Avoid Being Ripped Off at the Currency Exchange Counter
A currency exchange service will be the most important thing that you could use when traveling from one country to the next. After all, you can’t use an American or Canadian dollar in Germany or France. However, many currency exchange places will prey on tourists and rip them off of their money.
These currency exchange places will do this by forcing huge fees onto people who need to exchange currencies. Some places will even charge you at least ten percent of whatever you’re exchanging. This makes it harder for you to actually enjoy your trip into a new country as you won’t have the money to spend for it.
Order Your Money in Advance
One idea for avoiding rip-offs is to get your currency ordered in advance. This is where you can place an order with a currency exchange center in the country you’ll be visiting. You can place this order to where you will bring a certain amount of money in at a given time and you’ll get a certain amount in a new currency back.
This order will involve a lower exchange fee because you will have gotten your transaction done in advance. For example, you might contact a bank that is affiliated with American Express ahead of time to place a currency order a few weeks in advance. Your currency exchange fee could go down by three to five percent depending on the place you go to.
Always Avoid the Airport
While the currency exchange stations at airports are always very convenient, you could end up being hurt big time by those places. They tend to charge the highest possible fees because they know they’re more convenient places to go to for exchanging money than other spots like banks.
Airports tend to charge more out of convenience and in some cases are going to charge more simply to make sure that they avoid running out of certain currencies. The need to avoid getting into this airport is particularly necessary so you know what you can do when you’re trying to find a way to keep from losing money.
Consider Taking Travelers Cheques
The use of travelers cheques is always useful because it helps you to avoid being ripped off at the currency exchange table. This allows a person to make an unconditional payment to someone in another currency. This often simplifies the process of paying someone for something and also secures the owner because it is very easy to replace a cheque in the event that it is lost or stolen.
American Express and the Thomas Cook Group have long been synonymous with traveler’s cheques. You can find many of these from those parties but as you will see in the next section, it might be easier to use a credit card instead.
What Cards Have No Fees?
One way to avoid being ripped off is to avoid going to a currency exchange center altogether and to simply use your credit card if you have something that has no exchange fees attached to it. Many credit card companies will offer no currency exchange fees on international transactions. For example, Capital One and Bank of America both have card options that don’t have currency exchange fees attached to them. Check and see what the terms on your card are and if you can find something that won’t have a fee attached to it.
Don’t Forget ATM Member Banks
One related solution to avoid rip-offs is to watch for affiliate banks that you could get in touch with. Your current bank might have affiliates that will allow you to use your ATM card in ATMs in other currencies with little to no fees.
However, the specific ATMs that you can use can vary based on your original bank and where you are. For example, Wells Fargo customers can use their Wells Fargo ATM cards in any Visa-branded ATM around the world. Meanwhile, Bank of America is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, thus meaning that you can use your card with any other ATM from a bank in the same alliance. These include banks like Scotiabank, Westpac, Deutsche Bank and BNL d’Italia.
You need to be certain that you are going to use the right standards for getting your currencies exchanged. You cannot just get to any place for currency exchange or else you could be ripped off. This is so your hands will be secure from any bacteria that you might get into.
It’s also a good idea to try and find a seat if possible. This is to make sure that you don’t have to hold onto dirty bars or rails. Of course, you should obey all rules relating to who will get priority seats. If there is an elderly or handicapped person coming on board then you should relinquish your seat to that person if no other seats are available.