Money through Eastern Europe
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Aug 17, 2012 10:02 AM Last Post By: j_the_traveller
Jul 10, 2012 11:42 PM
Money through Eastern EuropeHi,
I am travelling through Romania - Hungary - Bosnia - Croatia and was wondering if I am able to pay with Euro in most of these countries? I am travelling from Australia and have brought a travel card with Euro on it. I am wondering whether I need to get money out in each country in their currency (and undergo another exchange rate) or whether I can pay for accom, trains etc with card and so only take out a small amount for food, etc. Thanks for your help.
Jul 10, 2012 11:51 PM
generally, pre-loaded Travel cards are a rip-off. you should have read this before you got one:
Jul 10, 2012 11:55 PM
2If you got the card in the last few days you have got a really good rate for Euros. And since 2008 the $ Oz has appreciated 40% against the Euro!!
You pay about 2.5 euro for each cash withdrawal so you should take out cash in large lumps enough for each country. Use an ATM in a non-Euro country and you usually get local currency.
Paying for hotels, there are no additional changes over the exchange conversion.
Jul 11, 2012 12:26 AM
3i think you're missing (part of) the point Raki Man. Maybe you should read the link i gave in #1.
OP got a prepaid card with Euros on it. She paid for those Euros with AU$. At that point there was a conversion rate used. Not sure what it was, but it likely was less good than if she had used an Australian debit card in Euroland.
Now she comes with her Euro-denominated card and wants to use it in non-euro countries.There will be ANOTHER exchange rate conversion charge- from euro to Forint. So OP will have converted her money twice- it a sure-fire way to lose money.
The best she can do is use a regular Australian debit/credit card and save the Euro-denominated prepaid card for Euroland.
Jul 11, 2012 1:42 AM
4AGH I just brought it today ... really annoyed with myself I was told if I used my Australian cards there would be a hefty atm fee each time plus it would need to be converted to US dollars then then to the local currency (so 2 conversions anyway). I did get a really good rate AUS- EURO so hopefully I can use the Euro for accommodation as when I booked the amount was in Euro. Thanks for your help.
Jul 11, 2012 1:43 AM
Jul 11, 2012 2:09 AM
like many people, you have some misconceptions about foreign exchange and you should read the link I gave in #1.
On the other hand you gotta give it to those banks- it's impressive how the manage to flog an essentially useless product like a prepaid card to so many gullible people playing on all kinds of fears...
Jul 11, 2012 3:12 AM
7Thanks for your information. The exchange rate I got was 0.78 which is very good. I went to Croatia last year and used Euro majority of the time (even though this isn't their local currency), hence why I was hoping I could use Euro in some of the other countries. My bank appears to charge quite a high exchange rate and atm fees overseas (unless with Barclays - which there won't be a lot of in Eastern Europe) so I was looking for a better option. In further investigation, through the travel card I am charged 3% exchange rate and 2 euro atm fee so it is not as bad as I originally thought. Once again thanks for your help.
Jul 11, 2012 6:07 AM
Jul 11, 2012 11:48 AM
Historically, the AUD is pretty strong against the EUR but having chosen a different method would have gotten you an even better rate.
your prepaid is also likely to come with a bunch of fees- top-up fees, closing fees, withdrawal fees, etc.
So that's on top of the 6% you already paid...you're looking at a close to 10% fee on foreign exchange in total. The only way to avoid that is your regular debit card- they certainly won't charge 10%.
Jul 11, 2012 10:51 PM
10Not sure about the other three places, but in Romania the buy-sell rates were very close together in private exchange places for euros. That is, you could take 100 euros and change it to lei and only lose about half a euro by doing so. Big deal, not important.
Also, if you are planning to use an Aussie card for emergencies, you might find that it refuses to work for two possible reasons. The first might be that your bank blocks use of the card in "dodgy" countries like Romania. Ask at your bank before you leave, and make sure the card isn't blocked. The second reason is that local banks haven't paid their bills. They might display a "cirrus" or "plus" or "maestro" sticker on their meachines but if they haven't paid that company recently, they won't take your card.
My experience is that it's best, if your card doesn't work, to go into the bank and ask. They'll usually tell you the name of a bigger intl bank whose machines still take your cards.
Jul 12, 2012 2:30 AM
11I used to be a travel agent in Australia, and I don't even need to read the link to tell you that these cards are a massive rip-off. I only reluctantly sold this to clients, and only if they insisted. As for post #4, why in the world would the exchange rate go via USD, this is Europe and not some US satellite state.
Jul 12, 2012 3:38 PM
Jul 13, 2012 2:25 AM
Jul 15, 2012 6:48 AM
14In the old eastern countries cash exchange offices offer much better rates than in western europe. So one solution to avoid that 2.50 euro charge, particularly if you are not spending long in a country, is to withdraw a supply of euros in a euro country then change them in cash as needed along the way. Euros and US dollars have by far the best rates and are most widely accepted at the exchange offices.
HOWEVER beware of rip-off offices to be found mainly in tourist cities and airports which use deceptive signage to conceal their true very uncompetitive rates.
Some eastern currencies such as Bosnia, Moldova are extremely difficult to change outside their country of origin, but others such as Hungary or Czech can be got rid of in the next country without too much difficulty.
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