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Money advice for Canadian travellers

27 Sep 2006 taotor said

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1. ATM withdrawals

TD Canada Trust charges CAN $5 per withdrawal when you use your debit card at a European ATM. (I would assume other Canadian banks charge about the same.) Remember there may be a daily limit. In my case, the limit is 300 Euros per day (Within Canada my limit is $200)


2. Travellers cheques
Very bad idea to get travellers cheques. But if you really want to bring some, here's some tips:

* With TD Canada Trust, if you have a Gold Visa card, you can buy American Express travellers cheques commission-free.

* The best place to encash your travellers cheques is American Express offices. It's commission free. But their business hours are shorter than Canadian banks and you may expect to see long lineups.

* This web site can help you find the AmEx offices:
http://www134.americanexpress.com/travel/CTNWTServlet?request_type=tsofinder

* There's an AmEx office besides the Imperial Hotel in London:
156A Southampton Row
Holborn
London , UK WC1B 5AY
+44 (20) 78374416

* The Travelex foreign exchange near Victoria Hotel in Amsterdam charges 2.75% plus another 2.75 Euro commission fee.

* UK Post Offices only encash travellers cheques in British pounds

* A souvenir store in St Goar, Germany charges a 2-Euro commission per cheque.

* Banks, at least Deutsche Bank in Germany and ABN Amro in the Netherlands, don't encash travellers cheques

* Stores generally don't accept travellers cheques. The only place that does during my trip is a Swarovski crystal store in Innsbruck, Austria.


3. Cash
* For optional excursions, your tour manager only accepts cash payment. So make sure you set aside enough cash.
* If you bring back unused cash back to Canada, be aware that Canadian banks refuse to accept small amount of foreign currencies. You have to go to small foreign exchange stores to change it back to Canadian dollars.
  • 28 Sep 2006 CindyCanuck said

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    I opened a TD account before I left in August. I used the $25 account that gave me unlimited withdrawls. Make sure that you tell the person opening the account that you’ll only need it for one month and then you’ll be closing it out. They should wave the $15 early closing fee. If not, transfer it to a $3.5 value account for the next 2 months.

    I took out money almost every other day as to never have more than $100 on me at one time. I withdrew about 10 times (or more) so $25 (or $32 if you need to trade down to a value) for unlimited access to your money was a deal than $5 a pop plus account fee.

    I knew I’d take out money at least 5 times, so for me the $25 was worth it.

  • 28 Sep 2006 Leanne_in_Ontario said

    Leanne_in_Ontario

    TD sounds like a good plan. I’m looking at going to London/Paris/Rome. Is it easy to find ATM’s around? Because I’d prefer to use the ATM’s but I don’t want to be stuck.

  • 29 Sep 2006 CindyCanuck said

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    ATMs are everywhere. They’re usually just in the side of a wall in between store fronts. There are banks everywhere too. If you’re looking for money, just look for a store front that looks like a bank, it usually is one.

    Make sure your bank card has a 4 digit pin, and ask your bank to issue you a back-up card to hide in your suitcase in case you lose the first. Also bring your credit card. You can’t use your bank card in stores but you can use your credit card. ie, that $70 jacket you just have to have, ;-).

    I used TD because I wanted an account that was seperate from the rest of my finances. I’m sure other banks have similar accounts too, but this one worked for me.

  • 29 Sep 2006 CindyCanuck said

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    Oh, I also converted some money before I left. I wanted $100 GBP and $100 Euro. Don’t be shocked when tell you how much is coming out of your account. It was about $350 CAD for that $200. The pound is insane, watch your spending in London if you can.

  • 29 Sep 2006 Leanne_in_Ontario said

    Leanne_in_Ontario

    Yikes, 350? That’s gotta make you cry just a bit inside – haha!

    I was thinking of picking up some gb pounds and euros just to keep on me and use the bank when I can. I’ve heard London is expensive.

    Thanks for the great advice!

  • 2 Oct 2006 taotor said

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    I forgot to mention that there’s a foreign currency conversion fee with most Canadian credit cards. (With BMO, it’s called Foreign Currency Markup).

    It’s typically 2.5% on every transaction you make in Europe.

  • 14 Mar 2007 Ashley-L said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by CindyCanuck:
    I opened a TD account before I left in August. I used the $25 account that gave me unlimited withdrawls. Make sure that you tell the person opening the account that you’ll only need it for one month and then you’ll be closing it out. They should wave the $15 early closing fee. If not, transfer it to a $3.5 value account for the next 2 months.



    So the person at the bank didn’t ask you why you were opening the account for only and didn’t give you any hassle? I’m thinking about doing this as well, but i’m still on the fence about it.

  • 14 Mar 2007 megsalex112 said

    megsalex112
    quote:
    Originally posted by taotor:
    I forgot to mention that there’s a foreign currency conversion fee with most Canadian credit cards. (With BMO, it’s called Foreign Currency Markup).

    It’s typically 2.5% on every transaction you make in Europe.




