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Travel money options

Liverpool, United...
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Travel money options

With the demise of the travellers cheque,what do forum members think is the easiest,safest and cheapest way of taking spending money to Parga this year?

New York City, New...
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for Skopelos
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1. Re: Travel money options

Hey and welcome cabmufcok:-) I always use ATMs utilizing my debit card so funds come direct from savings and/or checking account! Find it the easiest way to access local currency as needed.. whether in Greece, Europe.. here at home in the States, wherever there are ATMs;-) Happy planning.. and enJOY!

Edited: 22 February 2013, 19:33
Selby, United...
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2. Re: Travel money options

Hi cabmufcok

We always use our debit cards as well. We usually keep a few Euros in reserve just in case and it is probably a good idea to have a spare card on another account just in case. Never had any problems though.

If you look at Martin Lewis's Monysavingexpert website it will give you loads of info about which cards are the cheapest to use. We have the Gold Light account from Norwich and Peterborough.

Also if the ATMs ask you whether you want them to debit your account in sterling (dynamic banking or something it's called I think) always decline and stick to the Euro. Works out at a better rate for you.

Have a great holiday,

Jean

Parga, Greece
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for Parga
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3. Re: Travel money options

We use a Caxton FX card. It's a prepaid credit/debit card. We can load it when the exchange rate suits us, and no fees what soever when using it. There are lots of pre pay cards available, but for flexibility of use (we can load it instantly from our UK bank account by phone, text, or internet) it suits us. If using your debit card, check the fees your bank charges very carefully. With Caxton we can withdraw from any European bank for free!

Manchester, United...
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for Lesbos
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4. Re: Travel money options

We have used our debit card in Greece many times. And the thing to remember (I hope I get this the right way around), with some ATMs you are asked if you want the transaction in GBP or €. Choose €! If you opt for pounds you are charged a bigger fee and the exchange rate is what they offer you then and is their rate and not the official rate. Opt for € and you get the current official exchange rate plus admin fees.

And travellers cheques are still available but I've not used them in a long time. Easier to take some Euros as cash and take more out later. A few times we've got better exchange rates when using an ATM (even taking into account fees). But once I think I must have selected GBP and got a poor rate overall.

Edited: 22 February 2013, 20:23
Parga, Greece
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5. Re: Travel money options

Dynamic Currency Conversion

<<Also if the ATMs ask you whether you want them to debit your account in sterling (dynamic banking or something it's called I think) always decline and stick to the Euro. Works out at a better rate for you.>>

<<We have used our debit card in Greece many times. And the thing to remember (I hope I get this the right way around), with some ATMs you are asked if you want the transaction in GBP or €. Choose €! If you opt for pounds you are charged a bigger fee and the exchange rate is what they offer you then and is their rate and not the official rate. Opt for € and you get the current official exchange rate plus admin fees.>>

Dynamic Currency Conversion became more prevalent in Greece last year when the Bank of Piraeus amongst others decided to use it and there were some very interesting posts on the Greece forums regarding this method of exchange at ATM'S. It is also becoming more popular in retail and restaurant situations where customers will be asked if they would like to pay in their local currency (sterling for the Brits).

What is DCC and how does it affect us. Basically it is an arrangement whereby the banks (through their ATM's or over the counter) or retailers/suppliers will offer to complete the transaction in our local currency (£'s for Brits). This is where it becomes interesting as the rate offered to us will be "dynamically discounted" during the conversion; usually 2% or 3% (sometimes more) and the difference is taken by the bank or retailer/supplier as their fee.

When people are offered this service they should be told what the conversion rate is but more often than not the unsuspecting punter pays up oblivious to what's happening. Banks are supposed to make you aware of the rate being offered and this does happen but once again many complete the transaction thinking that the rate offered by the bank is the current exchange rate - after all, banks are open and honest, aren't they.

Last year the Bank of Piraeus were charging at least 3% and when you take into account the additional charges made by your own bank you can be looking at up to 7.49% in total (if the DCC'er charges more, then up the rate goes).

WHAT SHOULD WE DO? As already stated, refuse to accept the DCC rate either from the bank or from the retailer - you will never be offered a more attractive rate by them, always worse than interbank.

SO, back to the OP <<With the demise of the travellers cheque,what do forum members think is the easiest,safest and cheapest way of taking spending money to Parga this year?>>

There have been two very good suggestions already.

<<We use a Caxton FX card. It's a prepaid credit/debit card. We can load it when the exchange rate suits us, and no fees what soever when using it. There are lots of pre pay cards available, but for flexibility of use (we can load it instantly from our UK bank account by phone, text, or internet) it suits us.>>

<< We have the Gold Light account from Norwich and Peterborough.>>

When Nationwide offered free card use abroad we had a "holiday" account with them but sadly they withdrew this facility but "as one door closed" the N&P (bless 'em) started to offer this service. It has a few conditions (like having five transactions per month) but it does offer interbank rate without penalties. My advice to cabmufcok would be to use a pre paid card and knowing steveandsoo I think they would have chosen the best. As I am based in the UK but travel a lot I am very happy to comply with the N&P conditions and get the benefit of their free card use. However, for most people opening an N&P will be too much hassle but with the commissions, charges and spend penalties imposed by virtually all UK banks I'd rather keep as much of my hard earned cash as possible and not give it to the industry that formerly employed me.

Edited: 23 February 2013, 00:11
Sale, United Kingdom
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6. Re: Travel money options

Connysir

A fascinating and comprehensive summary of the murky world of travel exchange there.

IMO it should be a sticky...

Barnsley, United...
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7. Re: Travel money options

Hi cabmufc

I take Euro's from the post office , Stirling and my debit card for emergencies.

And get a safety deposite box .

I always get one anyway but I recently spent Christmas and New year away and was advised on TA that my insurance would be void if anything went missing if one was available in the accomodation .

Manchester, United...
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for Lesbos
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8. Re: Travel money options

I find the Euro exchange rate at the post office to be a lot worse than Tesco. And the inshore rate at Tesco is not as good as going to the Tesco Bank website and ordering the cash for delivery or collection. Delivery is only free if you get over £500 I think. I therefore order to collect in the money bureau in my local Tesco.

Aylesbury
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for Playa Blanca
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9. Re: Travel money options

The Post Office rate varies from Post office to Post Office, when there is competition in your town, they will give a competitive rate, if you go to a village Post Office with no competition the rate will be poor

I usually find it's poor fullstop lol

Suffolk, United...
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for Cephalonia
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10. Re: Travel money options

Living in a town with no specialist exchange facilities (I don't count Thomas Cook etc.), I look around and have found that the best exchange rate is actually at Cash Converters.

For Non UK posters "Cash Converters is a chain that buys items from people who are in some financial diificulties. .

We then take most of our holiday money in Euros. We take some extra in Sterling and have never had any problem exchanging it in tourist type shops, often at a better rate than we could get in the UK.

We take debit cards for emergency and try not to use them or credit cards.

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