ATMs and Currency Exchange Machines
When you’re travelling in Europe, making debit withdrawals from a currency exchange machines, ATMs are the best way to get local currency. That’s because the ATM gives you the actual current exchange rate, without the commission charges or marked-up exchange rate you’d get at any other money changer. Throughout Europe, ATM’s are readily accessible. They will accept various European bank cards as well as credit cards. However, be prepared to pay a fee for the service (usually a percentage of the amount withdrawn, with a minimum of few Euros which may be in addition to the fees your bank already imposes on foreign withdrawals. Read the notices on the currency exchange machines before using. Also, check with your bank about foreign transaction fees and charges for using a foreign ATM. When you travel frequently, you may have a travel debit card with a bank that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, has ATM allotment agreements in Europe or that refunds overseas ATM fees to your account.
European ATMs do not usually have letters on the keypad. PINs longer than 4 digits are generally no longer a problem.
If your debit card doesn’t have a chip, you may have difficulty using it in Europe. You’ll be able to take it or deal with a work around for many in-person transactions, but non-chip cards might not work at all at some automated purchase booth.
When you have currency, that you want to switch to local currency, you can make the conversion in banks, at many large hotels, and at money changers in international arrival/departure terminals.
Currency Exchange Machines
Currency exchange is a reality of life in Europe, and Europe is most likely the better established than anywhere else in the world and readily available nearly everywhere. Banks will more or less always exchange all European currencies, and within the European Union banks will accept nearly any currency that is officially traded abroad. Specific ATM’s are also widespread, especially in major tourist destinations, and are often slightly cheaper than banks. The exchange rates may vary relatively a bit among organizations and some will also charge a commission fee; shop around for the best rates if you can. As a general rule, the more suitable the transaction, the higher the fees you will be paying for it. If you’d like to have emergency cash on hand, it’s best to start shopping around while you’re planning your trip for the special exchange rates. Consider even buying your foreign cash in advance. Though, ATM’s accepting all main credit and debit cards available everywhere, many visitors only withdraw money electronically to get as close to the real exchange rate as possible.
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