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Old 08-04-2015, 03:12 PM   #21
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I am delighted to say, I think that was me! I think Audrey then signed up too!
After all the great info I have received here, it feels good to know I may have actually contributed some knowledge as well!
Yes I did! It was worth the trouble - figuring out I didn't have to fund the attached brokerage helped decide me. And I used it heavily in this last Europe trip. I ran into no problems with ATM machines, and the rate always matched the published VISA for the same date.
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:31 PM   #22
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Yes I did! It was worth the trouble - figuring out I didn't have to fund the attached brokerage helped decide me. And I used it heavily in this last Europe trip. I ran into no problems with ATM machines, and the rate always matched the published VISA for the same date.
Question for the Schwab ATM card holders - do you have to pay a 1% foreign currency transaction fee when withdrawing?

I'm at Fidelity and saw they have a similar product as Schwab's ATM card (no fees, reimburse all fees), but after calling Fidelity, they said you still have to pay the 1% foreign currency transaction fee. So you get the spot rates on forex conversion, but pay a 1% fee for the privilege.

That's the same deal I get with my credit union ATM card except I also pay $0.75 international transaction fee. Not a bad deal since all of the money changing places I saw on our visit to Mexico in June and July charged at least a 2-3% fee vs spot prices (ie buy at 15.90 pesos to the dollar when the spot is at $16.30).
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:23 PM   #23
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Question for the Schwab ATM card holders - do you have to pay a 1% foreign currency transaction fee when withdrawing?
No. No foreign transaction fee. Nada. Zip.

That's really the only difference between the Schwab ATM and Fidelity ATM. Fidelity passes that fee along, Schwab doesn't.
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:45 PM   #24
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No. No foreign transaction fee. Nada. Zip.

That's really the only difference between the Schwab ATM and Fidelity ATM. Fidelity passes that fee along, Schwab doesn't.
And you still get the spot forex rates? Ie they don't wrap the 1% fee into the amount withdrawn so you're actually getting 1% less than spot? If so, sweet!

It's almost worth it to get a Schwab card for this, though we only withdrew ~$1100 in cash while in Mexico for 7 weeks (=$11 in forex fees). I imagine more expensive countries tend to take credit cards at more vendors.
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Old 08-06-2015, 11:30 PM   #25
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Does anyone have a favorite card that does NOT charge currency conversion fees?
I prefer to look at the total transaction cost, which is the sum of fees, if any, and how far the exchange rate is from reality.

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Old 08-07-2015, 01:20 AM   #26
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Capital One. No foreign fees. Has chip and pin.

For ATMs: Schwab High Yield checking. No fees at all.
I'm currently travelling abroad. My favs are

ATM: Charles Schwab Bank - no fees, refunds atm charges.
Credit: Capital One Venture - which is chip and SIGNATURE (not chip and pin). It works for most transactions (restaurants, shops) but not at automated vendors like train ticket machines, where you need to enter the pin. I specifically called Cap One to see if they had chip and signature, in April... they did not at that time... so AFAIK - Cap One does not offer Chip and PIN.

PenFed Visa - it is Chip and PIN, it defaults to chip and signature if it is a manned vending situation (restaurants, shops) but will prompt for the pin at automated machines.

I agree completely with selecting the local currency for transactions when offered - I've seen some really crappy exchange rates offered - including last night at the ATM.
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Old 08-07-2015, 04:26 AM   #27
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Cap One does not offer Chip and PIN.
.
Rodi - Capital One does offer a chip and pin card...I have one. American Express does not offer this yet.
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:56 AM   #28
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We have many Canadian friends in our Florida community, who are seriously rethinking their 6 and 6 snowbird plans. Looking at the exchange rates, as recently as 2013, the Canadian dollar was worth more than a U.S. dollar.
As of now, it costs $1.31+ to buy a US dollar.

Putting it into perspective... the 6 months in Florida which might have had a plus cost $10,000 a few years back, will now cost $13,000. The longer term effect of this disparity cannot help but affect the housing and economic stability of Florida business. The age factor... (more senior citizens) poses an even more serious problem, as most are looking at a shorter timeline compared to younger people.

In our Florida community, Canadians represent about 25% of the snowbirds.
Yes, this is starting to bite. Although we bought our place in Arizona when CDN dollar at slight premium, it is now only about $.77. The house is expensive to maintain even more so now. I have heard that some CDN snowbirds are selling their U.S. places, pocketing the rate differential, and doing something else every winter. We have no such plans as in the overall scheme of things, not material.
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Old 08-07-2015, 07:48 AM   #29
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Rodi - Capital One does offer a chip and pin card...I have one. American Express does not offer this yet.
Perhaps it's new since April or perhaps their customer service folks are not properly trained. I specifically asked about chip and pin and was told they only offered chip and signature.
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:14 AM   #30
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PayPal tries to pull this stunt too - if you're invoiced by a foreign vendor.
In Paypal, there are two places where you have to select to pay in local dollars. Select just one of those and they will bill you in the currency of your home country.

