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WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

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Chicago, Illinois
posts: 2
WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

See other reviewers that have had similar experiences. We have experienced this only in Florence,

in the busy tourist shopping district steer clear of the "Best Price " "Cambio" change storefronts do a bait and switch on the commission. The price posted is for "thousand" dollar unit and the fee charged is 19.90 % . They will refuse to stop the transaction.

There is A STOREFRONT at the NORTH foot of the PONTE VECCHIO . IT STATES "BEST RATE" OR "BEST PRICE"

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Rome, Amalfi
posts: 27,858
reviews: 10
1. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

These are rip off places everywhere; always stay away from them. Best way to get currency is through ATM/debit machines.

Good to have another reminder though so others hopefully don't use them.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 1,151
reviews: 8
2. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

You should only change currency at a bank or an official forex store when overseas to avoid these issues. Further, you should try to only use an ATM affliated with the bank in your home currency in order to avoid the additional fees charged by your bank. For example, I can avoid the $5 ATM fee in Italy if I withdraw from a Deustche Bank.

Italy
Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
posts: 39,242
reviews: 139
3. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

Thanks for posting this warning for others due to travel to Florence soon.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 1,151
reviews: 8
4. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

I would also advise using ATMs in areas that are less densely populated by tourists if possible. ATM fraud is just about everywhere these days so you should keep an eye on your account onlind to ensure that your card details havent been swipped when you put the card into the machine. Doesnt happen all the time but something to be aware of when travelling (and even in your own country).

Castellina in...
posts: 2,862
reviews: 8
5. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

Unfortunately, the money change places in Florence have been a major ripoff for at least the past 40 years. No one understands why they haven't been reigned in or simply shut down. Since the advent of ATMs, no one should have recourse to these Cambio places. Note that many banks use ATMs to charge hefty fees as well - work out your strategy in advance. Probably credit cards are the best way to go.

…blogspot.it/2011/11/best-way-to-buy-euros-i…

6. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

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Florence
posts: 1,144
reviews: 36
7. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

It is worth noting that none of this is exclusive to Florence.

I don't know anywhere in Europe - or anywhere else - where little store-front "Bureau de Change" are not total rip-offs.

There simply is no alternative now to using ATMs to change ordinary amounts of money.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 1,151
reviews: 8
8. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

I dont know if the USA has something similar to this, but in Australia you can buy a debit card from Australia Post which locks in the exchange rate before you travel. For example, I can put $1000 aussie dollars on the card and it will change it into Euro at the exchange rate that I purchased the card. Hence I can benefit from a good exchange rate without carrying a whole lot of cash and not incur additional fees when I withdraw from ATM as the money is already in Euro.

Rome, Italy
posts: 460
reviews: 18
9. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

Turkey in first place and Russia in second place are two locations where the spread (the difference between buy and sell) is minimal. In Turkey (Istanbul) they usually announce "no commission" so you are getting a more or less good deal; in Russia, the commission is usually equivalent to about one euro. But apart from them it is the general rule in Europe, including Florence, that you will be royally ripped off. I always cringe when I see people changing money at these places in Florence with spreads that would make your hair stand on end before you even get into the matter of the fact that they advertise the price only if you are changing an enormous sum of money. In Prague they love to advertise just one sum, and you think it looks good, before you realise that this is the sell amount and not the buy exchange rate (or vice versa). The rule is to follow the above advice and use your credit cards or the ubiquitous ATMs. These bureaux de change places are daylight robbery - and the staff do not seem to pleasant either (I saw one tourist even call a policemen over to settle a dispute he was having with the people next to the Baptistery).

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 58,099
reviews: 11
10. Re: WARNING !! be careful when chaiging currency in Florence !

>> in Australia you can buy a debit card from Australia Post which locks in the exchange rate before you travel<<

These pre-loaded cards sold in Australia and USA are very poor value for money. They are not as bad as rip-off exchange shops, but they do have poor exchange rates and/or high fees. There are much better ways of getting money when overseas.

>>In Turkey (Istanbul) they usually announce "no commission" so you are getting a more or less good deal<<

"No commission" is usually just another way of saying "poor exchange rate". Everyone who changes money wants to make a profit from it, although in Turkey they are happy with a smaller profit than in Florence.