Taking money abroad

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Taking money abroad

Postby pault » Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:13 pm

Am off to the States for 11 weeks or so,

not being the best with money I was hoping to take the relatively large amounts necessary for 2 months and keep being ripped off by banks/exchanges etc to a minimum

anybody have sense of how cost-effective paypalling a friend a big sum would be and then taking the money off him in dollars when I arrive?

best,

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Postby tisri » Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:04 pm

Check the charges PayPal will make for currency conversion and for receiving the money - you may well find it's cheaper to simply draw cash $200 or so at a time from a cash machine. If you have a view on where the exchange rate is going you'll want to take that into account as well - obviously buying it all now locks in the rate which may (or may not) be a good thing.

Assuming you don't want to take cash yourself (I believe you have to declare anything over $10,000 or equivalent in cash or bearer securities etc to Customs) check out the costs associated with wire transfers and the like. Sometimes it's easier just to go to your local American Express (or whatever) office and buy a bunch of travellers cheques.

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Postby motoman » Thu Aug 25, 2005 7:37 pm

On my USA trips I have always taken minimum cash and used my card to draw $200.00 at a time from banks, always beware of street ATM machines as they can charge a lot more than the banks. Also if you have to use them make sure you are not being watched or you may make some nasty buggers day. You are going to pay charges whatever you do as the banks have it all their own way, all you can do is make sure that you draw enough cash to pay for small itemes and meals as each transaction is eligable for the bankers holiday fund.
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Postby fiend » Thu Aug 25, 2005 7:54 pm

One of the most convenient ways to transfer FX is to put your credit card into a positive balance, and then do cash advances from it. There is no fee for the cash advance if you do that. The rates won't be the best, but should be around average for a consumer transaction.

The next best is to write a personal cheque and deposit it into the foreign country. There will be a small fee for clearing the cheque, and the funds won't clear for 2-3 weeks.
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Postby matts » Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:21 pm

If you have time to get a credit card from the Nationwide it used to be one of the only ones that didn't apply an overseas loading to purchases (might have changed?), and they didn't take the michael on the exchange rate either, not sure about cash withdrawals though.

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Postby Beanie » Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:17 pm

How about a US$ account? For example,
http://www.citibank.co.uk/uk/bankingpro ... /index.jsp
or http://www.lloydstsb-offshore.com/Produ ... d+Account/
or http://www.americanexpress.com/uk/tcc/
Also a good option if you frequently purchase from the US... must be at least one new Thor tamper every quarter, non? Or are you going there to get a custom wood suitcase to match your tampers :P

Of course, if you have family or very very very good friends there, then you can use my banking system. When I visit Vancouver, my eldest sister provides me with cash for spending on incidentals. Of course, when she visits me here, I repay her with euros :) Well, almost.... as the "baby sister", I'm pre-destined to spend more than her :mrgreen: Elsewhere, I rely on the ATM/ABM and credit cards... although never for an 11-wk stretch.
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Postby pault » Fri Aug 26, 2005 9:39 am

thanks for the advice everyone

the pain is I'll be there for long enough to get miffed at constant bank charges but not really long enough to bother setting up a US Bank account. Credit cards and my bank charge you at least a 2.5% conversion "tip"

I think I'll look into the Nationwide who don't ...

thanks again ...

best,

Paul.
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Postby tisri » Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:08 pm

2.5% based on the open market rate isn't such a bad deal. If you get a Citibank US dollar account you'll pay 1.5% to transfer money between accounts (I'm going to be reckless and assuming you're not planning to take £20,000 or more for two months), and even 2.5% is small compared to what travel agents seem to charge for currency conversions.

When the open market rate is quoted as 1.80 and I see travel agents offering 1.75/1.90 and then expecting to charge a percentage on top it really hacks me off, just because they're clearly taking the piss.
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Postby pault » Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:23 pm

I've just registered for a Nationwide credit card

they don't make *any* currency conversion charges and only charge 1.5% on cash advances

I can live with that - last time I was in Europe my own bank gouged me on both advance and conversion charges - so this seems the best deal.

thanks again for all the advice,

Paul.
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