(I have a Chase no FX Visa from amazon.ca and learned that one the hard way.)
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:31 AM   #31
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Yes, this is starting to bite. Although we bought our place in Arizona when CDN dollar at slight premium, it is now only about $.77. The house is expensive to maintain even more so now. I have heard that some CDN snowbirds are selling their U.S. places, pocketing the rate differential, and doing something else every winter. We have no such plans as in the overall scheme of things, not material.
Just after we retired, we spent a month in Florida for 2 successive years. We also spent a couple of months in San Diego after that. The following year, we purchased a snowbird property in Mexico. The prices were attractive and our exchange was 1.06. But we also did not like the idea of being Resident Aliens in the US and exposed to taxation without representation. Yearly filings and estate taxes were the main deterrent.

Since 2007 when we bought, the C$ has declined to 0.76 US while the Peso has improved from 10.93 to 12.31 P/C$. Lower costs have also been significant. And we use our No FX Chase Visa all the time, even in Costco.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:29 AM   #32
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Never considered trying to get a decent exchange rate except for using a credit card. Here's a thing I made yesterday (less smudges).
Back from France. The Barclay AAdvantage credit card, which has a chip and a pin, did not work in kiosks, and when used in restaurants, it ran as a signature card. The Credit Union ATM card got spot plus 1%, as expected. The Barclay Arrival got spot and no foreign transaction fee. I used this one mostly because of the great deal on travel expenses (double miles, meaning 2% statement credit for travel expenses).
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:27 PM   #33
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Back from France. The Barclay AAdvantage credit card, which has a chip and a pin, did not work in kiosks, and when used in restaurants, it ran as a signature card. The Credit Union ATM card got spot plus 1%, as expected. The Barclay Arrival got spot and no foreign transaction fee. I used this one mostly because of the great deal on travel expenses (double miles, meaning 2% statement credit for travel expenses).
Which kiosks did you try?
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:52 PM   #34
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[QUOTE=FUEGO;1620976]Just got back from Mexico. We used Chase United card and Chase British Airways card. Both have annual fees after first year, so we'll be using some other card next year.

I saw a few places that let you pay in dollars or Mexican pesos, especially in Cancun. In fact most places that spoke English quoted prices in USD, and you had to ask "no, in pesos?" to get the good local prices. Almost universally, the rates were horrible if you pay in USD. The only place I saw that had great exchange rates was a tourist knick knack mega mart in Cancun that had better than spot exchange rates for some crazy reason. I unfortunately had to pay using Mexican pesos since we were leaving the country and I needed to blow out the pesos before departure.[/QUOTEip]

The side trips are listed in dollars in Cancun. If you want to pay in pesos, they just exchange the dollar amounts back to pesos. I did not check the exchange rates exactly. However, at restaurants when the prices are listed in pesos, they charge in pesos.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:01 PM   #35
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And another gold nugget of information from this forum!

I just got bitten by this exchange racket by airbnb while getting a place to stay in Vancouver. They charged me 3% fee and I'm sure gave me a crappy exchange rate too!

On the bottom of the airbnb page, you can set you currency. I think if you set it to the local currency, that's what you'll be charged in.

And to think that I would have been wiser had I read this when it was first posted
Live and learn!
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:05 PM   #36
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Last time when I was in Paris, I booked the hotel at booking.com in dollars. The hotel surcharged 7% for dollars, and the American Express charged another 3% for foreign transaction fees.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:21 PM   #37
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Last time when I was in Paris, I booked the hotel at booking.com in dollars. The hotel surcharged 7% for dollars, and the American Express charged another 3% for foreign transaction fees.
Ouch!!!
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:27 AM   #38
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Back from France. The Barclay AAdvantage credit card, which has a chip and a pin, did not work in kiosks, and when used in restaurants, it ran as a signature card. The Credit Union ATM card got spot plus 1%, as expected. The Barclay Arrival got spot and no foreign transaction fee. I used this one mostly because of the great deal on travel expenses (double miles, meaning 2% statement credit for travel expenses).
The PenFed Chip and Pin worked for us (with Pin) in kiosks for metro tickets (we were buying 10 packs and bought tix to Versailles.) I'm not sure if we used any other kiosks in Paris.

Here in Barcelona it worked (with pin) for the barcelona metro tix, as well.

Schwab ATM and CapOne venture are both being consistent on exchange rate spot price. I am very careful to pick euro denominations when offered the choice.
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:56 AM   #39
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Which kiosks did you try?
Only at the Metro station. But tried to run it as chip and pin in a restaurant, and it flipped over to chip and signature.
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:32 AM   #40
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Only at the Metro station. But tried to run it as chip and pin in a restaurant, and it flipped over to chip and signature.
Most US issued chip and PIN cards will never work with PIN in a restaurant or any attended site. They always revert to signature.

In Paris, I've read that US cards are accepted to buy metro tickets at the airport kiosks, but nowhere else in Paris.

I had no problem using Chip and PIN at Vienna Metro kiosks. Others have succeeded with Amsterdam metro kiosks. Deutsch Bahn, on the other hand did not accept my card at the Munich train station, and it was probably that they don't accept foreign issued cards there. This is a common problem and really depends on location and company.
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