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Non-Travelex ATMs @ CDG Terminal 1?

We arrive @ CDG in less than a week at Terminal 1 . Had planned on obtaining Euros there. But I've read (not here, BTW) that many of the ATMs there are now owned by Travelex.

Is the La Poste at the CDGVAL level of Term 1 at least one alternative to an ATM operated by Travelex?

Merci!
JM

PS> Apologies if I'm mistaken. HSBC's website appears to only shows a presence at Terminal 2.

Posted by
74 posts

Is there a reason you don't want to use an ATM by Travelex?

Posted by
40 posts

Nancy:

In Rick's own words ...

Most bank ATMs in Europe don’t charge a usage fee, but stay away from “independent” ATMs, which have high "FEES" and may try to trick users with “dynamic currency conversion.” These ATMs (labeled with names such as Travelex, Euronet, Moneybox, Cardpoint, and Cashzone) are often found next to bank ATMs in the hope that travelers will be too confused to notice the difference.

"fees" is probably a misnomer. The independents give you less-favorable exchange rate.

Posted by
1848 posts

Travelex charges exorbitant fees vs HSBC. I would use Travelex only if I were desperate.

Posted by
1540 posts

Look on the back of your ATM card and you will see the banking systems that your card works with.
They ALL charge fees of some kind (some large and some small), in addition there is the currency
conversion fee.
I consider this all part of the cost of the trip.

my card has Cirrus, Co-op and Star listed for me.

Posted by
9363 posts

Frances, all cards do NOT charge fees. My credit union card does not, for one. Sure there is probably a charge involved, but my credit union absorbs that fee and charges me nothing at all - no fee, no currency conversion.

Not long ago, someone on this forum tried out a Travelex ATM at Heathrow to see just how bad the fees were. There was basically no difference, nor was there an attempt made at dynamic currency conversion. If Travelex is all there is, just be sure that your withdrawal is charged to you in local currency, not dollars, and you should be fine.

Posted by
3493 posts

Yes, even the CDG website says there are HSBC ATMs only in 2.

Travelex apparently has a contract to provide the ATM services in every European airport now. The conversion is in progress. There have been various reports on how that is going. But, as long as you ask for the local currency and NOT request to be billed in your home currency, many have reported getting as good of a rate as at a bank ATM. I have not personally tested this but will next time I am in Europe in just a few weeks.

It used to be that the Travelex ATMs were simply extensions of their manned exchange booth and offered ridiculously bad rates when compared to other ATMs. They would present a screen providing the "offer for today" for whatever currency you were attempting to get. The rate every time I saw it was at least 15% worse than bank ATMs. Maybe this has changed.

Posted by
3493 posts

Frances,

Yes, the banking systems you noted and all others do charge fees. But those are charged to the bank that issued your ATM card. It is the bank's choice to pass those charges on to you or not. More and more banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in the US are not passing those fees to their customers.

The foreign exchange fee is 1%. This is what all the networks charge banks. If your bank is charging you more than that (many charge 3% up to 5%), they are pocketing the profit. Any other ATM or Debit card use fees are pure profit for the bank where your account is. A friend of mine had an ATM card that had a $50 a year fee plus 50 cents for every use of the card - why when at least a dozen other banks in the neighborhood offered cards with none of those fees! I have no issue with any company wanting to make a profit, but I also am all for their customers taking their business elsewhere to avoid the fees.

If you travel a lot and your bank charges a lot of fees, that may be just part of the cost of travel. But wouldn't it be great to not pay those fees?

Posted by
4734 posts

There is no contract for all European airports to have Travelex ATMs.How could there be as they are owned by various different bodies. Travelex have an attractive commercial proposition for airports which is why they get taken up by some.

Rick's advice as quoted above in my opinion is at best simplistic, misleading or out of date and at worst maybe plain wrong. In some countries over half the ATMs are provided by 'independents' and in some the bank-owned ATMs are just as likely to attempt to foist dynamic currency costs onto the unwary as these 'independents'.

Getting different currencies from the home one from ATMs can be a different matter.

Posted by
2490 posts

There is NO automatic foreign exchange fee of 1%. If there is a foreign exchange fee, it is a condition imposed by your bank and stated in advance, such as on your credit card agreement where this it is stated under fees. Neither my Schwab nor my CapOne accounts charge any such fee. There WILL be an increase over the interbank exchange rate due to the cost of the system. These increases on our 3 week trip in April ranged from .1 (or less) to .6 of 1 % over the exchange rate. We indeed used a Travelex ATM in Heathrow after landing, and we were charged 2 cents over the published exchange rate (on a 20GBP withdrawal), no fee by the machine. I believe Travelex ATMs can be trusted, as long as DCC is avoided, that Heathrow machine never even went there.

