You may find that you have very limited choices to get foreign currency before your trip abroad.
In preparing for a trip at the end of the summer, we started to look into the availability of Euros in Madison, WI. BMO Harris Bank has been one of the banks in town where you could get foreign currency. In a visit to the bank to inquire about the purchase of euros we discovered that BMO Harris Bank will no longer be providing this service to non-account holders.
We followed up with a call to US Bank, also located in Madison and found out that do sell foreign currency but offer a slightly higher rate than BMO Harris Bank on the day. More to come on US Bank foreign currency service!
The important tips are:
- Check your Debit card for use while traveling and for any foreign transaction fees. You will still have to pay any ATM fees charged at the time of the transaction.
- Check your credit card to find out about using your card for cash while overseas. Check for foreign transaction fees both for cash and for charges. Two companies we checked use 3% of the charge amount for the fee.
- To bring some currency for the first few days, start early to find the best rates and to ensure that a local bank can get the currency you want. In general, you need to be buying enough currency to make it worthwhile and you may not get any coins.
- When you check banks that are selling foreign currency, ask whether they buy back any extra currency at the end of your trip.