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Best way to exchange foreign currency?

flyalexair 1,161 232 January 17, 2011 at 11:33 PM
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I will be going overseas and I was wondering whats the best way to exchange dollars to foreign currency.

My bank charges me 14 dollar shipping fee for ordering the foreign currency but I hear that the rates at banks are usually the best.

From my understanding the foreign currency exchange kiosk at malls are the worst?

I have a capital one credit card (with no foreign transaction fee) and now just need to take some cash with me overseas. I have plenty of time to prepare. Thanks in advance! woot

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#2
All you do is get off the plane at your destination, head to the nearest ATM & withdraw cash from your account in the local currency. I've done this all over the world & have never run into a problem.
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#3
Quote from Jeffbx View Post :
All you do is get off the plane at your destination, head to the nearest ATM & withdraw cash from your account in the local currency. I've done this all over the world & have never run into a problem.
I'd imagine there are some sort of fees that you'd have to pay. I suppose it would depend on the institution.
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#4
There are fees (usually 1-3%), but it's significantly cheaper than any exchange service, which will charge from 5-15%.
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#5
Quote from Jeffbx View Post :
All you do is get off the plane at your destination, head to the nearest ATM & withdraw cash from your account in the local currency. I've done this all over the world & have never run into a problem.
Iagree
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#6
Great advice has already given. For cash, use an ATM when you get there (if you have an account with Charles Schwab there is no "convenience" fee to use any ATMs worldwide) and for everything else, you already have the best card for that - the CapitalOne with zero foreign exchange fees. Also, try to end your trip with little or no foreign money so you don't have to exchange it before you leave or when you get back because you'll get eaten up with fees. So, try to think ahead about how much money you'll really use so you use the ATM wisely.
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#7
Quote from Jeffbx View Post :
All you do is get off the plane at your destination, head to the nearest ATM & withdraw cash from your account in the local currency. I've done this all over the world & have never run into a problem.
There is a fee involved.

Quote from flyalexair View Post :
I will be going overseas and I was wondering whats the best way to exchange dollars to foreign currency.

My bank charges me 14 dollar shipping fee for ordering the foreign currency but I hear that the rates at banks are usually the best.

From my understanding the foreign currency exchange kiosk at malls are the worst?

I have a capital one credit card (with no foreign transaction fee) and now just need to take some cash with me overseas. I have plenty of time to prepare. Thanks in advance! woot
travelers checks
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#8
Quote from daniel32 View Post :
There is a fee involved.
I know, that's why I said,

Quote from Jeffbx View Post :
There are fees (usually 1-3%), but it's significantly cheaper than any exchange service, which will charge from 5-15%.
Traveler's checks are OK, but they don't work everywhere, esp. if you're going off the beaten path. Anyplace that takes a traveler's check will typically take a credit card too. You want to have some local currency for street vendors, cabs, tipping, etc. & put the big things on your credit card.
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Last edited by Jeffbx January 18, 2011 at 01:44 PM

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#9
Quote from thelok View Post :
I'd imagine there are some sort of fees that you'd have to pay. I suppose it would depend on the institution.
You shouldn't have to look hard for a bank that does 1% exchange rate fees. Wouldn't pay more than that.
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#10
Try a credit union. When I was traveling overseas to Korea, Wells Fargo and the major banks wanted 3% on visa transactions and charged ATM fees on top of whatever the ATM would charge. Local credit union offered free ATM fees plus 1% on visa. Oddly, I found some ATMs that had no fees and would tell you the conversion rate which was damn close if not exact for that day's rate. I'd stay away from the airport vendors and kiosks.

Most banks have transferring between different accounts at different banks. So, not a bad idea to use one bank for traveling and another for convenience.

CapitolOne is the only credit card company that I know of still offering no international fees as they eat the 1% from visa.
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Last edited by specialmoose January 18, 2011 at 05:11 PM
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#11
ATM all the way. It will give you a best rates with the smallest fees. Just take out large sums less frequently, because the fees are usually per transaction.

There may be some benefit to having some of the local currency on hand when you land - taxis, tips, etc. You will find plenty of forex (exchange) booths when you land. They will not give stellar rates, but you won't be changing a lot of $$ either.

Also consider that depending upon where you are going to, they may accept USD locally, especially around the airport, where foreign $$ is common. Again you will get raped on the exchange, but anything you do other than use an ATM is just to get by.

For example I am now in Shanghai and came here with about $100USD and an ATM card. When we landed there were 2 forex places where I could change $50 US or so. Later on when I came across an ATM I took out some RMB.

Lastly, check out your bank - they may have agreements with foreign banks where you can use their ATM's with better terms such as lower or no fees. I have BoA in the US and they have agreements with banks in Europe and even China, where I can take out $$ with ZERO fees.
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#12
Check out Ally bank. I just called them to see what the fees were for atm use and there are none. If you get charged any, they reimbursed you. Also, apparently if you get charged a conversion fee, they will reimbursed that as well.

Looks like they just got a new customer Big Grin
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#13
Quote from specialmoose View Post :
Check out Ally bank. I just called them to see what the fees were for atm use and there are none. If you get charged any, they reimbursed you. Also, apparently if you get charged a conversion fee, they will reimbursed that as well.

Looks like they just got a new customer Big Grin
Whoa, thanks for this! I didn't know they reimburse foreign ATMs too (and conversion fees!)?

Definite rep for this. nod
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#14
Thanks everyone for the tips.

It sounds like ATM withdrawals are the way to go here. It also sounds like ALLY bank is the way to go as well. haha. It might be my "traveling account" when I travel overseas or to vegas. hahaha. Thanks for the tips everyone.
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#15
Quote from flyalexair View Post :
Thanks everyone for the tips.

It sounds like ATM withdrawals are the way to go here. It also sounds like ALLY bank is the way to go as well. haha. It might be my "traveling account" when I travel overseas or to vegas. hahaha. Thanks for the tips everyone.
Yeah, I think I may use them as my daily bank and use my existing account at a major bank for just transferring funds/depositing funds. Only reason I even use the mega corporate bank is because of the number of atm's they have in my city. However, no atm fees? You kidding me? I can withdraw from strip clubs with their $5 fee's without penalty!
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