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1st time travler outside US. Money advise

purchase euros & how much? Before departure. What east coast bank? ATM card - is 1(bank card) better than another? Munich for 2days then off to farm & countryside. Then to Austria & Back.
Money & What to expect would be appreciated.

Posted by
9110 posts

' . . . . and that's running about $160' which is real close to $126.43

Posted by
8767 posts

According to the currency converter I used, 100€ = $126.32. You can buy euros from major banks before you go, but they will charge extra. I head for a bank ATM at my arrival airport and get my euros there. Most credit unions do not charge an exchange fee using their debit cards. Ideally you will take two debit cards from different accounts and a credit card or two. If one card doesn't work you will have other options. Be sure to notify banks and credit card issuers when and where you are traveling. You can also request that your daily limit for your debit card be increased.

Posted by
21709 posts

.....ATM card - is 1(bank card) better than another? ..... Yes - can be huge differences. ALL fees charged to use an ATM card are determined by the card issuer. Fees for using debit cards at an ATM in Europe can range from 0 to 3 or 4% and sometimes a withdraw fee of 1 to 5 dollars is added. Call your debit card issuer and ask what the fee structure is.

Posted by
18301 posts

If you had ordered 100€ today from Wells Fargo, it would have cost you $132.87. For orders under $1000, Wells Fargo also charges $15 shipping, so the total cost would be $147.87. That's less than $22 more than the Interbank rate of $126.32/€, and, most people won't pay just $126.32/€ at an ATM over there. People using a major bank's card at an ATM over there will probably pay something like $135 (3% + $5), so they would only be paying only about $13 more by getting Euro over here. I live close to a major Wells Fargo branch, so I could drop in and get 100€ for $132.87, but I don't have to. Every time I come back from Europe, I bring back enough Euro to start my next trip.

Posted by
11450 posts

Ralph what on earth does age have to do with the ability to use a currency converter or do simple math, are you implying that younger folks have problems with those functions?

Posted by
16761 posts

Cindy, I know can be a little scary for the first time not knowing what will happen if you've never done it before. The ATM machines work fine in Europe. As mentioned earlier, notify your bank of travel plans (and inquire of the fees). Many people feel more comfortable having 100 Euro in their pocket when they land, but I don't think it necessary (my personal choice). Go through the "Money/Comunication" section of the Graffiti Wall for tips on minimizing/reducing fees. If there is some type of massive communication failure that knocks out the ATM's, I'll break down and change cash at the ripoff foreign exchange booth. It still won't be as bad as paying $160 for 100 Euro. Oh, if you use a word as your PIN, bring along a cheat sheet with the letters of the American keypad on it. Most of the ATM machines don't have alphabet leters on the keypad, just numbers. I've known that to throw people for a loop.

Posted by
18301 posts

I'm sure if you looked around, you could find a foreign exchange booth over there selling Euro for $1.60/€, but, at just over $140 for 100€, Travelex is the most expensive I could find. Travelex operates some foreign exchange booths and has some ATMs at airports (I've heard at Heathrow). If you buy from them online, the minimum order is $250 and they charge $9.99 for shipping. For 180€, you'd pay $252.49 plus shipping, which comes out to $1.46/€. Avoid Travelex.

Posted by
5 posts

Ask your bank(s) whether they have agreements with any local banks. For example, Deutsche Bank does not charge for BofA ATM cards.

Posted by
21709 posts

Deutsche Bank does not charge any bank card for using their ATMs. All fees are determine by the card issuer. BofAmerica has decided they will not charge their users additional fees when using the Deutsche Bank ATMs.

Posted by
262 posts

Anyone know the limit on amount one can take out per debit card? Thanks!

Posted by
11450 posts

Debi, not sure of all places, but in Paris I managed a 400 euro withdrawal. I made sure my bank had raised my limit before I left too.

Posted by
16 posts

Agree that you do not need euros before you go, your debit card will be fine. We travel extensively, and use BofA because they have no fees with Deutsche Bank in Germany and Bnp Paribus in France. My teachers credit union also minimized charges when I used that debit card. With BofA, we call and let them know when we are traveling, and they will note that there may be larger withdrawals. We've withdrawn 500 euros a day, each.

Posted by
2876 posts

"Anyone know the limit on amount one can take out per debit card?" Your daily withdrawal limit is set by your own home bank. You may run into ATM's that won't let you withdraw your full amount from that particular machine, but if that happens all you have to do is go to another ATM. The only limit that really matters is that set by your own bank. Some people ask their bank to temporarily raise their daily limit when they travel.

Posted by
3304 posts

I believe that what Frank said about Deutsche Bank and B of A is true for DB in Germany only, not elsewhere. At least that was the case when we had accounts with them a couple of years ago.

Posted by
2876 posts

Rosalyn is correct. BofA partners with DB only in Germany. Still true.

Posted by
21709 posts

But the point is that they do not charge anyone - inside Germany or outside. Equal treatment for all debit cards.

Posted by
2876 posts

True, DB doesn't charge, but BofA charges a $5 "international transaction fee" if you use their debit card at a non-partner bank overseas. BofA's partner bank in Germany is DB.

Posted by
11286 posts

Cindy, you need to call ALL of your credit and debit cards and notify them of your travel plans. This way, they will not only not block your use of the cards in Europe, but can spot fraudulent use elsewhere. This just happened to me on my last trip: my Visa card was never used in Holland, but Visa blocked a fraudulent charge in Virginia - because I had told them I'd be out of the US at that time. When you call, ask for the fees to use your card abroad. It used to be that the person answering wouldn't have a clue, but I was pleasantly surprised when I just called for my upcoming trip, as all the reps had the information handy. For debit cards, there can be two fees - a percentage of the transaction, and/or a per-withdrawal charge. My Chase checking account actually has both - $3 per withdrawal AND 3% of the transaction. And my credit card charges 3% for foreign transactions, and 3% for cash advances; the rep warned me that BOTH fees apply if I use my card for a cash advance in Europe, so this is only for emergencies. If you have a debit card with high fees, and if by "Elizabeth" you mean you are in New Jersey, get a TD bank account. They have no percentage fee for ATM use; basic accounts charge $2 per withdrawal, and accounts with a $2500 minimum balance have no withdrawal fees. My TD card is my money mainstay while in Europe. If you go into a TD branch and open an account, they will give you an ATM card (not just a temporary) while you wait. TD's maximum withdrawal is $760 per day.

Posted by
1065 posts

Our Fidelity brokerage account has a cash management feature that includes a debit card with no transaction fees worldwide. We try to have enough foreign currency with us to get to our hotel, although sometimes we have waited until we arrive in Europe to use the ATM.