Posted by
131 posts

The ATM networks all do charge a currency conversion fee of 1%. This is charged to the financial institution who may or may not pass it along to the customer - and some will mark it up to 3%-5% as already mentioned.

There was a recent post on the Tripadvisor Paris forum from someone who used a Travelex ATM at CDG and received a horrible exchange rate. It was in the neighborhood of $1.25/euro vs. the actual $1.13 rate - that he was charged at a bank ATM on the same day.

I would say that it's still good advice to avoid using Travelex, unless it's an absolute emergency.

Posted by
4734 posts

There may be some ATM access fees to take into account. Having tracked down the tripadvisor post there is no mention of this possibility, although there is a claim that DCC was not an issue.

There are other reports on fodors of someone who used a CDG Travelex machine and avoided DCC and was charged as expected.

Unfortunately neither provides picture evidence of what went on.

Posted by
40 posts

TY Bets.

The T1 map at aeroportsdeparis.fr says that the La Poste has one, but the map could very well be outdated.

Posted by
3493 posts

Larry,

Sorry I was not clear. The 1% is charged to the BANK or FINANCIAL INSTITUTION that you have your debit card from by the network that handles the transaction (Visa or MasterCard). It is not included in the amount of the transaction charged to you at the time you get money out of an ATM. It may or may not be passed on to you later. Schwab and Capital One both heavily promote the fact that they don't pass the fee on to you as well as that they do not charge anything at all additional for foreign transactions.

My experience with Capital One cards is that I have always been charged exactly what the rate is I see when I Google it. That is, if Google shows 1.00 EUR = 1.13 USD, that is what Capital One charges me exactly.

Posted by
74 posts

Perhaps I am not seeing the big issue. ATMs everywhere have fees attached to them. Sure, you can drive to your own bank and not get charged a fee, but you will burn gas to get there (fee). So, whether you use the one at the grocery, the bank on the corner, the sleazy one in the strip club, all ATMs have a fee attached. All currency conversions have a fee attached. It doesn't matter whether it's at your home bank or the ATM or the place in the airport. Each is going to charge you a fee to change your money and each is going to give you a different exchange rate.
So, if you're getting 100 Euros out of the machine at the airport so you can catch the train into town, how big a deal is it to get charged an additional $2 (2%) on your fee/exchange rate vs. hiking all over CDG after an 8-10 hour flight to get there? Me? I'm going to hit the first one I see and get out of the airport.

Posted by
3329 posts

If the issue is having enough cash to pay for transportation to your hotel, it seems to me that there are two choices. One is to buy some euros from your bank here in the U.S. You will pay more than if you get them from bank atm's in France. If your local branch doesn't have euros and has to order them, it may be too late for your upcoming trip.
Second choice is to get a small amount of cash ($100 worth?) from the airport atm to tide you over until you can use a bank in town. Don't sweat the bad rate. If you need to, you need to.
Tip: save some euros from this trip to start yourself off on the next one. We always come home with 100 - 200 euros so that we have one less thing to worry about when starting a trip.

Posted by
3493 posts

Nancy,

The big deal is if you are not careful, you may get stuck paying a lot more than a small percentage. All We (including Rick Steves) are suggesting is to be careful in the choice of where to get cash. Of course if you are arriving in any country and need local cash to get going, a small withdrawal from any ATM is not going to kill you financially.

"ATMs everywhere have fees attached to them." "All currency conversions have a fee attached." No, they don't. :-)

Your bank may charge you a fee to use any ATM. If it does, look around for another bank as there are many now that don't charge this fee. Same with Foreign Exchange fees. There are many financial institutions that no longer pass on the fee, with or without a markup from the 1% the network charges, to their customers. And I bet that the fee the ATM charges at the "sleazy" place is a lot higher than the fee charged by the ATM at the grocery store.

Most ATMs in Europe don't charge a fee to you at the machine (at least that has been my experience). That means if you ask for 100 Euros, that is all the ATM is going to charge your bank and your receipt at the ATM will show only the 100 Euro amount.

If you are OK with the fees you pay for ATM use, then OK that is your choice. While I am not going to waste my vacation time searching for the perfect ATM to use, I'm also not necessarily going to use the very first one I see when I step off the plane.

Posted by
23 posts

We arrived in France in June and at the airport could only find Travelex ATMS. Rate was horrible. Just got what we needed to get us into the city. If you happen to bank with Bank of America, they have an agreement with BNP bank in France. There were no fees at all, just the regular exchange rate, which hasn't been too bad this summer. We found BNP ATMs everywhere, even in the smaller cities. When we got back to the U.S. we just took the bit of leftover Euros to the bank and exchanged them. You might be able to get a few Euros at your bank before you go - but I think they have to be ordered ahead of time. Check with your bank or credit union to see if they have any fee agreements with any bank over there.

