Best money option for a US citizen?
Replies: 92 - Last Post: May 17, 2012 4:00 PM Last Post By: peloblanco
Apr 27, 2012 5:59 AM
45Using an exchange booth at any airport in the states a big no no (in canada not sure but i bet they are there for a profit)- they may advertise no processing fees however the exchange rates still suck - the best way of getting an exchange rate closest to the markets is via the ATM route, consult with your bank to see which ATMs in canada are partner (No ATM Surcharges) and if there is a intl trans fee (usually 1%, TD doesn't charge in canada). I've taken out $60 in canada and was charged $61, very fair in my opinion.
One needs to understand banks, exchange booths, atms are there for a profit, one already does business with their own bank, and many times the bank has made out an agreement with a canadian branch for an ATM agreement, otherwise you pay the ATM $3 + Your Bank $5 out of atm network fee + percentage (heck even with this arithmetic its still better than the booth).
$1000 USD (FLAT, NO FEE's) to convert to CUC ~$860-900 fees between $140
$1000 USD to CAD
In Network 1% Intl Surcharge + currency math > $1023USD to get $1000CAD to covert to CUC $975 or better (cuba teller fee of 4%) $63 in total fees
$1090 + $14 UPS Standard to Canada + $3 Money/Check fee = $1000 CUC total fee $107 (but you get added benefits, you pretty much pay for em)
It shouldn't be a math test, your going out to unwind, however you still don't want to get taken advantage of because of currency of choice.
Apr 27, 2012 6:29 AM
"Your experience may be more current than mine."
Interesting that in Cuba all ATM transactions are an identical cost to inside the bank/Cadeca i.e. only the 3% fee applied to all Forex transactions.
Apr 27, 2012 8:37 AM
47I haven't figured out how to quote other messages on this forum yet, so I'll do my best to address the points and questions raised:
1) I wouldn't go to the expense and trouble of buying fire insurance on a house I was going to live in for a week, and pretty much feel the same way about that CT ripoff card. Maybe if more money was involved, or I was staying longer, I would consider something like that.
2) I flew out of Toronto airport, to Varadero on Sunwing airlines. Bus into Havana at 10 o'clock at night was maybe 2.5 hours?
3) I frankly don't remember the exact CAD to CUC exchange rate. I changed most of my money at the Varadero airport. 100 to 96 maybe? Does that sound right?
4) The trip was more fascinating than previous trips. Since my buddy spoke Spanish, and was very interested in Cuban life, we learned a lot more about life there than I learned in my previous 2 trips there. Plus a long conversation with a woman from Toronto who was involved in the lives of several people there was very interesting, and depressing.
Basically, as far as I could gather, a stunning number of people in Cuba are so desperate for money that they are users and scammers in a myriad of ways. Nothing is what it seems. Foreigners mostly represent money to these poor folks. It's hard to tell what's genuine and what's not in any interaction. I came away very wary of the place unfortunately.
Apr 27, 2012 9:29 AM
48I wouldn't go to the expense and trouble of buying fire insurance on a house I was going to live in for a week, and pretty much feel the same way about that CT ripoff card
Would you accept FREE fire insurance on that house, or not? That's a more appropriate comparison. The CT card is free and could save your entire vacation. Seems reasonable to me. It sounds like you may have ended up with $94? CUC for your $100 USD. Wouldn't that then be a "rip-off" as well, considering that you get almost $92 CUC with the CT card, which you refer to as such? Or is $2/100 the demarcation line between a good deal and a ripoff?
Just curious. What would you have done if you had run out of money? It happens all the time in Cuba.
If $100 USD gets you $96 CAD then how much CUC does that get you? Without knowing that then there can be no meaningful comparison. Just angry diatribe that helps no one in understanding their options.
I am only interested in an accurate representation of options here. I end up spending an inordinate amount of time clarifying what those options actually are, however. Those who would pretend the CT card is a "rip-off" without once explaining why or even offering a legitimate comparison to their cash-only 3-way currency exchange option, do not serve either accuracy or honesty, imho.
That ATM process sounds like the best way to go for those departing from Canada and wanting some CAD, wnyz, assuming you avoid the ATM fees. I'm still unclear if your $1023 USD ends up as $975 CUC or $975-$63 fees? What are the fees included in that $63 you quoted.
