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Converting USD to EURO

Philadelphia...
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Converting USD to EURO

Good Morning,

I am planning a trip to London and Paris next summer. I have been doing some research on the best way to convert any money that I will be taking with me. Some friends who travel a lot have mentioned gettign a Currency Card where I preload the card with money and then it will convert the money for me and then I can use it to make purchases and also to withdraw cash from ATM's. I visited a couple of sites who offer the card and I am still unsure. Has anyone ever used one of these cards? Any help would be greatly appricated.

Soraya

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Harrow, United...
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for York
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1. Re: Converting USD to EURO

Soraya,

You are aware that Euro's aren't widely accepted in the UK as we use pounds sterling (£)??

London, United...
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2. Re: Converting USD to EURO

Most people use their usual ATM and credit cards.

Bucks, UK
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3. Re: Converting USD to EURO

Check the rate you are being offered against what your bank will offer on a standard debit card that can be used in Europe. I would also check what happens to currency loaded on the card when you get home - can you use it in the US to get your USD back, or would you have to take out all remaining cash in euros/gbp at an ATM and then convert back to USD (which would see you lose a fair chunk in exchange rates)

Bingley, United...
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4. Re: Converting USD to EURO

1) UK doesn't use Euro - it's the Pound Sterling

2) Converting USD to GBP to EUR is a VERY BAD IDEA as you end up paying two sets of conversion fees

3) You cannot avoid 2) if you obtain Euro in the UK

4) Most people these days use ATMs to obtain local currency.

Edited: 20 November 2013, 14:22
Philadelphia...
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5. Re: Converting USD to EURO

Ok, so does this mean that I should just use my banks debit card and use the ATM to take out currency in both places?

California
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6. Re: Converting USD to EURO

"Ok, so does this mean that I should just use my banks debit card and use the ATM to take out currency in both places?"

Yes, I think this is probably best. If you have time, check with some of the different banks that offer no foreign transaction fees and no charges for using ATMs if possible. Most big banks (i.e. Bank of America) has international partners whose ATMs you can use without the additional charge. Some banks allow you to use ANY ATM without fees (Charles Schwab refunds ANY ATM fee for their checking account and does not charge any foreign transaction fees as well). There's quite a bit of information available out there if you just do a google search of best travel ATM / bank accounts, etc. (I just did this myself last week.)

Bucks, UK
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7. Re: Converting USD to EURO

Check with your bank that your card will work in Europe, with a 4-digit PIN.

USA
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8. Re: Converting USD to EURO

Yes, Soraya, that is what it means. Currency cards available in the US come with high fees and are a poor choice.

I suggest you read this link: ricksteves.com/plan/tips/cash-machine-atm-ti…

Similar information here plus a fee comparison chart: flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php/Credit/Debit/A…

naperville, illinois
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9. Re: Converting USD to EURO

We have used both preloaded cards and our ATM/debit card as well as our VISA for larger purchases.

The preloaded card we have used (and will be using next week) is the Travelex Cash Passport. I am totally aware that a lot of people on the travel forums do not like preloaded cards. I do - only because it is NOT linked to my personal bank account - and if you have ever had your bank account compromised, you understand! We are fortunate to get a very good rate from our local Travelex office, so we do not have to worry about fees, etc.

We have used our ATM/debit card (in China and Israel). I would sugguest you call your bank to find out what fees they will assess for any ATM usage + conversion fees. Compare those costs with everything.

For credit card usage, there are cards out there (we have a Chase issued VISA) that does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Only you can decide what is best for you and what you are comfortable with.

California
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10. Re: Converting USD to EURO

Also, an alternative to using a prepaid card is to check with your bank regarding "Travel only" type accounts. I believe Wells Fargo has this option in which case that is the only account your card can access during your travel dates. This of course, has pros and cons associated with it.