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How to manage currency in Europe

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ravith

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Sep 5, 2007
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Will be in Europe (mainly germany, some time in France, may be Italy and around) for a month.

My first time.

I wonder what is the best way to take money/ and to spend.
Will they accept credit card from Australia (Virgin Mastercard)? And if they do, what will be the conversion rate (will they reap off?)
I also heard the ATM accepts our ATM card - but there may be hefty fee.
Traveller's cheque? But if I have to book flights online they won't help.
I will take some Euro cash and hopefully Oz$ stays healthy for at least 2 weeks.

Those who travel frequently, or anyone, plz help!
 

Travel Guru

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Apr 19, 2006
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ravith said:
Will be in Europe (mainly germany, some time in France, may be Italy and around) for a month.

My first time.

I wonder what is the best way to take money/ and to spend.
Will they accept credit card from Australia (Virgin Mastercard)? And if they do, what will be the conversion rate (will they reap off?)
I also heard the ATM accepts our ATM card - but there may be hefty fee.
Traveller's cheque? But if I have to book flights online they won't help.
I will take some Euro cash and hopefully Oz$ stays healthy for at least 2 weeks.

Those who travel frequently, or anyone, plz help!
I stopped using travellers cheques a couple of years ago, too expensive and too inconvenient.

Nowadays I use a mix of Visa card for cash advances and purchases and Travelex Cash Passport as a backup.

ATM's are readily available in France and Italy so its often easier to pull money out of a wall than to find a money exchange that doesn't want to rip you off on the rate.

TG
 

ANstar

Active Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2006
Messages
679
I always use my credit card for msot purchases and just use an ATM when I am over there. I find the charges/rates more competitive than most travelx type places
 

Commuter

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Jun 14, 2006
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I haven't used any traveller's cheque for about 10 years! I just use my card for practically everything, although I do carry some Australian Dollars in cash in case I need to exchange it into local currency.
 

Fifa

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Sep 17, 2006
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Last year we travelled in Germany, Poland and Italy and I used my Westpac eftpos card as the lady who signed us up at our local branch told us there were no fees to withdraw cash at their partner bank ie. Deutschebank. However, when we returned home and looked at our statement we found we had been duped! There was no ATM withdrawal fee but there was a conversion fee!!!

Thanks to these boards, we have obtained Wizard MasterCards and have already used them several times to pay for airfares, hotels and pay a cruise balance in the US. No fees and the exchange rate was spot on for the day. We will be loading our card up with cash before we go and will have no hesitation in using the card when we go to the US and Europe in two months.

A big thankyou to everyone on these boards and to Wizard. :D :D :D
 

clifford

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Joined
Jul 6, 2004
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1,775
Travel Guru said:
I stopped using travellers cheques a couple of years ago, too expensive and too inconvenient.
That's an interesting comment.

Too expensive? - I get mine commission free from CBA (gold Visa card).

Too inconvenient? - just go into a nominated bank and get your cash commission free too. Also, in the USA, they can be used virtually as cash, and you will get cash back as change...

(Use your CC's for purchases by all means, but don't forget the conversion fees and interest charges).

:)
 

Travel Guru

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clifford said:
That's an interesting comment.

Too expensive? - I get mine commission free from CBA (gold Visa card).

Too inconvenient? - just go into a nominated bank and get your cash commission free too. Also, in the USA, they can be used virtually as cash, and you will get cash back as change...

(Use your CC's for purchases by all means, but don't forget the conversion fees and interest charges).

:)

When I say expensive I was more referring to the ridiculous exchange rates offered by hotels and bureau's in Europe.
US is a different story where I agree TC are still quite easy to use, but when I factor the the exchange rip off in Europe, its just not worth it.

I've been to Europe twice so far this year with one more trip planned and cards have proven alot more convenient in France, Italy, Turkey, Germany, UK & Ireland.
I don't use Travelex Cash Passport alot, but keep it more as a backup for worse case scenario.

TG
 

littl_flier

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2007
Messages
898
Got a quote for Traveller's Cheques today and at least at CBA, the commission for TC's are significantly higher than Cash.

I would recommend taking enough cash for your first couple of days and then relying on your Credit Cards and/or a Cash Passport. Avoid cash advances and ATM withdrawls as these attract higher fees than the cash passport. The cash passport also gives you the benefit of locking in a FX rate before you travel. France widely accepts all Credit Cards- including AMEX but don't be surprised when everyone else uses a Chip Credit Card. I have heard that in some places if you don't have a Chip Credit Card then you will not be served. I am unsure of the truth of this however.
 

lovetravellingoz

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Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Messages
5,680
Sign up fora Wizard Mastercard..

