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cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

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Texas
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cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Hello, I will be travelling to Spain in June/July and am seeing the euro skyrocket versus the dollar. I am thinking it might just go higher and higher because of oil prices increasing.

I am thinking about converting some dollars now to euros and am trying to see what the best option to do that is. Do most banks let you do that? Or would I have to go to the airport?

Any other way to convert?

Thanks,

Ray

Basking Ridge, New...
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1. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Many banks let you order Euros through them directly, from your savings account. So, for example, if you want 500 euros, your bank will get that for you, debiting your savings or checking the equivalent amount in dollars.

Bank of America definately does this ( I did this when I went to Greece last year). And it's generally free of charge (at least it is at BofA).

Barcelona, Spain
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2. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Don't go to the airport!! From what I've seen the airport exchange booths have the absolute worst exchange rates anywhere (mind-blowingly bad)

Paris, France
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3. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

I did a little research after reading your post. I checked the exchange rates offered by Travelex and ezForex and IMO they both offered terrible exchange rates. Yesterday they were $1.51 and $1.56 (the actual exchange rate yesterday was about $1.42). I'm not sure if their rates are similar to what a bank would charge.

It's been years since I "bought" any Euros - have been using ATMs and am accustomed to their favorable exchange rates.

San Diego
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4. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Wells Fargo bank has better rates than the Forex etc but noone will give you the rate you see on Google. Even from an ATM you might start out with that rate but there are always some fees that bump it up.

Today Wells Fargo is charging 1.49 .IF you have an account there you do not have to pay any other fees for the euros. IF you do not have an account I think you pay an extra $8 so that does not make sense.

The BEST way to get euros is to use an ATM card that does not charge fees and withdraw euros while in Europe.

Texas
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5. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Thanks. Ive done a litttle bit more research myself. With bankof america, could buy euros at 1.49 ahead of time or could get cash or charge in europe itself and it is either 1% or 3 % markup after what visa or mastercard charge to convert, which can be found here

…visa.com/pd/…consumer_ex_results.jsp

at 3%, ended up being 1.47 or so dollars to the euro, so slightly cheaper.

Im travelling with a big group and a couple thousand euros for apts, so thought it may be worth converting now and knowing what we need to pay vs waiting till june and end up with a bad surprise

Paris, France
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6. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

rayjr75,

If you need a large amount of cash you may want to get the Euros ahead of time.

Most ATM machines have a daily limit, and your bank will probably have a daily limit for withdrawals too.

I've seen ATMs with limits as low as $100 - especially in high-trafffic areas. And a $300 limit would not be unusual. This is not specific to Barcelona, just my general experience.

Chicago, Il
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7. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Ray-

Check with your bank the max amount you can withdraw each day while in Spain. I was at o'hare last week and I watched a woman exhange USD to EUR at 1.62 for $1000. They told her is she would change in $1000 they would not charge a processing fee. But in fact she lost $210 by using that rate instead of waiting for a ATM in Spain. We just waited until we got to Spian for Euros. There are ATM's in baggage claim at BCN. Also I found a bank in Barcleona that has ATM's inside to withdraw cash. trip report -

<http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187497-i44-k4347381-March_rip_report_Barcelona-Barcelona_Catalonia.html>

My advice just get enough for the taxi or bus ride to your hotel - good luck!

Paris, France
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8. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Maybe some of the locals are familiar with the specific limits at the ATMs in Barcelona.

And while it's a good idea to know what limit your bank has for withdrawals, it won't matter if the specific ATM machine has a lower limit. I would also check to see what your bank's fees are for foreign ATM withdrawals.

I was able to get around the ATM limit in Buenos Aires by doing 2 separate withdrawals at the same ATM. Not sure if this will always work though.

As I mentioned earlier, I've used ATMs exclusively to get cash for the last 10+ years. I prefer it over carrying a lot of cash and you deinitely get the best exchange rates.

Aubrey, Texas
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9. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Unless you think you're qualified to become a currency trader, don't sweat the exchange rate. It will be what it will be when you travel. The euro is strong now, but it was weak last summer and may be again when you travel. Who knows? The Greece/Portugal/Spain debt crisis is lurking in the background. Germany, France and others don't want to guarantee the "Club Med" countries' debts. Even Warren Buffet says the euro may blow up. Get some euros if it makes you feel better, but with the understanding it may turn out to be a bad deal.

Texas
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10. Re: cheapest way to convert dollars to euros in the US

Thanks. I think I will just wait and see what happens