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Currency Guide for EU TripsPosted On: 04/02/2019
Most European countries have adopted the Euro. However, a few of them treat Euro as a foreign currency - the Swiss Franc, for instance, is the local currency in Switzerland - and as a traveler, you would be asking yourself, what’s the best way to carry money while on your travels?
Today, we will explore the best way to carry money in Europe. We will discuss the different currencies in use and see how you can wisely navigate through it all.
Countries that Use the Euro
Out of 28 countries in the EU, 19 use the Euro. The countries include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
Countries with their Own Currency
You cannot directly use Euros in some countries and have to exchange them for the local currency. These countries include Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Some countries in Europe also accept the US dollar such as Greece. But it’s not always wise to pay in dollars as you might be getting an unfavorable exchange rate. Also, there might be fees and charges associated with the transaction.
So it’s best to use the local money. Just make sure you are aware of the European currencies exchange rate.
Withdrawing Money from ATMs
You will find plenty of ATMs in Europe to withdraw money. Your ATM card needs to have a 4 digit numerical PIN to work, and you can also get the exact exchange rate through an ATM.
The bank may charge you a flat withdrawal fee for using their services and can range between $1 and $5. Sometimes they also charge a small percentage of 1% to 2% on the withdrawal. You can cut back some of the fees by withdrawing large amounts when your bank charges a flat fee.
- Some cards come with low conversion charges though you need to pay an ATM transaction fee.
- Capital One doesn’t charge you a currency conversion fee but levies $1.50 per transaction.
- Citibank charges the same transaction fee and comes with a conversion fee of 2%.
- Bank of America charges $5 per withdrawal and 1% for currency conversion.
Always try to go for ATMs owned by banks. It’s best to avoid the third-party ATMs as they can have higher fees.
Student Cards with Travel Rewards
Surprisingly, the vast majority of the students have never heard of cards like Discover It or Deserve Pro Mastercard. Although the benefits they offer can be gained only while traveling abroad, they are still worth having. Just imagine: you get rewarded for necessary trip-related expenses such as gas and food. Besides, someone who has 3.0+ GPA will get an additional $20 statement credit each year.
Credit Card vs Cash Usage
Your credit card suffers from the same security issues such as frauds by copying your card. So it may be best to use cash in shady places.
The European credit cards use the Chip-and-pin technology, and many American cards are not accepted. You can also face difficulties using self-service machines without a suitable card. Also, many times the cards end up denied in access or rejected causing frustration. You may also have to pay a fee of 7% to 8% for being billed in your home currency.
You can use prepaid debit cards, but you have to pay so many charges- one time for getting the card, adding money to it, while cashing it out- it really doesn’t make a sense! You also have to pay fees for using the card.
Traveler’s cheques have become obsolete and very few places accept them. You also have to pay the fees and stand in long bank queues! It’s not at all practical for frequent transactions.
Backup Money: Carry Extra Cash & Card
It’s always wise to carry a few credit cards so that you don’t end up being stranded when you lose one. You can also close or cancel a card in case of fraud, and it’s best to keep alternatives. Do note though that your credit cards could incur a significant foreign transaction fee of up to 3% or even more.
Carrying the local currency, thus, works better, more so as not all places accept cards. You can keep one or two $100 in your pocket for emergencies. The stores or shops may not accept it, but you can always exchange it in money exchange offices.
Elizabeth Price is a freelance writer interested in education, marketing, and business-related topics. A former Psychology student of Montclair State University, she is particularly interested in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Currently expanding her horizon by undertaking a journalism course in New York, she regularly works for this company providing essay help. Despite being kept quite busy with work and family, she still finds the time to enjoy long walks on the beach with her dog to relax. You reach her on Twitter or send her an e-mail.
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