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Old 06-13-2016, 04:20 AM   #21
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Most people us ATMs and get a good exchange rate. I am a bit paranoid about running out of local currency so I always get enough from Citibank before I go. I just got back from Normandy with quite a few Euros to spare. I am considering keeping them for my next trip since the rate was better than I have seen in many years. I take a yearly biking trip overseas which necessitates carrying a fair amount of Euros to tip the guides. This year a fellow traveler went the ATM route and had problems with his card. By the time he sorted that out over the phone we were in fairly remote areas and he was chasing around trying to find an ATM.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:40 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
A long time ago I read that you could prior to a trip pay your credit card an extra couple of thousand. Then when you did ATM cash withdrawal on it, there was no charge as the card was already overpaid.
Has anyone tried that ?
My understanding is that if you have credit on your card, you won't be charged interest on any cash advance.

But I don't think that eliminates the % fee for cash advances.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:48 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Most people us ATMs and get a good exchange rate. I am a bit paranoid about running out of local currency so I always get enough from Citibank before I go. I just got back from Normandy with quite a few Euros to spare. I am considering keeping them for my next trip since the rate was better than I have seen in many years. I take a yearly biking trip overseas which necessitates carrying a fair amount of Euros to tip the guides. This year a fellow traveler went the ATM route and had problems with his card. By the time he sorted that out over the phone we were in fairly remote areas and he was chasing around trying to find an ATM.
ATM location is critical. Larger towns and cities are much easier. I use the VISA website to locate ATMs in advance, and I'm always looking for a bank branch and hours in case I need assistance retrieving my card.

Just be aware that you are being charged at least double in getting the currency from your bank in the US before leaving. Around 6% lost due to the bank's exchange rate versus 3% typical ATM card exchange rate hit.

I've pulled €500/€600 out at a time with no problem at ATMs in Europe. I prefer to visit ATMs infrequently if possible.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:02 AM   #24
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If you order currency from your bank prior to leaving, they're really going to rip you off. Wells Fargo on an ATM transaction charges $5.00 plus 3% of the amount received which is ridiculous. I wouldn't be surprised if they also ripped customers off on the exchange rate.

I use a credit union ATM for international travel. I try to use a Capital One credit card anytime I can to avoid having to use more cash than absolutely necessary. I get by using relatively little cash on a trip that way. And Capital One cards give you 100% on the currency exchange--no rip off.

I obtain funds from bank owned ATM's only. Travelex and American Express machines are not bank ATM's and will really charge dearly for use of their systems.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:25 AM   #25
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If you order currency from your bank prior to leaving, they're really going to rip you off. Wells Fargo on an ATM transaction charges $5.00 plus 3% of the amount received which is ridiculous. I wouldn't be surprised if they also ripped customers off on the exchange rate.

I use a credit union ATM for international travel. I try to use a Capital One credit card anytime I can to avoid having to use more cash than absolutely necessary. I get by using relatively little cash on a trip that way. And Capital One cards give you 100% on the currency exchange--no rip off.

I obtain funds from bank owned ATM's only. Travelex and American Express machines are not bank ATM's and will really charge dearly for use of their systems.
The Weeks Fargo fees you quote are typical of US banks. BofA is the same. Assuming it's a VISA network, Wells Fargo uses the same VISA exchange rate as everyone else. So at least there is no additional exchange rate ripoff.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:19 AM   #26
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If you order currency from your bank prior to leaving, they're really going to rip you off.
Yes. When I looked into this at Chase a month ago, I got "We don't charge any fee at all; it's just built into the rate, which is standard."

When I checked the actual rate they offered that day, it was obviously with a 6% premium on top of the spot rate.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:04 AM   #27
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Yes. When I looked into this at Chase a month ago, I got "We don't charge any fee at all; it's just built into the rate, which is standard."

When I checked the actual rate they offered that day, it was obviously with a 6% premium on top of the spot rate.
Yep - 5.6% is what I calculated for BofA a while back.

Ouch!

I just love the "don't charge you any fee" answer. There may be no explicit fee, but you are definitely being charged!
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:26 AM   #28
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They charged me 3% to exchange from USD to JPY at Haneda Airport Exchange in Tokyo (it displayed the name of the bank but I cannot remember.) Not a bad rate at all IMHO.


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Old 06-13-2016, 08:38 AM   #29
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They charged me 3% to exchange from USD to JPY at Haneda Airport Exchange in Tokyo (it displayed the name of the bank but I cannot remember.) Not a bad rate at all IMHO.


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That equates with most US bank ATM foreign transaction fees which are typically 3%.

Here is a good reference for ATM/debit cards and what they charge for use at foreign ATMs.
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/bank...onal-atm-fees/

I notice it doesn't include the Fidelity Cash Management debit VISA which reimburses all ATM fees, but states that they do charge a 1% foreign transaction fee. Some posters claim they don't actually get charged the 1%, but they would have to compare to the VISA exchange rates for that same day to know for sure.
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:18 PM   #30
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I notice it doesn't include the Fidelity Cash Management debit VISA which reimburses all ATM fees, but states that they do charge a 1% foreign transaction fee. Some posters claim they don't actually get charged the 1%, but they would have to compare to the VISA exchange rates for that same day to know for sure.
OK - I found out the secret for the Fidelity Cash Management "Check Card" ATM/debit card and foreign fees. I spoke to a representative today:
  • If the card is used at an ATM, there is no foreign transaction fee.
  • If the card is used in a transaction for any debit card purchases, then the 1% foreign transaction fee applies. This fee also applies if you go inside the bank to withdraw funds from a teller, rather than using the ATM machine.
So the representative said most people withdraw funds from the ATM, and use cash to pay for purchases.

The reason I had called - this Fidelity debit/ATM card is now being issued with a chip. So I requested to be sent the new chip version. Having the card with a chip means we will probably be able to use the card with ticket machines in Europe - at least some of the time .
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:10 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
A long time ago I read that you could prior to a trip pay your credit card an extra couple of thousand. Then when you did ATM cash withdrawal on it, there was no charge as the card was already overpaid.
Has anyone tried that ?
Yes, it worked. But there are a couple of things to be aware of.
Some cards charge a fee for cash advances even if you have a negative balance.
You may also be dinged by ATM fees.
It's a bit of a pain to do because you have to track how much you have left in your balance, particularly if you are also using it for purchases. If it's a card you only use for travel (like me) then you'll likely end up with some negative balance on it.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:20 PM   #32
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I think audreyh1's comments overall are pretty bang on.

I just want to add that there are good basic rules of thumb to follow. However, if you really want to focus on getting the best forex, it really depends on a number of factors like your your bank card, credit card, where you are travelling to, etc. And even that didn't touch on convenience, practicality, and safety.
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