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Good info for all of us travel junkies
Old 08-03-2015, 04:17 PM   #1
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Good info for all of us travel junkies

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/every-...170000091.html

The author states many merchants ask if you want to pay in euros vs dollars. Pick euros or you might end up with a lousy conversion rate and added fees!
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Old 08-03-2015, 04:21 PM   #2
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Yes indeed. Fortunately I learned this lesson while traveling on business during my non-ER days.
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Old 08-03-2015, 04:52 PM   #3
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Yes, I'm always very careful about that!

I've gone to a great deal of trouble to be armed with several cards with no foreign transaction fees, so I make sure I'm billed in Euros!

PayPal tries to pull this stunt too - if you're invoiced by a foreign vendor.
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Old 08-03-2015, 05:10 PM   #4
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I always pay in the local currency.

What would be the benefit of paying in a different currency? I can only think of convenience, for which there is a cost.
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Old 08-03-2015, 05:12 PM   #5
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I still remember when we visited China. The exchange rate was fixed by the Chinese Central Bank, published daily, all transactions. Citibank was our primary bank and credit card. After we returned the cc bill arrived with much different exchange rates, around 5% higher. I called, complained, then argued with the rep, then a supervisor, then a manager. Three calls over two days. They were unable to explain why they used an exchange rate different than one published, but the manager finally said that was the rate, period, my tough luck, I had no choice, and Citibank would no longer discuss the issue with me. I followed with "I'm closing my account", his exact response was "I don't give a sh!t" and hung up. True enough, they refused to take any more calls from me on the problem.

I had just FIRE'd and most of our assets were at Smith Barney - part of AmEx. I closed that account too, and when the branch manager came on the phone asking me to reconsider I said I would - once the Citibank manager called me to apologize.
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Old 08-03-2015, 05:30 PM   #6
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Does anyone have a favorite card that does NOT charge currency conversion fees?
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Old 08-03-2015, 05:54 PM   #7
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After we returned the cc bill arrived with much different exchange rates, around 5% higher. I called, complained, then argued with the rep, then a supervisor, then a manager. Three calls over two days. They were unable to explain why they used an exchange rate different than one published, but the manager finally said that was the rate, period, my tough luck, I had no choice, and Citibank would no longer discuss the issue with me. I followed with "I'm closing my account", his exact response was "I don't give a sh!t" and hung up.
Hmmm... Note to self: Do not open any accounts at Citibank!
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:07 PM   #8
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Does anyone have a favorite card that does NOT charge currency conversion fees?
We use this one:

https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit...credit-card.go

Works as advertised - there are no foreign transaction fees when we use it. No annual fee either. Don't know what the interest rate is, we never carry a balance (OK, I looked it up, 15%-23%, boy I'm glad we never carry a balance!).

It is NOT a chip and pin card, but rather the chip and signature type.
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:21 PM   #9
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This happens to us often in Florida and at, oddly enough, Avis locations in the US. We are Canadian. Some stores ask us if we want to be billed in Canadian dollars. They charge a 3 percent fee on top of a high exchange rate.


Our credit card does not charge any admin fee for foreign transactions so we always insist on being billed in the local currency.

The one exception is airlines. US airlines usually offer exceptionally good exchange rates-especially American Airlines.
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:29 PM   #10
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Does anyone have a favorite card that does NOT charge currency conversion fees?
Capital One. No foreign fees. Has chip and pin.

For ATMs: Schwab High Yield checking. No fees at all.
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:30 PM   #11
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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).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg CardsSmudge.jgp.JPG (52.2 KB, 32 views)
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:54 PM   #12
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Does anyone have a favorite card that does NOT charge currency conversion fees?

Chase Sapphire credit card and Charles Schwab debit card.
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Old 08-03-2015, 08:10 PM   #13
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I just got back from Bangkok. I haven't done much foreign travel these past 10 years. I had to get all my cash from ATM's. What I should have done is brought $1500 in cash and used one of the foreign currency converter places downtown. Oh well . . . the Baht is so cheap it didn't add up to much anyway.
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Old 08-03-2015, 08:16 PM   #14
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I just got back from Bangkok. I haven't done much foreign travel these past 10 years. I had to get all my cash from ATM's. What I should have done is brought $1500 in cash and used one of the foreign currency converter places downtown. Oh well . . . the Baht is so cheap it didn't add up to much anyway.

When we were in Thailand we used our Schwab debit card. Good rate and all the fees were reimbursed.
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Old 08-03-2015, 08:29 PM   #15
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Does anyone have a favorite card that does NOT charge currency conversion fees?
Bank of America Travel Rewards VISA (fav because 1.5% rewards)
PenFed Cash Rewards VISA
United Mileage Plus VISA

Schwab ATM (Debit) VISA
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Old 08-03-2015, 10:54 PM   #16
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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.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:42 AM   #17
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Thanks to a tip from the forum here, I've used the Schwab Investor Checking debit card for the past year, and I love it. I only use it to get local cash from ATMs, and the rate is always excellent. The big bonus is that all ATM charges are reimbursed and there is no foreign transaction fee.
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:14 AM   #18
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Thanks to a tip from the forum here, I've used the Schwab Investor Checking debit card for the past year, and I love it. I only use it to get local cash from ATMs, and the rate is always excellent. The big bonus is that all ATM charges are reimbursed and there is no foreign transaction fee.
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!
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:44 AM   #19
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This happens to us often in Florida and at, oddly enough, Avis locations in the US. We are Canadian. Some stores ask us if we want to be billed in Canadian dollars. They charge a 3 percent fee on top of a high exchange rate.
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.
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:51 AM   #20
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Hmmm... Note to self: Do not open any accounts at Citibank ShittyBank!
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