Author Topic: Best Places for Currency Exchange  (Read 2859 times)

wkumtrider

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 95
Best Places for Currency Exchange
« on: February 24, 2016, 12:48:42 PM »
I tried to do a search but an error message keeps popping up.  Where is the best (cheapest) places to exchange currency?  I'm traveling to Poland this Sunday and would like to take some PLN with me.  I know the kiosks at the airport charge stupid fees so I was wondering what the mustachian folks do.  I checked with my bank and they have Euros on hand but no PLN.  Is it cheaper to exchange the money in Europe after you arrive instead of doing it before hand?  This is my first trip to Europe!  Thanks for the advice.

sistastache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2016, 01:09:45 PM »
Chase does free exchanges if you have an account. I've exchanged USD for British Pounds and Euros, then the remainder back to USD when I came home. It takes about two business days for them order the currency and make it available for pick up!

ZiziPB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3283
  • Location: The Other Side
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 01:19:26 PM »
I usually don't bother exchanging money beforehand and just use a bank ATM once I arrive in whatever country I'm traveling to make a withdrawal from my checking account in local currency.  You will get the best exchange rate that way. 

In Poland, it is also customary to exchange your money at currency exchange shops that you will see in various places in cities and towns.  They are called "Kantor" and usually have decent exchange rates.  They display their exchange rates prominently so you know what you are getting.  You will still get a better rate though by using your debit card and withdrawing from a bank ATM or using your credit card for purchases.  Just make sure your debit card or credit card doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1419
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 01:26:29 PM »
I always use ATM's while in the country. It is very convenient and I've found at least with my bank, that the rates are very reasonable. I try to avoid using the airport ATM's. My bank gives me the same rate however airports often tack on their own very high fees. When landing for the first time and not having a ride to where you are going, I do have to bite the bullet and withdraw a small amount to get me a bus, cab, train fare until I can get to an ATM in town somewhere. Unless I'm not planning on revisiting the country, I generally keep enough currency for initial fares and take home with me for my next trip. If I don't return, they make good souvenirs for kids.

wkumtrider

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 95
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 02:31:22 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I'll probably just use the local ATM when I'm in Poland. 

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28134
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 02:31:27 PM »
+1 to the "use an ATM in country, but not at the airport."
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

mskyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2016, 02:36:21 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I'll probably just use the local ATM when I'm in Poland. 

You'll be fine - I generally carry a few hundred USD for emergencies (you can pretty much always find SOMEONE who's willing to accept USD, GBP, or Euro) and use the ATM.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2016, 02:39:32 PM »
This information won't be of much help for you to get money on Sunday, but for future reference:

As for which accounts are best for withdrawing currency while abroad, there are two great forex fee free options. Both accounts have zero min balance requirements or monthly fees.

1) Charles Schwab high yield checking (haha, high yield). The associated debit card for the checking account has no forex fees for purchases or ATM transactions and also reimburses ATM fees worldwide. The reimbursements come at the end of the month. Unfortunately it is a hard pull on your credit report to open an account.
2) Fidelity's cash management account. The associated debit card for the checking account technically has a 1% forex fee for ATM transactions in the terms and conditions. But in practice, people have found that it is not charged. ATM fees are also reimbursed worldwide. The reimbursements come within a couple business days. I believe this is not a hard pull on your credit report to open. And there are a few strange quirks that I can't remember right now about this account because it's really an investment account, not a bank account (though it can be used like one). But I do remember these quirks aren't relevant to most people.

I actually have both because I learned about Schwab first, and had to open a Fidelity CMA to be able to redeem cash back on Fidelity's Amex (now becoming a Visa) at the full rate at $50 thresholds. I've never personally tried Fidelity's abroad actually, but I take both debit cards just in case I lose one (I keep one back at the hotel, one in my wallet).

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28134
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2016, 02:41:02 PM »
Yeah, the Schwab account is great.  Everyone should have one, even if they never travel overseas, just to be able to use any ATM anywhere, fee free.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

wkumtrider

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 95
Re: Best Places for Currency Exchange
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2016, 04:29:40 PM »
Thanks everyone for the advice.  I will be there for business and most of my expenses will be taken care of (transportation, hotel, flight, food, etc).  I do want to take cash however in case I can't use a cc.  I will have one day to sight-see and might want to pick a souvenir or take a bus somewhere.  I don't need (I hope) a ton of cash on me.