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money

Read all kinds of info about which kind of credit cards and/or cash to bring. Doing 7 days in April 2014 to Ireland. I'm confused about debit ATM, sterling, credit cards. Could someone help a first time traveler?

Posted by
6898 posts

It is suggested to bring two credit cards. Generally, these are either Visa or MasterCard cards. Notify you credit card company to inform them that you will be using your cards in Ireland. For ATM cards, I again suggest two in case there is difficulty with one of them. Again, notify your bank that you will be withdrawing cash in Ireland from ATMs. Make sure that your pin number is 4 numbers. Zero can be one of them. European ATM keypads usually don't show letters.

All ATMs in all countries dispense the coin of the realm for that country (unless you find the Travelex ATMs in airports. They dispense multiple types of currencies). The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro. Northern Ireland uses the pound Sterling.

Posted by
2081 posts

Vkprice1954,

you shoudnt have issues with using an ATM. Theyre just like here. But if one ATM doesnt like you or your card, there are others around.

you can also buy $$ before you leave if you choose.

If you plan on going back someday, keep the change/paper $$ you get and bring it back. it wont spoil or go bad so when you do come back, you will already have some change on hand.

if you use your credit card in any establishments, chances are, they will have to stop and do the paper receipt. So far everywhere ive been to in europe, its only slowed down the line, but was able to get my purchases done.

happy trails.

Posted by
1976 posts

Some credit cards have foreign transaction fees, so read the fine print of the cards you want to bring, in order to avoid any surprises. The Capital One credit card doesn't have any foreign transaction fees.

Do not use a credit card to get cash at an ATM unless it's an emergency. This qualifies as a cash advance and the interest will eat you alive. That said, it is a good idea to call your credit card companies and request them to send you the PIN for each credit card you're bringing. In case of emergency, you'll have a way to get cash. Europe is more of a cash society than the U.S.

Notify your bank and credit card company about your trip - tell them the dates of the trip and which countries you'll be in, so they don't flag your account.

Also make photocopies of all cards you're bringing - credit cards, driver's license, health insurance card, etc. Make copies of the front and back of the cards and leave one set of copies at home and bring the other set with you. In case you lose any of the cards, you'll have all the information and the phone numbers to call for canceling and replacements.

I like to arrive in a country with some local currency, which you can get from your bank or AAA. The exchange rate isn't the best but it's an expense I'm willing to pay.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all your kind help. This is my bucket list trip. I think I booked too early. The wait is driving me crazy and I can't stay away from the library. Way too much information in this brain. Again, thanks.

Posted by
9363 posts

I carry two credit cards, and two debit cards from different institutions. One debit card is my regular debit card from a small, local credit union. The other is from an online bank, Ally. My regular card charges no foreign transaction fee, and the Ally card charges 1%. I can transfer money between my two institutions online with ease. Occasionally, an ATM might not like your card for no reason. Just move along to the next ATM.

I know photocopies make some people feel more secure, but photocopies of your cards are just as vulnerable as your real cards if they fall into the wrong hands. If you were to lose your cards, all you need is the non-tollfree phone number for each one. They don't need the numbers to look up your account - they already have plenty of information that they can use to match you to your account.

Posted by
31303 posts

vk,

Which parts of Ireland will you be visiting? Note that the Republic of Ireland uses the Euro, while the northern part (Eire) use UK Pounds Sterling. As the others have mentioned, ATM's will dispense the currency of whichever country they're in.

With ATM cards, note that travel funds must usually be in a chequing account with a four-number PIN. The majority of ATM's in Europe (at least those I've encountered) won't provide a choice between savings and chequing, but will access only your primary account. You can check with your financial institutions to determine which account that is.

As this is your first trip to the Emerald Isle, I'd highly recommend packing along a copy of the Ireland 2014 Guidebook. It has an enormous amount of information which will be a valuable resource to plan touring, transportation, etc. Especially with such a short trip, you'll need to plan efficiently so that you don't waste ANY time.

Does your seven day time frame include your two flight days? Where are you travelling from?

Sláinte!

