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Buying Euros here or abroad?

West Palm Beach...
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Buying Euros here or abroad?

Is it better to buy Euros here or to just use my ATM and CCs there? Is there any advantages?

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Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

You get the best exchange rate with plastic: debit card to get money out of ATMs, credit card for larger purchases.

But we could provide better advice if you amend your profile to say what country you are from, rather than repeating your sscreen name.

Edited: 29 June 2012, 05:11
Paris, France
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2. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

Every time this question is asked, and it comes up regularly, people seem very willing to accept any expense, any rate of exchange just to arrive in Paris with 100€ in their pockets. The most common rationalization is for "peace of mind", that catch all phrase for those who cannot otherwise explain why they allow themselves to be swindled by their banks or airport currency trader.

If you can obtain euros in whatever country you are from (and Nick is correct, placing your origin in you avatar is very helpful when formulating answers) at anything near mid mark exchange rates, exclusive of fees and handling charges then fine, make the exchange. Otherwise, do not become a victim of those sufficiently greedy to charge you more than the 1% (or less) of what you should be paying to use an ATM machine upon arrival, which is what you should do.

And if you should be so unlucky as to arrive on a day when all of the ATM machines at CDG are inexplicably empty, and it never has happened to my knowledge (and the post office is also a bank with ATM machines), remember that virtually all taxis now accept all credit cards as do the RER/metro ticket machines at the CDG train stations, even those pesky magnetic strip cards that many of us hate carrying.

And if, for reasons unknown, you still need to exchange your currency for euros, execute your ultimate backup plan. Go to the airport exchange office who will not be cheap, but will, in all likelihood, charge you no more than your friendly local bank back home would have charged you.

Edited: 29 June 2012, 05:39
Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

I can get foreign currency through my travel agent for a rate that I regard as reasonable, although not as good as I would get from an ATM. I like to arrive with €100 or so in cash. After getting off a long-haul flight, I would prefer not to have to find an ATM immediately.

I would prefer to wait until I have had some time to recover from the flight. For this convenience, I am prepared to pay a few extra dollars.

Terrigal, Australia
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4. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

Sarastro,

In late November 2011 - Australian debit/credit cards weren't accepted @ CDG train station vending machines.

Had to purchase from ticket office, which was surprisingly easy and efficient, with a really nice guy behind the desk who pretended to understand schoolboy French.

Depending on OPs home address as to whether this info. is useful ?

Edited: 29 June 2012, 08:04
Paris, France
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5. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

Can't accurately say about all Australian credit cards Vada but I can say that in my recent experience, along with numerous posts of others, the RER/metro tickets machines at CDG work very well with magnetic strip credit cards. These and perhaps machines located at le Louvre station are the only places in Paris where metro tickets may be purchased with a magnetic strip credit cards.

Louisiana
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6. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

I just returned from 2 weeks in Austria and Italy. I brought NO currency with me whatsoever. I used a credit card to buy food and drinks in the connecting airports in Dallas and London. I used an airport ATM at my final destination to get euros prior to boarding the bus for the hotel. While it might be nice to save a few seconds upon arrival by having local cash, it certainly is not necessary. I have never had to wander around looking for an airport ATM. They always seem to be on the way to the terminal exits after customs and baggage claim.

Vernon, Canada
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7. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

First, check with your bank about the service charges when using an ATM when travelling abroad, ours charges $5 per transaction! I am glad I bought Euros at my local bank as the exchange booths at the airport and in Europe charged much more. Of course a credit card is good too, but cash is necessary in many of the smaller businesses.

Edited: 30 June 2012, 20:31
Palmetto, Florida
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8. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

>>Every time this question is asked, and it comes up regularly, people seem very willing to accept any expense, any rate of exchange just to arrive in Paris with 100€ in their pockets. <<

Huh?

But it happened to me 3 weeks ago, coming into CDG at 11 am and the 5 HSBC ATM machines on the arrival ground floor were OUT OF ORDER. (evil plan to make us suckers use Travelex service ?) Anyhow, spent 30+ minutes to find one working on the (departure) first floor. So try that if this happens to you. Or get some from AAA, airport... We are talking a few dollars/ tiny percentage of cost of your trip, just saying.

I used bank ATM to get cash, my Chase credit card for purchases which does not charge foreign exchange transaction fee. I have checked the exchanges on bill to historical currency rates and it was at bank rate, no hidden padded charges.

You don't get best exchange buying euros from the US. But the main advantage is the security of not losing a lot of cash on hand by theft or by any other means.

Edited: 30 June 2012, 21:57
Terrigal, Australia
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9. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

Hi Sarastro,

In response;

My wife works in the finance industry, consequently, (and I sometimes question practicality) we travel with a varied assortment of debit/credit cards from a couple of different (Oz) institutions..

None of the assorted cards would work in the CDG ticket vending machines.

Edited: 01 July 2012, 02:47
Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Buying Euros here or abroad?

We couldn't make our chip and pin cards work in France either. Well, they worked with a signature but not a PIN, yet they worked in other European countries.