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10% or 3% surcharge?

Berlin, Germany
10 posts
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10% or 3% surcharge?

Hi there,

I'm from Germany and will be going to Cuba for 3 weeks soon but despite many hours of research I'm still confused concerning the money. Here, on the tripadvisor website, I read that "the 10% surcharge for using US currency does NOT apply on a credit or debit card transaction, it only applies when exchanging US dollars cash." Instead there will be a 3% surcharge. Is this information up to date?

If it was I'd withdraw some money by credit card every 7 days or so rather than carrying all the money in my backpack all the time. Or is the risk of not finding a functioning cash machine too high anyway?

Thank you in advance for your answers!

Anna

Niagara Falls
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716 posts
16 reviews
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1. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

I believe you will find many operational cash machines the big thing to check is your card.

You have to make absolutely sure there is zero American affiliation with the Card Issuer.

This may not be too difficult with a credit card underwritten by a German Bank but in Canada I believe there is a couple Bank issued cards that do not work because of U.S. affiliation. It does not hurt to research this.

Calgary, Canada
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19,555 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

Everything you need to know about Money Exchange:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147270-c109329/Cuba:…

If you're still confused after reading through that then come on back...

Have a great trip.

Cheers,

Terry

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
4,654 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

I think Terry's page explains it well, but in case you need a bit of extra clarification, there is an approximately 3% currency conversion fee that applies to all currency conversions. Thus, when you charge something on your credit card, the price in CUC is converted to US$ at a rate of $1.03 US per CUC.

When you get the bill, the amount will be converted to your home currency at the rate that your credit card company charges.

When exchanging US$ cash, the same currency conversion fee applies, but there is an additional 10% surcharge, meaning that ebery US$ will buy approximately 0.87 CUC. Making the total cost of exchanging US$ about 13%.

The 3% currency exchange fee is not unique to Cuba. Banks everywhere in the world charge somewhere between 2.5% and 3.5% for exchanging currencies. This is reflected in the difference between the bank's buy and sell rates.

Panama City, Panama
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12,954 posts
24 reviews
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4. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

Whilst there may not always be a functioning cash machine in smaller towns, you can generally draw cash over the counter at banks or cadecas.

Berlin, Germany
10 posts
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5. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

thank you all for your quick responses! it's good to know that the 10% surcharge doesn't concern me and my brother. probably we're going to take enough cash with us for the first 10 days and then get some more money from the bank. thank you again! :)

Calgary, Canada
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4,654 posts
4 reviews
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6. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

Quite right, Anna, the 10% surcharge shouldn't concern you, as I assume you will be taking Euros to exchange for Convertible Pesos. At the moment, the exchange rate is such that you should get 127.77 CUC for €100.00 at the bank, or slightly less at a cadeca or hotel front desk exchange.

You can follow the exchange rates daily at this topic:

tripadvisor.ca/…52551642

Edited: 02 September 2013, 22:58
Berlin, Germany
10 posts
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7. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

Thank you for the link, Jack!

Apopka, Florida
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2,237 posts
27 reviews
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8. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

Anna: an even easier way is to know that the CUC is pegged at 1:1 to the US Dollar. So as the Euro floats vis-a-vis the US Dollar, as widely reported in the news, it floats exactly the same with the CUC. The 3% exchange charge applying in every case.

9. Re: 10% or 3% surcharge?

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