While I know that it's usually best to use an ATM in Europe to get euros, I will need around 200 euros for a guide on the day after arrival who doesn't take credit cards. Since I don't want to need to run around on my Sunday arrival day to find a Multibanco ATM in Lisbon (and any bank wouldn't be open if there was a problem), I was thinking of getting what I need for the guide here and anything else once there. If anyone has done something similar, would I be likely to get a better exchange rate at Bank of America or AAA ?
The only way to know is get quotes.
Neither. There is no "exchange rate," that rate is actually the marked-up purchase price that you are paying for that currency.
In spite of what you have said, there should be no problem getting to a Bancomat (and not a Euronet) in LisbonAirport if you arrive there. If arriving by train or bus there will almost certainly be a Bancomat convenient to the station. Do a Google search for "Bancomat Lisboa Airport" (or train/bus station) and they will be shown. Come to think of it, your guide will surely know of these and can get you by one also.
When I was looking for rates years ago, I found out that then AAA didn't really handle currency exchange, they just ordered the currency from a bank that did do currency exchange. Back then it was Wells Fargo. If they get them from BofA, they might add a fee for the service, or they might just pass on that they pay for them, but you won't get a better rate from AAA.
Why not just ask each of them what their exchange rates are? BofA will know the rate; AAA might only be able to give you the price for the number of euro you want. Just ask on the same day.
I seem to remember that since then I found that AAA was getting euro from Travelex. If that is still the case, they will be more expensive.
I know that Wells check the Interbank rate first thing in the morning and sets their rate from it, so their rate compared to the Interbank rate will vary throughout the day, but when I was tracking it, Wells averaged 5% over the Interbank rate and BofA was 5½% over. It looks like BofA has come down to 5% over. Those are the best rates I've ever found for getting euro here. I'd use one of them.
We have both BOA and AAA. We always get cash out in the airport bank - there are always banks in airports and that will be the best way. Read the TRAVEL TIPS SECTION here on the website, go the the part on money - lots of good info there.
You'd have to call BOA and AAA to see how they charge - the exchange rate will be the same, but they both add a charge to get money for you.
As I understand it, each state's AAA operates somewhat independently, so their rates and services can differ. When I asked my local office about currency rates, they said they had to order it from the AAA in the neighboring state, so couldn't give me a number. Unless you're considering ordering it online.
Same thing with banks. I have two I use. One gets currency from their central office. The other said they would have to order it from the first bank, so it would cost more. First bank charges a flat fee of $15 per transaction on top of a 10-12% difference both ways on the published interbank rate. I don't begrudge banks making money on the service they provide, as it costs them money to do it.
Keep in mind that BofA will charge a fee for the transaction if you only want to take out 200 Euro from your account. To avoid that fee you need to take out $ 1, 000 (minimum). I just did this last week since the official rate was $ 1.069 on that day.
Of course, BofA will charge a higher rate since it has to make some money too. Whether you take its rate depends on if you thinks it is reasonable . I took out a bit over 1200 dollars., no fee charge by BofA for this transaction. Two of the hotels in France have told me paying them in cash will lower my room rate. I had one such experience this time in Paris.
I'd call both of them, right after the other and ask. That way you can compare apples with apples.
Just say = I will want 200 Euro later today. How much will that cost?
And if they hem and haw it will be too much.
Nigel nailed it. If you ask about exchange rate or fees or commissions, you may get an incomplete answer. You want to know the total, bottom-line cost of what you need.
Good point--I'll call tomorrow. I'm sort of tempted to wait and hope I'll find a multibanco ATM at the airport!
for 200€ how far wrong can you possibly go?
Very true--whatever a higher cost may be, it's a drop in the bucket of total trip costs! It's easy to get caught up in small things. I should probably get the darn euros here and stop thinking about it!!
I am in the don't sweat it camp. We are talking about a few dollars one way or the other. Your time is worth more.
When we travel I always get about $100.00 or $200.00 worth of the local currency ahead of time from my bank, B of A. The exchange rate has always been good and there has been no fee (I am a customer there). When we are in the country and I need cash I go to an atm of a bank that partners with BofA to not charge a fee, such as BNP Paribas in France, or Scotia Bank in Chile. You can find out ahead of time which local bank partners with your bank to avoid fees. I go online ahead of time to find locations of the bank atms. We have never had a problem with finding a bank, or with fees. My SIL however, had trouble using their debit card in Spain at all atms. They had an account at a smallish credit union and their debit card didn't work anywhere. If you bank with one of the major banks, I would check with them about which atms to use, and how prevalent they are. Most of us will probably find a fee-free option.
(Needless to say, we generally use our credit card for most expenses, and if we don't use all our local currency, we keep it for the next trip.)
Mister E is right. It's small beer compared to the rest of your trip's costs. Make up for it by not tipping.
I agree--this is small stuff and not worth the energy I've already spent! Many thanks for all the responses. I will just go to BoA and get what I need for the tour where I have to pay in cash. Unfortunately, there aren't any banks in Portugal in BoA's network that are easy to get to (I think that only Deutsche Bank is there, and not a lot of them), unlike in France and Italy. But there are Multibanco ATMs so i don't need to get the higher rates at some of the others.
The sacrificed fees may be chump change to each of us, but it represents a large straight profit item for the bank or bureau pocketing them. Compare this to the initial plot device in Superman 3, where Richard Pryor's character figures out how to divert all the rational cents his employer is receiving from rounding bills up to his account from the employers account. To say they were not happy is an understatement. By acceding to these fees and mark-ups you are supporting the vulture-like methods of the banks that feel the need to charge these fees.
Use BAC’s app or website for your conversion rate. If you’re a preferred customer, the fee is low if any (I don’t remember). In the scheme of the whole trip it was minimal. I found it easier to land with a bit of money than getting £ at ATM on arrival last year.
Minimum was 100£. Same for €.
An ATM when you get there will get you the best rate (as long as it's a bank ATM rather than a Euronet travel exchange machine). Mr. E is right, however, if you must get euros here, you're already wasting money. Why sweat the difference of a few dollars one way or the other?
I used to never take euros with me because it was easy to find an ATM at the airport. Lately, airports have put in Euronet machines which are likely more expensive than either AAA or your bank. It's hard, sometimes impossible, to find a "real" ATM in an airport these days (sometimes even in the town center).
I couldn't find an ATM at the Istanbul airport (IST) that didn't charge a 10% fee. Fortunately, I was able to get into the city with my credit card and (for a taxi part of the way) some euros I had with me. I could definitely have found a taxi that would take a credit card if I'd needed to.