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Old 07-12-2008, 09:36 AM   #1
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Talking ATMs, cash, and credit cards?

What's the best way to keep money while in Europe? I'll be in Germany for 3 months, and I don't know if I should get traveler's checks, draw cash out of an ATM, or just deal with conversion fees on my credit card?

Thanks in advance for your advice!
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:47 AM   #2
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I was in Europe 2 weeks and used my credit/debit card (which isn't really a credit card, it takes it out of my checking account), then went to ATMs to get cash or to a currency exchange place (usually if I'd just arrived into a new country). you will need cash at some point though, that is a definite FOR SURE.

sometimes, in my experience, it's hard to find a place to cash a traveler's check if you're on the road but that's just me. there ARE plenty of places, I guess maybe I didn't notice them as much since I didn't use them.

my advice is whatever you do, if you need cash, don't used your credit card in the ATM (as in a real credit card, not a bank card) because the fees for a cash withdrawal SUCK...at home or abroad.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:36 AM   #3
 
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Yeah, know what your fees are. But the best exchange rates will come from ATMs. Bureau de Changes usually can be competitive, but charge either extra pennies on the dollar, or a service fee(or both).

Most ATMs are free nowadays. For instance HSBC/Natwest in London were free on their end, but my bank charged a dollar. So not a bad deal in the end.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:49 AM   #4
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^ yeah definitely know your fees.

I called both banks I bank with prior to leaving to tell them I was going out of the country and asked about ATM fees, etc.

I also took both banks' numbers with me in case something happened. One bank gave me a US number I could call collect if there was an emergency. So it's def worth it to just take 10 min out to call the bank.
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:01 AM   #5
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Whos your bank SGR? My bank charges $2 per withdrawal. I only get a little bit of money when I go to the ATM so I go alot.

Best way to go is using your ATM/debit card to get money from a checking acct. And def notify the banks you're leaving the country. However this may not stop them from freezing your checking account on suspicions of fraud. I'm looking at you BB&T.

Last edited by Elizabeth; 07-12-2008 at 11:04 AM. Reason: to answer the OP's question
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:08 AM   #6
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My bank only charges me a minimal exchange fee when using my debit/atm card in foreign atms. I'm with Huntington bank.

I had to use my credit card to get cash once in Costa Rica because the only bank in the small city I was in only accepted Master Card (my debit/atm card is a Visa). Not only was I charged an exchange fee, but a cash advance fee & a finance charge (which started compounding as of the minute I took the money). DO NOT use your credit card as an atm card (if you can avoid it)- it will COST you!
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:39 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizz View Post
Whos your bank SGR? My bank charges $2 per withdrawal. I only get a little bit of money when I go to the ATM so I go alot.

Best way to go is using your ATM/debit card to get money from a checking acct. And def notify the banks you're leaving the country. However this may not stop them from freezing your checking account on suspicions of fraud. I'm looking at you BB&T.
It's my universities credit union, Ball State Federal Credit Union. They made us use it for our abroad trip for thats how they got our stipend for food.
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:19 PM   #8
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travellers cheques aren't that great for europe, banks charge mega bucks to change them. Just stick to credit card and atm
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