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Late night Euro exchange at the Barcelona airport?

We are arriving at the Barcelona airport at 10:30 PM this Saturday night and we will need to take a taxi to our hotel in Barcelona. Are there ATM machines we can use in the airport that late at night to get Euros or should we get Euros in the USA before we leave? Are there certain bank's ATMs that give better rates than others? Do taxi's take credit cards? How much do you tip taxi drivers?

Posted by
4524 posts

I can answer a few. Just like at home, ATMs work 24/7. Many people do like to exchange a small amount of cash before leaving. The rates won't be that great, but you'll have euro on hand when you arrive in case something goes wrong (it's not unheard of for a bank to block foreign transactions even after you've notified them of your travel plans). Or some people just like to head straight for the hotel to rest and not spend time getting cash.

Exchange rates from an ATM will all be the same; its an interbank exchange rate that banks use to transfer money from one to another. Your bank may add some fees, such as foreign transaction fees and/or out of network fees - those vary from none to about 5% total. The Spanish bank will not likely charge any fees, though some private ATMs like Travelex may have a fee included. More and more ATMs, especially in Spain, offer what is know as Dynamic Currency Conversion or DCC. That is an offer to convert your transaction into US dollars for you. Always reject it and insist on doing business in the local currency. With DCC the bank or merchant gets to set the exchange rate and of course they will look to make a profit on it.

I would think most taxis will take a credit card; often you must notify them up front that you plan to use a card and not cash. But always be prepared to pay cash with something like that - you never know when a credit card might be blocked and you're stuck unable to pay for something. A taxi driver might not know how or be able to process a US credit card that is chip and signature (Europeans use PINs to verify transactions).

Tipping is not standard in most of Europe as people are paid living wages. But it is not uncommon to round a fare up to the next euro or provide an extra euro if they are helpful and courteous.

Posted by
4620 posts

Smith,

I usually take at least €100, from the US when I travel, for the various reasons Douglas mentioned above.

When I arrive totally exhausted from an overnight transatlantic flight, the last thing I want to do is find an ATM at the airport.

I'd suggest going to a bank ATM, during business hours, just in case the machine decides to swallow your card or you encounter other issues. Some ATMs are located inside the banks, and I prefer these for safety reasons.

Make sure you notify your bank of your travel plans (dates & countries you plan to visit), to avoid any issues with your debit & credit cards.

You may consider increasing your daily cash withdrawal limit, so you can make fewer larger withdrawals, especially if your bank charges per transaction.

Regarding taxis... I don't know if taxi drivers take credit cards, because I've always paid cash only.

Here's some useful information about taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel: https://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/airport/transport/barcelona-airport-taxis.html

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
19175 posts

I spent the summer in Spain, and there are definitely bank-owned ATMs in that country now charging fees. The fees will be disclosed before you complete the transaction, so you'll be free to cancel it and look for a different ATM. I have no idea what the situation is at the airport, but in the city of Barcelona you may be charged fees if you are not paying attention.

I believe the Santander Bank and BBVA ATMs don't charge fees. The CaixaBank and CX machines do charge fees.

Posted by
21243 posts

...would think most taxis will take a credit card.... That is never a safe assumption and I would always assume cash only.

Posted by
16866 posts

If the ATMs at the airport don't work for some reason, the cab driver should be happy to stop at another ATM before delivering you to your hotel. People stay out late in Spain, some just having dinner at that time.

Posted by
11266 posts

With a late arrival, it makes sense to arrive with €50-100. That way, you can just go to your hotel without delay, and the next morning, get euros easily near your hotel. But, if it's going to be a big hassle to get euros beforehand (I don't know if you live somewhere where you can get them on a walk in basis, or if they have to be ordered), the other ideas in this thread work too (i.e., using the ATM at the airport, trying to use a credit card in the taxi - do ask first as said above, or having the taxi stop at an ATM).

Posted by
22 posts

Lots of good information. Thanks. I went to our local bank and purchased a 100 Euros. By time we have arrived, it will be late and we will traveled 24 hours so I don't want to take the risk of an airport ATM rejecting our card.

Posted by
4524 posts

...would think most taxis will take a credit card.... That is never a safe assumption and I would always assume cash only.

Perhaps a bit snippy here, but did you read the very next sentence of my post? Always be prepared to pay cash.

Posted by
4620 posts

Smith,

Good idea to take a few € with you.

I usually keep a few € at the end of my trip & save them for the next trip! ;-)

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
2575 posts

As far as I know, these days all taxis in Barcelona accept ccards... BUT note that some US cards won't work in Europe as they're not yet up to standards and also be aware that ccards can get damaged so solely depending on a ccard might get you stuck in a taxi without being able to pay. Carrying some cash, especially when travelling on a taxi abroad, is a very wise idea.

Posted by
95 posts

Another reason for carrying some euros before you arrive at such a late hour is the possibility that the ATM machines may already be depleted of cash because of earlier withdrawals. Always safer if you have at least cash for taxi/commuter fares and extra for a meal. Good thing you aleady got some euros.