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Best way to get Euros

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luxembourg city
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Best way to get Euros

Hi,

As an American visiting Paris is it cheapest to get Euros using my US ATM card? Or is there another, more cost-efficient way?

Thanks in advance!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Best way to get Euros

Take a debit card and get cash out of ATMs: cheapest and easiest way.

However, it would be a good idea to get say E100 in small bills before you leave USA, so you don't have to look for an ATM right after getting off a long-haul flight.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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2. Re: Best way to get Euros

Find out what your maximum daily limit is. The fees are per transaction.

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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3. Re: Best way to get Euros

Generally an ATM is the least costly way to obtain euros. What might alter this advantage is what your local bank may charge you for out-of-network withdrawals. At a minimum, you'll pay 1% of the transaction as a fee to Cirrus/Pulse. Local banks can add an array of additional charges.

An ATM may not meet everyone's needs, particularly those who need larger sums for prepayment of apartments or gites. In this case there are several places which will exchange euros at approximately 3% which is equal to or less than what many people will pay when they use their credit cards:

http://www.bureaudechange.fr/

http://www.ccopera.com/

http://www.fcochange.com/

West Virginia
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4. Re: Best way to get Euros

If you have a Bank of America Checking/Savings Account and ATM access, you can utilize any BNP Paribas ATM in France and withdraw Euros without any transaction fees. Depending upon your plans, you may find it conveneient/cost-effective to open an account with BoA before you take your trip--assuming you do not have an account already. Good Luck.

California
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5. Re: Best way to get Euros

My friend just returned from Europe, and hearing I was headed to Paris in a couple of weeks, had this advice:

* Get Euros from your local bank in the USA. Don't wait until you arrive at the airport, because the exchange rate/fees at the airport aren't advantageous. Some banks need a week's time to order the currency, so give yourself time.

* Notify your bank before you leave that you will be using the card in Europe, or else when you start using the ATMs there, their system might raise a red flag. DOUBLE CHECK - because my friend called, but she still had problems (see below).

* Know your daily limit, whether your bank will charge fees (some international banks, like BofA, have some type of reciprocity with the European equivalents, so ask your bank if there is a particular type of ATM you can use without getting charged).

* Get the number for your bank that you'll need to call if your card is stolen or if there are problems (see below). Some banks offer a collect-call option, and with international rates being what they are, it doesn't hurt to ask.

* Make sure you do the conversion properly! Right now, 1 Euro = ~$1.41 US. So if you have a $300 US daily limit, you can only withdraw 210 Euro -- not 420 Euro! If you do this math in your head wrong, and attempt to withdraw more than your daily limit, your bank will raise a red flag (thinking someone has stolen your card), and you'll have to call your bank from abroad to get them to restore your account! (Not to mention, you won't get any Euros from the ATM!)

I'm planning on getting most of my pocket money here in the States, and using a single credit card there -- leaving the other card(s) at home, just in case I get pickpocketed.

Good luck!

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Best way to get Euros

TitoBob... I wouldn't get ALL my pocket money before leaving and then take only 1 credit card!

Take a hundred euros or so... enough to not to have to search out an ATM upon arrival.

Take at least 1 ATM card, 2 would be better and 2 credit cards. Split them up... keep in different places.

If you take but 1 credit card you are really up the creek if you lose it or it doesn't work!

Rob

luxembourg city
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7. Re: Best way to get Euros

thank you everyone! such fantastic information! very much appreciated!

A

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Best way to get Euros

"Make sure you do the conversion properly! Right now, 1 Euro = ~$1.41 US. So if you have a $300 US daily limit, you can only withdraw 210 Euro -- not 420 Euro! If you do this math in your head wrong, and attempt to withdraw more than your daily limit, your bank will raise a red flag (thinking someone has stolen your card), and you'll have to call your bank from abroad to get them to restore your account! (Not to mention, you won't get any Euros from the ATM!"

This is not true. If you ask for more than your daily limit, the machine will say something like "there is a problem with your card, contact your bank", and while this sounds scary, just take your card back and wait for the machine to reset then ask for 20 euros less. As the dollar becomes weaker, we often get this message, and it just means that you need to ask for a bit less that day. No need to panic or to call your bank.

Washington, DC
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9. Re: Best way to get Euros

>>* Get Euros from your local bank in the USA. Don't wait until you arrive at the airport, because the exchange rate/fees at the airport aren't advantageous.

An airport bureau de change may charge you a higher rate than a bureau de change located elsewhere, but an airport ATM will certainly not charge you a higher rate or additional fees, so there's absolutely no reason to avoid using an airport ATM (except perhaps for the queues.)

And I whole-heartedly agree with the other poster's advice to take two credit cards, and keep them in separate places - one with you, one in the safe at the hotel, for instance. It's a much more prudent approach than bringing along only one card.

California
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10. Re: Best way to get Euros

If I had to pay ATM fees every time, I think I'd prefer to bring the Euros with me -- but I've never been to Paris, so I don't know how much I'd spend and need.

As I mentioned, that happened to my friend during her trip (her honeymoon) -- she told me she tried multiple times to get it to work (thinking she just hit the wrong button), and at some point, she had to call her bank to get it cleared up. But if slowpokesf says you just need to wait and try again, and that it's a common occurrence -- I can't really refute that. Maybe my friend was just impatient!

As for bringing 2 credit cards, I'll probably do that. Thanks for correcting the information I heard and making a great suggestion!