card.
The CU will not charge me to use the cards at someone else's machine; of course,
the owner of the machine will charge me something.
All asked that them to make sure I can use the cards in both Irelands when I do the travel.
I kind of knew that traveler's checks were not the way to go, and you've all confirmed that.
Thanks to all for helping me!
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-07-2007, 09:05 AM   #19
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

But you know that using a credit card to get cash from an ATM is a cash advance and probably an interest rate of 36.81%, right?
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?
Old 02-07-2007, 09:10 AM   #20
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Re: Best way to convert $ to Euros/Pounds?

I don't know what the interest rate is, forgot to ask,
but I don't keep a balance, I pay it off right away.

fyi: just checked: 9.25% on cred. card advance from my CU.
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