It is free per year...and very importantly thetre is no fee per withdrawl not matter which public ATM you use....irrespective of which Bank owns it..

Prepay same $$$$$$ into it to avoid paying interest.

Have another credit card for actual credit purchases.
 

HardieBoys

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Sep 28, 2003
Messages
411
I'm another Westpac customer who discovered that whilst there's no 'foreign ATM' fee, there is a currency conversion fee to use overseas ATMs.

That said, the conversion fee is actually pretty low. On $US 200, the conversion fee is $AUD 2.44, which I think isn't too bad.

This is the blurb from the Westpac website:

Country MasterCard/Cirrus ATM network

France BNP Paribas
Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland Deutsche Bank
UK* , Africa* , Spain, France, Portugal and Gibraltar Barclays Bank
USA Bank of America
Canada, The Caribbean, Mexico, Chile ScotiaBank


Not sure about Germany as not been there for a while, but in Paris, BNP Paribas are very common.

One thing about loading up credit cards prior to travelling overseas is that if you lose them or they are scammed, then the excess cash that has been put on them may not be covered by the card company or your travel insurance: you need to check.

I'm not sure if other Australian banks have networked agreements, but it would be worth seeing if whomever you bank with has cheaper rates with certain foreign banks.
 

littl_flier

Active Member
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May 1, 2007
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898
Also, just check with the bank about putting extra cash onto the card. I was told by CBA (my Mastercard) that if I have extra cash loaded onto the card, this may trigger the computer to suspect fraud and cancel my card. Whilst I think I may have been misinformed, it wouldn't hurt to check before you withdraw the cash (because a cancelled card in a foriegn country wouldn't be much fun). A simple phone call to the bank should clarify this.
 

HardieBoys

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Sep 28, 2003
Messages
411
That's a good suggestion. I've had my card suspended whilst overseas, which was mysterious and annoying. No phone call either from my credit card provider. Despite having been to that particular destination at least 10 times in the past 2 years, the company said that it was suspended based on the destination, not my history there. I pointed out that I'd been in the same city a month before.

Since then, I've called the company before I travel, to let them know my itinerary. It's been fine since then. Actually, that reminds me, I should call them now...
 

mbeder

Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2002
Messages
210
I echo the endorsements for the Wizard MasterCard...also, in case it hasn't been mentioned before, you should carry a spare CC in case the cancellation things happens.
I also find that carrying some emergency US$ can be worthwhile, even when travelling in the EU.
 

JohnK

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Joined
Mar 22, 2005
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41,001
On my recent 5 week trip through the USA and Europe I used a Citibank readicredit card to withdraw cash from ATMs. There are no ATM fees but they do charge a foreign currency transaction fee. Overall the exchange rate is much better than what you will get at banks, cambios or other currency exchange places.
 

serfty

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HardieBoys said:
That's a good suggestion. I've had my card suspended whilst overseas, which was mysterious and annoying. No phone call either from my credit card provider. Despite having been to that particular destination at least 10 times in the past 2 years, the company said that it was suspended based on the destination, not my history there. I pointed out that I'd been in the same city a month before.

Since then, I've called the company before I travel, to let them know my itinerary. It's been fine since then. Actually, that reminds me, I should call them now...
Yep, was 'falconed' myself last October in HKG. It was caused by a 'suspicious transaction' when buying an Octopus card from the HKG Airport Express station. :-|

The financial institution left 3 messages on my home 'phone about this. Fat lot of good that did! :rolleyes:
 

straitman

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serfty said:
Yep, was 'falconed' myself last October in HKG. It was caused by a 'suspicious transaction' when buying an Octopus card from the HKG Airport Express station. :-|

The financial institution left 3 messages on my home 'phone about this. Fat lot of good that did! :rolleyes:
I've also had the same occur. CBA stopped/blocked my CC when in the USA earlier this year even after I'd advised them where I'd be. They also left messages on my home phone :evil::evil:

Had to email my daughter who rang our local manager (who we know) to sort it out :!:
 

serfty

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I was only away for 5 days; the card in question was a 'plan c' card anyway so no real issue./

I would have been an absolute PITA if I had not had other options.
 
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