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what's a good exchange rate?

Travel Forums Europe what's a good exchange rate?

1. Posted by bvheide (Budding Member 20 posts) 10y

My wife and I are leaving for a month in Europe in 2 days. We weren't quite as "on the stick" as we should've been, so we only got around to ordering a few Euros lately. We found a bank in our hometown that has euros on hand and charges the exchange rate plus 5%.

Is that too much? Should we wait until we get to New York and exchange euros in the airport...or should we wait until Amsterdam?

Has anyone got any idea what a good fee for exchanging USD to EUR is?

Thanks in advance!

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

Seems much to me. For current exchange rates, check any currency converter on the web; they give reliable indications. A commission (if that's what you call it in English) of 5% seems rather high to me.

However, entering Europe without any euros would not be a good idea. No shop accepts USD, and if they do, their exchange rate will definitely be a lot worse than anything any bank would offer you. If you have a debit card, you can easily withdraw euros at the airport, cash machines usually give the best rates anyway. Alternatively, you could change some money at the GWK/money exchange at the airport, or the bank located there (ABN/AMRO).

have fun,
Niels (Amsterdam)

3. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

Just to follow up on what Niels mentioned (which are all good points). 5% seems like an awful lot to me too. I think I get charged 0.5% on top of whatever is the exchange rate that day when I use an ATM overseas. Some ATM's/banks also have a flat fee which comes on top of this. Personally, I'd wait till I was at the airport and try an ATM there. Often the ATM's at airports will give bills in different popular currencies, including the euro. Otherwise, after you land there are a few money changing points scattered around Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport. I've never actually compared the rates at say the departing and arriving airport, but I imagine they aren't too different for popular currencies like this...

4. Posted by Jase007 (Travel Guru 8870 posts) 10y

ATM's are great for convenience, so you only take out the cash as you require it (no more wandering around with a big wedge of cash to lose or spend). Most banks charge you per transaction on taking the money out though (in the UK this varies between £0 [Nationwide] to £4-8 [Natwest]) but the exchange rates are usually ok. So if you do use the debit cards (maestro/cirus/delta), don't take lots of little amounts, take a reasonable amount out as it will cost you less (as long as you don't go overboard).

You can spend a lot of time hunting down the best rate, this is only any good if you have plenty of time.

American Express and Thomas Cook also do Travellers Cards, instead of the old cheques you have a debit like card that you charge up.

I've found that my credit cards do pretty good on the rate, just don't use them for cash (as they charge interest from the day wou withdrawl) just purchases.

Hope this helps.
Have a great time
Jase

5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

I'd wait and use the ATM at the airport when you land. Get enough cash to cover little expenses for a few days, and then use your credit card whenever possible. They give you the exchange rate of the day, plus there's no fees to pay - unlike using an ATM. I try to carry as little cash as possible, just in case, and this way has always got me through just fine.

6. Posted by pacon (Budding Member 6 posts) 10y

Quoting tway

I'd wait and use the ATM at the airport when you land. Get enough cash to cover little expenses for a few days, and then use your credit card whenever possible. They give you the exchange rate of the day, plus there's no fees to pay - unlike using an ATM. I try to carry as little cash as possible, just in case, and this way has always got me through just fine.

I 100% agree! The exchange rate now is pretty bad for Americans. As of today the exchange looks like this; 1 Euro = 1.2869 U.S. dollars. Also the plural of Euro is Euro without sounding anal:)