Apr 27, 2012 10:43 AM
49CAD has a slightly higher value by a cent
So if you yank 1000 cad , it will yank 1010usd
Plus atm fee and trans fee (3atm + 3out of network atm + 1% intl) 16bucks usd for the banks
You now have 1000cad which is really 1010 cuc (since cad is higher) plus the teller fee in cuba 4% to do the note swap , you get 970-980.
So in cuba you paid 40 and in canada you paid 26 about 66...
Sadly these figures can change at any time
Apr 27, 2012 10:48 AM
50The CT card appears a worse deal financially, for starters. Throw in the hassle of getting one and using one, and it made it even more unattractive. Doesn't sound so "free" in terms of money or time to me. I was quite content to grab CAD from a Toronto ATM and change it in at Varadero airport for 96% on the dollar. If people prefer other methods for themselves, I don't care. I don't know why my method vexes some folks here so much.
I flew from JFK to Toronto. I think I told the folks in Canada I was on my way to Cuba. I don't remember. I did speak to my bank before I went, and I think i was charged about 2 dollars for a withdrawal.
On the way back in, US customs at Toronto asked me where I went and i told them. The guy didn't care. My friend had a different agent though, who gave him some grief before letting him through.
Apr 27, 2012 11:12 AM
Apr 27, 2012 12:37 PM
52The CT card appears a worse deal financially, for starters. Throw in the hassle of getting one and using one, and it made it even more unattractive.
This is the way these "discussions" go every time. Broad sweeping unsubstantiated generalizations only occasionally buttressed by misstatements of the facts.
What is "a worse deal financially" about $917 / $1000 for a secured card? It sounds like you only got a few dollars more for a wad-o-unprotected-cash but we don't know that yet because you won't tell us how many CUC you got for your CAD.
Throw in the hassle of getting one and using one
It takes 15 minutes online to open an account, and it's free. What part of that is a "hassle"? It is the only option an American has that lets us use ATMs, without question the easiest means of accessing secured money known to man. What part of that is a "hassle".
Doesn't sound so "free" in terms of money or time to me
Opening an account is free. It costs nothing and takes 15 minutes, if you are really slow. By opening a free account you are getting free insurance against the very real possibility that you may run out of money in Cuba, for a variety of reasons. That possibility is a nightmare for Americans but just a nuisance for tourists from anywhere else in the world. If you don't run out of money then you don't appear to have been foolish. If, otoh, you DO run out of money, and didn't spend the prerequisite 15 minutes to get the free card, then you look very foolish indeed.
I will ask the same question of you again, pthorne. What would you do if you ran out of money in Cuba? Under-budgeting, theft, doesn't matter. If you, an American, found yourself in Cuba with no money, what would you do? What do you imagine your options to be?
I am not telling anyone that they need to choose a debit card. That's your option. I understand your thinking but I don't agree with it. I would ask, however, that you please stop insisting that getting one is a foolish thing for anyone to do and especially for reasons that are, at the very least, disingenuous. All of the reasons you cite are simply not true.
Apr 27, 2012 12:45 PM
53Running out of money midway to the trip is foolish, one should budget any trips according to their wants/needs. Planning ahead is key, ideally keep 50cash in case of emergency departure tax and taxi to airport, CT card would prevent the remainder of your trip sucking, however it will be costly to reload via credit card @ around 30buck fee per 100dollars
Apr 27, 2012 6:24 PM
Apr 27, 2012 6:40 PM
Apr 27, 2012 6:56 PM
Apr 27, 2012 7:02 PM
Apr 27, 2012 7:12 PM
Apr 27, 2012 10:12 PM
59What would you do if you ran out of money in Cuba, pthorne?
Is there a reason you have now avoided that simple question three times?
You're the genius. Surely you have an answer for that one, no?
If you are an American and run out of money - theft is prevalent - the CT Credit Card rates look like manna from heaven as against any other options.
I'm just wanting to hear what options there are that make getting a free card a bad choice. What would make someone so avoid answering a question and instead spend inordinate amounts of time trying to paint the questioner as some sort of "lesser" person?
Maybe you missed it the first three times I asked it. Permit me to repeat the question.
What would you do if you ran out of money in Cuba, pthorne?
oh, and had been too smart to spend 15 minutes opening a free debit card account ?
This swine awaits your pearls.
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