Monday, August 15, 2005


If you travel much or spend much time outside of the United States, here’s some advice that might save you a lot of money. What I write here is true of everywhere I have been (except for where the money is pegged artificially and there is a black market). I do not say it is true of everywhere.

The best exchange rate is always at an ATM.

Bank rates are less favorable.

Money Exchanges are much less favorable.

Remember there is a service charge for each transaction at an ATM. It does not make sense to withdraw small amounts. I always withdraw the maximum allowed by that ATM.

Some ATMs have a higher maximum than others. It might pay to shop around.

You are usually limited to a dollar amount or one transaction per day, whichever is higher. That is another reason to shop around for a friendly ATM. For instance, if your dollar per day limit is $300 but you find an ATM with a $500 dollar maximum, you can get $500.

Use an ATM card issued by a bank instead of a credit card. The service charge from a bank card is a fraction of that from a credit card.

Make your withdrawals in a well lit public place, with lots of people around. Don’t flash the money.


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