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Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

Illinois
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17,708 posts
16 reviews
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Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

I've seen a lot of posts recommending exchanging money at a Kantor. However, they've all (or almost all) been for travelers from the UK. Is it preferable to bring cash and exchange it for some reason? On all my previous trips to Europe, I've just brought enough local currency to get started and then used my ATM card to withdraw money. This has always been £ or €, though.

Is there some reason I don't want to do this in Poland? It seems substantially easier.

Thanks.

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Europe
Europe
World
Poland
Poland
Europe
Warsaw, Poland
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1. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

No, there is no reason why you should not use ATMs in Poland, except that kantors usually give better exchange rates than banks. If you know how much USD your card issuer will be charging you (with all the extra fees) for withdrawing 100 PLN, then it's an easy calculation to see whether to go for the convenience of the card or inconvenience of carring cash.

At the moment 100 USD buys 302 PLN at kantors (there are no extra charges, no commission - 302 PLN is exactly what you would get)

http://www.kantor-exchange.pl/

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Poland
Poland
Europe
Krakow, Poland
Destination Expert
for Krakow
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2. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

You're right - it is substantially easier to use an ATM. The Brits are just used to being ripped off by their banks, which is why it's usually an issue for them.

Illinois
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3. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

Thanks. My ATM card is from a local credit union and doesn't charge any fees. I doubt they'd be able to tell me what my exchange rate would be, but for £ and € I've always gotten approximately the rate on www.xe.com (allowing for the fact that I've never looked at xe at the actual time of my withdrawal but gone back and used historical rates from it after I get home). Currently, xe is showing 302.935 PLN, so I guess I'd be fine either way.

I do have a 2nd ATM card from USAA that I've only previously used when my usual one didn't work (which has only happened in London - apparently it's on some bank fraud list or something), so I'll have to double check the rates on that one. No specific ATM fees, but their CC does charge a 1% currency conversion fee.

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London
London
England, UK
Zabrze, Poland
Destination Expert
for Silesia Province
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4. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

DCC - Dynamic Currency Conversion is implemented in some ATM as an option to be chosen (eg. PKO, BZ WBK/Santander). You withdraw PLN but your account is charged in USD at rate displayed with no other fees for currency conversion.

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Santander
Santander
Cantabria, Spain
Illinois
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5. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

Is the DCC at a bad rate? Normally I decline it in stores. I've never had it come up on an ATM, I don't think.

Malvern...
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6. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

We will be traveling through several Eastern European countries who all have their own currencies. Is there one that they all accept at a reasonable exchange rate (the dollar or the Euro perhaps) and I won't have to exchange in each location?

Warsaw, Poland
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7. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

The only places that will readily accept euros and dollars at a reasonable rate are... the currency exchange offices. There isn't much you can do in Poland without having any zlotys.

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Poland
Poland
Europe
Malvern...
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8. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

Thanks so much. I guess we will exchange some dollars when we get to Warsaw.

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Warsaw
Warsaw
Mazovia Province, Poland
9. Re: Should I really exchange cash or just use an ATM?

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