Ask Terry Questions Foreign Currency when traveling

Foreign Currency when traveling

By Terry Savage on October 07, 2015 | Wild Card

Hi Terry –
I’m listening to you currently on WGN with Steve and I just wanted to make a comment.

My son lives and teaches in Singapore and surprised me with a ticket to meet him in Italy this past summer, as a 50th bday present. I did all the things you mentioned (credit card with no international fees etc) but really had a hard time finding a bank that was willing to convert our cash into euros. We eventually had to choice but to go to an exchange store not too far away from the Spanish steps. We had no problems but really were surprised why the banks would not work with us? Any idea?

Terry Says:   It’s VERY expensive for the banks to handle paper currency — so they charge high fees to discourage it.  You were much better off using your debit card or a cash advance on a credit card in the local currency, than carrying American paper money.  There is one caveat to that suggestion.  A few American hundred dollar bills might come in very handy in case of an emergency, if you know what I mean.  Banks and merchants don’t want paper money — but if you need to get out of town fast, the cash might come in handy!



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