Posted by
4734 posts

How would you know the rate was 'horrible' until you checked a bank statement?

Posted by
3493 posts

"How would you know the rate was 'horrible' until you checked a bank statement?"

There is such a thing as the internet and online banking. :-)

When I make an ATM withdrawal anywhere in the world, I can see it in my online banking statement within the hour. The amount in USD (my home currency) is shown. I can easily compare that to what Google shows as the interbank rate. Very easy to tell if the rate used by the ATM was "good" (close to the interbank rate) or "bad" (inflated in favor of the ATM operator).

Posted by
74 posts

I guess we approach thrifty travel in different ways. For me, I do the best I can on the biggies of airfare and a hotel and from there, I understand that everything is going to cost me 20% more than the guidebook states and that at various points along the way I will be charged the tourist tax. It is personally unfathomable to me to come off a 10 hour flight, negotiate customs, and then run around to a different airport terminal to save 4 bucks on an ATM fee. Things just cost more in an airport, just like they do at home. The Coke is more, Burger King is more, and the ATM in CDG costs more. That's like wanting to stop at a café for a coffee and then walking another 6 blocks to find one with a cheaper coffee.

Posted by
8493 posts

Actually Nancy, Mark was responding to your incorrect assertion that "ATMs everywhere have fees attached to them". In fact he wrote it's a waste of energy to trudge way out of your way after a long flight for a couple of dollars.

Somehow you missed what he said completely and went off about airports costing more.

So once again to clarify for others who read the Forum for information: yes ATMs in the States do charge a fee. On the other hand, in Europe, banks are only now beginning to charge fees. Therefore, if your own ATM card has no charge for withdrawing money at any ATM, as is the case with my Andrews Federal Credit Union card, and the banks in Europe generally don't charge a fee, then you have no fees to pay.

So ATMs everywhere do not necessarily have fees attached to them. Additionally, many who answer questions here are frequent travelers who have gone out of their ways to obtain no fee, 0% transaction debit and credit cards. There have been several posts about obtaining no fee debit cards and 0% transaction credit cards.

Glad you aren't trudging after a long flight.

Posted by
4734 posts

Mark - yes statements are available online and have been for many years and were what I was referring to equally well as to those old fashioned paper things. Still you can't check any form of statement for details of a transaction that hasn't yet happened.

vherrig seemed to have judged a withdrawal amount on knowing the rate was poor - which suggests DCC, as otherwise there is no way of knowing what any loading is.

Posted by
2490 posts

I do not believe the receipt from the ATM will show your amount in S$$s unless it did a DCC.

Posted by
23 posts

I had to go back and look at the exchange rate on travel compared to BNP. At the airport it was $1.22 per 1 Euro, plus a $5 fee. Then a day or two later at BNP ATM in Paris, it was $1.12 per 1 Euro. At the time, I remember that the exchange rate when i had checked it before we left, was supposed to have been $1.11-$1.12. So it is just what you feel you can tolerate. Knowing what we knew after getting into the city, we would only have gotten enough to get us there - why waste money? A taxi would have only been about $70 (based upon what others of our tour group paid). We got too much cash at the airport - should have waited until we got into the city. We took the Air France bus into the city, which was a bit less. You are right, though, about not wandering around the airport looking for the "right" ATM. Not worth it. It took long enough just going through customs! It took about 1 ½ hours for customs in CDG. It also took 1 ½ hours in Atlanta, too!! We were surprise there - turned out that 3 or 4 international flights all landed around the same time - making for about 1000 passenger to go through customs at the same time!

Posted by
40 posts

Finally getting to answer my own question.

At least in terminal 1, there are only Travelex ATMs. Staff at the TI desk confirmed this. The two I attempted to use were non-functional.

Ended up obtaining Euros at an LCL ATM near Rue Cler.

Posted by
4734 posts

Often there may be a second screen after declining conversion asking if you really meant to decline as otherwise there is a risk of something nasty happening such as your hair falling out and your teeth turning green if you do. Always ignore such curses and continue to decline.

Posted by
3702 posts

14 months ago, there was indeed a La Poste ATM next to the post office by the food court at Terminal 1. I did not use it but noted it for future use.

I don't mean to be cynical, but I wouldn't believe the TI staff about something like this. So often they don't really care about tourists.

I recently did a study of the percent difference between the XE.com published exchange rate and what my ATM withdrawals got me. In 3 withdrawals in Italy, the difference was less that 0.1%, not the 1.0% everyone says you automatically get. With 3 withdrawals in Germany the difference in rates was almost exactly 1.5%. All withdrawals in both countries were from bank ATMs.

Just saying that the rumored fixed 1% mastercard or visa charge hidden in the exchange rate never showed up that way for me. It was either much less or quite a bit more.