Posted by
54 posts

Hi There-We visited Ireland several years ago as our first trip to Europe, and I remember the anxiety of a first-time traveller about cards and money! The good news is, it's really not a very big deal. You've gotten lots of good advice already on this thread. Definitely call ahead to your card issuer to let them know you'll be travelling overseas, and be prepared to need to re-call from Ireland; banks are famous for getting their wires crossed and flagging charges as suspicious even when you've notified them. But it's no big deal; the only time that happened to us we called our bank right from the car rental counter and the rental agent got us squared away in under 5 minutes.
When my husband and I travel, we each have a debit/ATM card and a credit card (so 4 cards total between us), which we've never needed but is great for peace of mind. We also like to hit the ground in our destination country with a couple hundred dollars worth of local currency, which you can get in advance and take with you, or just be sure to get to an ATM at the airport once you arrive. There are tons and tons of ATMs (also called Cashpoints) all over Ireland, including in practically every small town we visited. Rick's guidebook is really helpful about spelling out where to locate them in the various towns, and warning you if there isn't one.
You'll figure out your own style of paying as you go, but what we do is pay cash for most meals and purchases under $50 or so, and use our credit cards for larger purchases and lodging. When we go to an ATM, we withdraw the maximum amount, because there usually is a per-withdrawl charge in addition to the percentage charge. We've never had an issue with an ATM or with using a credit card at a restaurant or merchant, and everyone in Ireland is just so friendly and eager to help that I have to imagine that if there was an issue, they'd be apologizing to you!
Finally, as someone mentioned earlier, if you're only going to be in the Republic, you don't need to worry about pounds sterling at all. Ulster wasn't on our itinerary (next trip!), so we only had to deal with Euros on that trip. We never even saw a pound. Good luck, you're going to have an amazing time!
Best,
Peggy

Posted by
970 posts

My routine is to use a debit/bank card to get cash every few days and then use that cash for most things, leaving the credit card for accommodations, occasional meals, car rental, train tickets, etc.

When I depart the U.S., say, for London, I'd buy 50-100 pounds at the departure airport just so I don't need to look for a cash machine until well into the next day. The notion of trolling around an airport looking for an ATM after that long flight and waiting to get through passport control is not at all appealing. (If you plan, or think you might, use a cab or hire car from the arrival airport into the city, be sure to have cash to cover that, at least.)

It's probably a good idea to ask your debit/bank card issuer to increase the daily withdrawal limit for the duration of the trip. Go for a substantial increase, like a doubling.

Card issuers typically provide a phone number to call toll-free from overseas if a card is lost, etc. Some can wire a modest amount of emergency cash to a bank near your location. Ask, of course, if a replacement card can be quickly issued by some place near your location. Carry those phone numbers (and the corresponding card numbers) some place besides the wallet where you keep your cards.

When you use a debit card to withdraw cash, that day's exchange rate is applied automatically. Remember, you're buying currency that sells for the exchange rate the seller uses. Ditto credit cards. Some cards charge low, or no, additional fees on top of the exchange fee. Some banks have arrangements with European banks to offer reduced fees. E.g., Bank of America card users get a better deal using Barclays ATM's. It's worth asking your card issuer if they have a similar deal.

As everyone says, call your card issuer to advise them of where and when you will be using the cards. Given yourself a couple of days of slack at the end of the trip just in case you run into some serious departure delays. (This is a very low-risk, very high annoyance situation.)

On a related issue: If you lose your passport, report it ASAP to the nearest consulate, or embassy if you're in a capitol. As long as you have some acceptable ID, they can turn around the paperwork to help you out pretty quickly.)

Posted by
1164 posts

Ray:

On windows if you use Alt+0128 you get €

Posted by
11266 posts

"On windows if you use Alt+0128 you get €"

Yes, but for further elaboration, it only works if you use the numbers on the number keypad to the right of the letters, not the numbers above the letters.

For your British pound needs, ALT+156 on a Windows machine will give you the £ symbol.

And, vkprice1954, here's Rick's page of money tips: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/money-travel-tips.htm. Read all the links on that page, and you'll be an expert.