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Exchange from Dollars to Euros

I'm going to Italy in a few weeks and need to get some Euros before I go. I've called a local currency exchange company and they'll do it for a big fee. Is there any way of converting currency without the large fee?

Posted by
10 posts

Jim,

Wells Fargo and BofA will sell foreign currency, no fee if you're an account holder at their bank. There are many experienced travelers on the boards who will suggest you hit the ATM's in Italy and forego purchasing euros beforehand. I don't know if this is an option for you. Good luck!

Posted by
2465 posts

My local auto club (AAA) offers currency exchange. Last time I got euros it was a flat $7.50 fee no matter how much currency you ordered (although there was a $300 minimum order, but not a problem given the exchange rate). 2 or 3 day turn around. Also, some larger banks will allow you to order currency even if you're not a member - it will require some phoning around though.

Posted by
831 posts

Jim,
You have to check both the fee and the exchange rates. Most U.S. banks will get about 5% above the exchange rate. I think AAA gets 7%. ATMs in Italy will cost you 1% above the exchange rate plus whatever your bank charges you.

Posted by
147 posts

You don't only have to watch the fee, you have to watch the exchange rates some of these people pop you with. Many places in Europe will have signs NO FEES and that sucks people in but then they give you 15% less in exchange rates. Another big scam is to quote you a hotel rate in USD and then charge you in Euros and pop you with an extra 10%.

Your best exchange rate are the ATM's and there are some at the airport when you arrive.

Posted by
32 posts

We have just returned from Italy. Our AAA wouldn't give us very much in Euros, less than $100 worth. they suggested going to our bank, which I did. We heard from "everyone" to get our euros before we went. That was a mistake. In order to get 1,000 euros, it cost me $1,500 at our bank. We did better getting them when we needed them in Italy. I didn't take my ATM card, but used my credit card and it was the way to go.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Jim,
As stated by a previous traveler using your Bank is perfect start!
I just purchased some EUROS yesterday from Wells Fargo. A few things:

*There is a fee/% which they waived.
*
EUROS will take 5-7 days to receive.
*They will be sent via FED EX, to your home or bank directly, signature required.

*
Their is also a s&h charge which my bank has waived.
**.78/$1.00 was rate exchanged yesterday.

I would be sure to speak with a/your Personal Banker I find their relation is valuable.
Hope this helps!

Best Wishes & Safe Travels!

Posted by
10 posts

Jim,

If you do decide to go the ATM route, be sure you browse through these boards for ATM topics (can be found in both General Europe and To The Boot). They are full of good advice (for example, making sure the bank knows you're traveling to Europe so they don't think there's fraud going on, raising ATM limits, etc.).

Happy travels!

Posted by
14 posts

I've actually been researching this for my own trip later this year. I have a Bank of America account and you can order the Euros from them and there's only a $7 fee (I think they say it's for shipping). When I checked out the exchange rate, it was actually slightly better than other rates I had seen. I believe even if you don't have a BoA account you can still order Euros from them. All the info's on their website.

Posted by
466 posts

Jim:

Use the ATM's as we do here in the states it's the best way!!!! They charge 1% and it's so convienent when you need cash, just go to the ATM. They work the same way as they do here in the states except instead of dollars, it spits out Euros! Foolproof! You can stop at the ATM in the airport when you arrive so you have some cash in your pocket!!!

Posted by
27 posts

Hi Jim I found out from Whidbey Island Bank on the island today that you can go to Seatac Airport and go to the Travel Ex Desk and get Euros there for a fee. They said the fee is a little higher than the banks but since you dont pay FedEx or S/H fees it actually is cheaper in the long run.

I guess Travel Ex has a few places in the airport to go, look it up on the Port of Seattle site for SeaTac...

Posted by
1317 posts

I was excited to find you can get currency exchanges from Bank of America even if you aren't a customer.

HOWEVER, in reading the fine print, I realized that they charge it to your credit card, which then treats it as a cash advance (which it is). Depending on the fees/interest rate for cash advances on your credit card, this might not be such a good idea after all.

Posted by
223 posts

Liz,

Can you use a Visa or Mastercard debit card in place of the credit card to avoid the advance fees?

Roxanne

Posted by
1317 posts

Roxanne,

BoA will only let you use a debit card if you have an account with them. From their FAQ:

"If you are a Bank of America customer with a U.S. deposit account, you may pay by having your Bank of America checking or savings account debited, or by using your Bank of America check card with the VISA® logo (ATM/debit card).

We are unable to accept non Bank of America debit cards, including those with the VISA® or Mastercard® logo.

You can also charge your order to any MasterCard® or VISA® credit card. However, credit card purchases will be considered cash advances and all fees and charges associated with cash advances will be applied."

I was quite bummed out.