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Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

Philadelphia...
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Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

I'm traveling to Vienna and Prague in September. Trying to figure out the best combination of cash/debit card/credit card use while there to avoid major fees. I have a bank of america debit card, chase debit card, PNC debit card, First Trust debit card, and credit cards from bank of america and chase. Should I order local currency before leaving the US? Exchange a ton of cash in the airport in Vienna? Hit up the ATM a few times when I arrive in each place , taxing out the max amount each time? Use credit cards for everything?

Thanks!

Dublin, Ireland
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for Austria
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75 reviews
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1. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

this sort of question comes up every second day! the answer always is....bring your debit card and use atms!

credit charges have extra charges, changing cash has extra charges etc, usng a debit card uses bank rate on the day of use, with normally no charges, unless your own bank has a charge...so check with them.

Milford, Ohio
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2. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

Exchange a ton of cash in the airport in Vienna - NEVER DO THIS! You will get the worst exchange rate possible at any airport.

Take you debit card and withdrawal cash as needed. I normally withdrawal what I might spend in 2 days becascue I don't like to carry a lot of cahs. Use your credit cards for bigger purchases.

Vienna, Austria
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for Vienna, Austria, Innsbruck
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3. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

I would also pay larger amounts (if possible) by credit card (hotel, shopping, inter-city transportation) and withdraw cash for minor payments at restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, museums etc.

Florida
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4. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

Check with your credit card issuers to find out what, if any, "foreign exchange fee" they charge.

My American Express card charge 0%, so I use it all the time. Also, when you use a credit card you get the "bankers' buying rate" for exchange purposes. That is a couple percent over what you get when exchanging cash from one currency to another.

Further, my MasterCard charges 1% and my Visa card charges 2.7%.

A few years ago, credit cards were not widely accepted in Europe, in general. Larger hotels were always accepting them. However, more and more even Europeans (Austrians) are using them. My friend in Vienna always uses his credit card in restaurants, etc.

Burnley, United...
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for Vienna
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5. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

Castleblanca do you find your American Express card is widely accepted in Austria? Here in the UK Mastercard and Visa are accepted almost everywhere, but Amex is not welcome at many shops and restaurants.

Edited: 12 August 2014, 01:09
Florida
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6. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

Yeah, Norman, I use it quite often ----- not just in Austria.

Many shops have not accepted it, up until present, because they always charged a higher fee to the merchant. However, AMEX has learned that if they negotiate lower commissions with merchants, they make up for the difference in higher volume.

Also, over the past few years, more and more merchants, restaurants, etc. accept credit cards, in general, because of the wider use (and request of use!) by customers, both Americans and Europeans (and Asians --- I add Asians, because they are travelling in ever greater numbers, and Chinese, in particular, are limited in the amount of foreign currency they can buy before departure. However, they get around this hurdle by using credit cards, which are only limited by the agreement between the cardholder and the issuing bank. There was a news report about ten days ago on the USA news about a wealthy Chinese man, who wanted to buy something in an antique shop for a couple hundred thousand dollars. He could not get his bank to wire him the funds from China, so he used his AMEX card. The end result was that he ended up with hundreds of thousands of AMEX points, which he will now use to redeem for plane tickets, gifts, etc.).

On my most recent trip, I used my AMEX card (0% foreign exchange fee) in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, The Czech Republic, and Estonia. The "times are a-changing", as the expression goes,and it is out of necessity.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

Search for a card that offers no exchange fees. In Australia there is the 28 degrees credit card from GE Money and Citibank offer a transfer free debit card that also charges no fee if you use a citibank atm which are pretty well located in many countries. Would be best to check if America has the same or equivalent.

8. Re: Best plan for exchanging currency/using credit or debit card

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