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Buying euros in the U.S.

Can anyone suggest the best way to purchase euros in the U.S.? I want to have all of my cash before I get to Italy. Thanks in advance for any advice! Tammy

Posted by
102 posts

tammy, if you must buy, do so via your local, not credit union, commercial bank, like b of a, where for a fee they can obtain most any combination of paper bills. this will take a few days, as hardly any local bank stocks euros;

Posted by
74 posts

I would also reconsider having all of your cash before you get there -- which means you will have all of your cash on you or in your hotel room for the whole trip...

ATMs are plentiful and usually give you even better rates than going to your local bank.

just my 2 cents.

Posted by
28 posts

In Denver we have one Wells Fargo branch where you can purchase euros without advance orders. You might check your local branches.

While I agree with those who recommend ATMs at your destination to avoid carrying too much cash, we have carried rather large amounts to pay cash for apartment rentals and, with proper caution, this works well.

Posted by
23223 posts

Before buying in the US make sure you know the interbank rate for the previous day (in the newspaper or on-line) so that you can accurately judge the fees you are paying. Most banks will bury their fees in the exchange rate. Be prepared to pay a premium between 5 to 10% if purchasing in the US. There is no "best way" to purchase in the US. Call around and ask about fees. And NO FEE does not necessarily mean no fees. You do the math. Start with your local bank.

Posted by
446 posts

Absolutely correct, Frank. "No fee" is just a marketing ploy to make you think you are getting a better deal. The only way to tell how good of a deal you are actually getting is to compare your bank's rate with the interbank rates, which you can check at sites such as bloomberg.com and xe.com.

You are also right that banks will give you a better deal than exchange bureaus. If I must have some cash before I go, I get it at my Bank of America branch here in San Francisco. Not a great rate, but better than exchange bureaus such as Travelex.

I don't know of any US bank that gives a rate for cash comparable to what you would get from an ATM withdrawal in Europe. EverBank in St. Louis has a great rate, but they don't deal in cash -- you have to have a European bank account in which to deposit the money if you want to withdraw cash. Xetrade in Canada also has a good rate, but they also only deal in either wire transfers to a European account, or they will give you a bank draft in Euros. The latter could be used for paying such things as apartment deposits -- provided the rental agency in Europe will take checks.