    I am a little confused about what this means? I have a BMO credit card that I am bringing with me and would love to understand this concept. Last time I was in Europe was 9 years ago and I only brought travellers cheques so this foreign money ATM buisness is a tad confusing to me.
    Please enlighten me,
    Thanks, Megs

  • 14 Mar 2007 ptooma said

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    surchrge … commission … conversion fee … all the same. Almost nothing is free. When u used your TC’s before, there was a small surchage for the currency exchange; same applies for ATM withdrawls.

    - Vic

  • 14 Mar 2007 taotor said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by megsalex112:
    quote:
    Originally posted by taotor:
    I forgot to mention that there’s a foreign currency conversion fee with most Canadian credit cards. (With BMO, it’s called Foreign Currency Markup).

    It’s typically 2.5% on every transaction you make in Europe.




    I am a little confused about what this means? I have a BMO credit card that I am bringing with me and would love to understand this concept. Last time I was in Europe was 9 years ago and I only brought travellers cheques so this foreign money ATM buisness is a tad confusing to me.
    Please enlighten me,
    Thanks, Megs


    Let’s say you’re going to make a purchase with your BMO credit card in Europe. Based on the exchange rate on the day of the transaction, it equals $100 Canadian. However, when the transaction is posted to your credit card account, your bank adds a 2.5% surcharge. So the amount charged to your card will be $102.5

    This surcharge won’t be listed explicitly on your credit card statement. That’s why many people don’t know such a surcharge exists.

  • 15 Mar 2007 Ashley-L said

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    I’ve decided that opening a TD account is just too much of a hassle. I’m with royal bank and they have pretty much the same package, except it’s $30/month, so i think that i’ll pay the extra $5 and stay with my own bank. I’m sure that i’ll use ATM’s enough in europe to make up for the price anyways

  • 15 Mar 2007 Ashley-L said

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    oh you mean an extra card in case you lose yours? I used to work for royal bank and i can understand why they wouldn’t do that. Each card they give you is numbered and you can’t have more than one in use at a time. Usually the deal is that if you lose your card, you have to go to your branch for them to issue you a temporary one. I highly doubt that i’ll be losing my debit card so i’m not worried about that knocks on wood

    If you’re very concerned about this, then maybe you should open an account at another bank. Personally, i find that too much of a hassle though

  • 16 Mar 2007 MissTiffy said

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    I work for Scotiabank, and we don’t give out spare bankcards either.

    As for service fees, I know Scotia is partnered with a few banks in Europe, and there are no withdrawal fees with BNP Paribas in France, Barclays in the UK, and Deutsche Bank in Germany and Italy…though I’m sure the standard conversion fees apply.

  • 16 Mar 2007 megsalex112 said

    megsalex112

    Hey all,
    Just my 2 cents on this second card thing, in my experience, if you loose your bank card the first thing you do is cancel it to save your account and the money in it. I think that if i were to loose my card in Europe I would do the same thing and just have a back up account or my credit cards to allow me to continue my travels. I would be concerned that whereever my card had gotten to would be in the hands of someone and I wouldnt want to take that chance.

    -Megs

  • 16 Mar 2007 Cat_in_Canada said

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    I have accounts in 2 different banks (TD and RBC), so 2 different bank cards. Wink<!--graemlin:;)-->

    I still have to swing by my banks and speak with them about overseas transactions. Ugh, I hate banking.

  • 17 Mar 2007 taotor said

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    quote:
    Originally posted by getbak:
    Also, Canadian credit cards convert all foreign currencies to US$ first, then to CDN$. Unfortunately, this means we lose twice in the conversion.



    This is no longer the case with Euros and pounds. It was like that a couple of years ago. Now they get converted directly to Canadian dollars.

    Some other currencies, such as the Chinese yuan, are still converted to US$ first, then to Cdn$.

  • 11 Jun 2007 Irene K said

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    Hey guys,

    Anyone know about ATM availability in Spain? Are there plenty around and are they good to use if i need to take out money from my Canadian bank account?

    I’m a customer at CIBC and i heard that as long as your PIN number isn’t more than 4 digits you can take out money no problem…

    Can anyone verify if this is true?

    Thanks for the help!

  • 11 Jun 2007 Kelsey said

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    Maybe it’s just my bank, but CIBC doesn’t seem to work well in other countries. I tried it in the US and it didnt work!

  • 12 Jun 2007 Doll-Doll said

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    Hey ALl,
    I’m heading to Greece in a few weeks for the Island Hopping Tour and I was planning on doing as everyone tells me, just bring my bank card and take money out that way. But Kelly you bring up a great point about your CIBC card not working well.
    I’m wondering people that have been to Greece, or Europe for that matter which banks do you have accounts with that you know work forsure in Europe because I don’t want to get there and my card not work. So I’m wondering if I should open an account with another bank. (If your wondering, I’m with Bank of Montreal). Any suggestions would be great. Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->
    Jennifer

  • 13 Jun 2007 Gillian said

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    Wow there’s some good points here! Here’s my 2 cents. Stay away from traveller’s cheques, they can be a pain to cash. There are ATMs everywhere in Europe, much like North America. In my experience service charges are sometimes lower if you withdraw at a European bank machine, rather than one in a store. My royal bank card has always worked well in Europe.

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