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credit, debit or cash??

georgia
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credit, debit or cash??

Does anyone have suggestions on how to handle the money situation? I can get euros before I leave home, and I have credit and debit cards. I don't know which would be most economical as I was under the impression that you will get different rates according to where you convert the money. Is that accurate?

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SFpeninsula
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2,220 posts
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1. Re: credit, debit or cash??

Good thought about bring some euros to Paris for your

first day or two.

I have a Bank of America Visa debit card that I used

to obtain Euros from BNP ATM machines. That'a about

the best deal around.

Thornbury, Ontario...
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2. Re: credit, debit or cash??

I had a similar thought. Would not a day or two's worth of cash be a good idea, along with A.E. Travellers cheques? And then ATM/Visa for all other purchases?

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: credit, debit or cash??

We've usually pick up $100-$200 in Euros and just use our debit and credit cards. ATMs are everywhere and the exchange rate is the bank exhange rate. You will get abouta $3.00 fee each time you use the ATM through. Or at least we did when we were in Italy in Spetember 2004.

Calgary, Alberta
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4. Re: credit, debit or cash??

Thornbury, travellers cheques are rapidly reaching the point of being obsolete. If you don't have an account with ScotiaBank, open one of their savings accounts where the fees are dirt cheap and deposit a lot of your spending cash there. Scotia is affiliated with BNP Paribas in France, Barclay's in England and the Bank of America in the US, so if you use those ATMs you won't be charged a fee. If you plan to do any amount of international travel, I think it would be worth it to have this extra savings account. I happen to have one and will take about 100 euros with me, but will use bank machines for virtually everything else.

Visa charges anywhere from 1-3.5% on top of their exchange rate depending on the bank your card is issued through. Look into this and make sure you're clear on their charges and are willing to pay the extra for the convenience of credit card use overseas.

Oh, and most importantly, tell your bank (and Visa!) that you're going! Tell them where and the month you'll be there otherwise you could end up with a nasty surprise when the bank freezes your cards thinking they've been stolen and are being used fraudulently (my banks have warned me about this).

SFpeninsula
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5. Re: credit, debit or cash??

The point that MuskateersPlus 2 makes regarding

notifying your bank and credit card company

the dates and locations you will be travelling

internationally is essential. And forget the

travellers cheques, ATM is your best and

richest friend in France.

Kensington, MD...
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6. Re: credit, debit or cash??

Yes, be sure to let you credit card issuers know about your travels. Arrive in Paris with about 100 euros in cash. This isn't a lot and don't spend too much time trying to figure out where you can save $20. If you want to buy 100 euros, you can do it at the airport before you depart. Yes, the exchange rate will be crappy, but just chalk it up to the cost of going on vacation. Once you arrive in Paris, rely exclusively on ATMs, as they offer the best rates. VISA/MasterCard can be economical too, depending upon your provider. Call your provider and ask them how much they charge for purchases in foreign currencies. Some banks don't charge anything, and others have exorbitant fees (see previous threads before asking detailed questions on this subject). If it's a reasonable fee, use your credit card liberally :)

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: credit, debit or cash??

i don't see the point in doing the conversion prior to going to europe... CDG has both Amex currency exchanges, and ATM's readily accessible as you get off the plane.....

one thing to note: when I was at CDG, I noticed at least 2 currency exchanges... they were both AmEx exchange locations, but the second one had better rates than the one I saw right next to the baggage pickup... i guess its to get the suckers who are in a hurry to to switch money... (also, the one by the baggage pickup had a 5-10 person line, whereas the other guy was just sitting there).

Also, there is a sign on the Amex currency exchange that you can sell back at the same rate you bought at.. not sure of the details on this... i imagine there is some sort of comission figured in too, and that's probably lost.

Calgary, Alberta
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8. Re: credit, debit or cash??

Oh, there was another thing...

I bought UK pounds at the bank (Scotia) the other day and thinking that they would have euros because I was at the main branch, I asked about that rate too. I would have had to order them and pay the courier fee to have them sent in from Toronto.

BUT after he pointed out that there was an exchange across the street (and I whined about the commission), he gave a card that allows me to go to this exchange and have the fee waived because I'm a ScotiaBank customer. If you're a planner like me (I don't leave for another 5 months!), it could be worth looking into if your bank has a similar arrangement wtih an exchange bureau in your city.

USA
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9. Re: credit, debit or cash??

The only cashyou might want to pre-purchase and bring with you is perhaps 100 Euros to use as '..arrival/convenience..' cash for airport trnassfer fares, tips, sundries until you get to your hotel in Paris. Once in Paris, ATMs are everywhere and the best way to get walkin' around cash. Use a major credit card or ATM/Debit card for the purchase of as many goods and services as possible.

Exchange rates shouldn't change significantly from one location to another with the same card.

There are ATMs at CDG which will provide you with a better rate than if you purchased the Euros in the US but you would have to seek them out in a strange airport and perhaps wait in line behind many other newly arrived passengers to use one. In addition to this, though it happens infrequently, ATMs do break down. Bringing along immediate 'arrival/convenience' Euros just speeds and eases the transition.

The only time you should bring Traveler's Checks is to use as '..emergency/back-up..' funds...should '..all the wheels come off your wagon at once..'. Since TCs are free to AAA members and at many local banks, get them in US dollar denominations. This way, if you arrive back home without needing them, they redeposit into your account easily--no exchange rate hit purchasing them originally and no second exchange rate hit converting them back into dollars from Euros.

As several others have WISELY advised, be sure to notify your credit card company(s) and local bank that you will be using your cards abroad so that their internal security protocols don't misinterpret your unusual useage as potentially fraudulent and shut-off access to your accounts.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: credit, debit or cash??

Don't worry about Traveler's checks and finding money etc.. You can get Euros at the airport or on most street corners if you just use an ATM. France is a more credit/debit card oriented society than we are. ATMs all over the place even in the smallest towns. Your visa and m'cards work fine, even AE althought some places would prefer visa/MC over AE. If you use a atm you generally are getting a decent rate. Not to worry about this. Wouldn't even bother going to a bank. Its just like shopping at the Lenox Plaza. Just take out your credit card and smile.