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Old 05-10-2014, 08:25 AM   #1
sally1
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Currency exchange

we will need to purchase euros and french franc for our up summing trip. Does anyone have suggestion for the best rates.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:56 AM   #2
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I can't help with where to exchange your money for the best rate but... French Francs no longer exist - they use Euros.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:30 AM   #3
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You can inquire at your local bank. If they don t offer exchange than they will know if any other banks offer that service. AAA offers exchange through Wells Fargo Bank. The rate is usually 5 cents above the bank rate. We just returned last week and we paid $1.44 US for $1.00 Euro....PLUS it is more expensive for most things in Europe....but worth every cent IMO.....
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:31 AM   #4
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we will need to purchase euros and french franc for our up summing trip. Does anyone have suggestion for the best rates.
Whatever you do, don't buy at the airport. It's too expensive. My dad went to his local bank and they charged him a $15 fee. Another place would be your local coin shop.

However, if you have a bank that doesn't charge an ATM fee, just get your euros at an atm by your hotel. This is what we did and we got the current rate with no fees.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:11 AM   #5
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My bank charges a flat rate of $10.00 for ordering anything up to 999 euros.

At 1000 - 1999 euros, the fee is $20.00.

We have learned that it's best to land at your destination with euros in your pocket. This allows you to pay for anything immediately.

After that, we have learned that the best exchange rate is through an ATM. To minimize the ATM fee, it's suggested that you take the maximum allowed.

We have also learned that having a credit card with no foreign transaction fee is best when making large purchases. This is especially true if shipping things back to the states. Most credit cards have insurance built into the agreement.

When shopping for smaller items, it's best to have smaller bills in your pocket. If there is a chance to haggle, having a 20 euro note makes it much easier than asking the vendor you just haggled with to break a 100 euro note.

If you are in the market for luxury goods, pricing in Europe is often lower, as the VAT (value added tax) is usually included in the cost, as opposed to the States where tax is added at the point of purchase.

Keeping track of your receipts is important, as you will be able to apply to have that VAT refunded prior to leaving that country. Some shops will complete the VAT for for you and others will not.

I find that getting my VAT back often makes the price of higher end items less that I would pay in the States.

Knowing the cost (in the US) of something you'd like to purchase, will make it easier to make the decision that's best for your wallet.

If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.

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Old 05-10-2014, 11:03 AM   #6
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We purchased a couple of more expensive items in Florence and the sellers filled out the forms and handed us the package as well as a pre paid envelope. At the airport you find the VAT desk and they stamp your papers and mail them for you. After the papers are processed you get most of the VAT tax returned to your credit card. You need to reach a certain amount of purchase price to qualify. We have not seen a refund yet but I was told it takes a few weeks. Some merchants will wave the tax if you pay cash. One great aspect is that wine prices are quite reasonable. A credit card that waves the transaction fee is a plus. It is good practice to call your credit card people to notify of your trip IMO.
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:20 PM   #7
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Just a note on what NOT to do. Harrod's in London offered to refund my VAT for me (I bought a couple of high-ticket items there). I went downstairs, filled out the paperwork, they stamped refund all over my receipts, and then once the transaction was basically done, they showed me the paperwork to sign, and they took a THIRTY PER CENT commission out of my refund!!! There were no signs or anything that said this, and it was never mentioned. At that point, with my receipts already stamped and all, it was just easier to continue with the transaction and consider it a lesson learned. I didn't have time for what I'd have to go through to get new receipts & all. But I thought that was pretty sucky.

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Old 05-11-2014, 10:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by sally1 View Post
we will need to purchase euros and french franc for our up summing [upcoming] trip. Does anyone have suggestion for the best rates.
I think you need to do some more research before you go, . Francs?

Thee is no need to exchange money. Go to one of the ATMs at the airport after you land and withdraw local currency using your debit card. Always notify your bank and the issuers of any credit cards you will use on your trip where you will be traveling, to try and avoid denied charges due to suspected fraud (it may happen anyway, but this should allow most charges to go through).
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:34 AM   #9
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Just a note on what NOT to do. Harrod's in London offered to refund my VAT for me (I bought a couple of high-ticket items there). I went downstairs, filled out the paperwork, they stamped refund all over my receipts, and then once the transaction was basically done, they showed me the paperwork to sign, and they took a THIRTY PER CENT commission out of my refund!!! There were no signs or anything that said this, and it was never mentioned. At that point, with my receipts already stamped and all, it was just easier to continue with the transaction and consider it a lesson learned. I didn't have time for what I'd have to go through to get new receipts & all. But I thought that was pretty sucky.

Sayhello
This is typical in many countries when you ask for an immediate cash refund. It's better just to turn in the forms at the airport before you leave the country.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
This is typical in many countries when you ask for an immediate cash refund. It's better just to turn in the forms at the airport before you leave the country.
You usually have to have your VAT form stamped at the airport.

My advice...get to the airport early if you need to do this.

The last time we flew out of Charles de Gaulle, there were more than 300 people in line and there were two windows open.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:25 PM   #11
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This is typical in many countries when you ask for an immediate cash refund. It's better just to turn in the forms at the airport before you leave the country.
I didn't ask. All of the salespeople I dealt with suggested it. Now I know why, and it wasn't out of the kindness of their hearts.

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Old 05-11-2014, 03:39 PM   #12
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You usually have to have your VAT form stamped at the airport.

My advice...get to the airport early if you need to do this.

The last time we flew out of Charles de Gaulle, there were more than 300 people in line and there were two windows open.
OMG.... Paris is the worst. I'd pay money to avoid that line. You better be dropping some serious Euros to make it worthwhile. And don't forget to bring your purchases and your boarding pass with you. The poor guy in front of me was turned away for forgetting something.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:41 PM   #13
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I was told that even after you submit your papers for refund the government agency takes a percentage as a "handling charge"....I am expecting a refund of the VAT tax so I guess I will find out then. Cash is king if you can get a shop owner to go along.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:54 PM   #14
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I was told that even after you submit your papers for refund the government agency takes a percentage as a "handling charge"....I am expecting a refund of the VAT tax so I guess I will find out then. Cash is king if you can get a shop owner to go along.
Global Blue is who I've used in the past and they take a large percentage out as a handling fee. I've never actually calculated what percentage. I tend to forget how much I submitted by the time the refund arrives which can take a couple months. I believe it's close to 30% as what was mentioned earlier.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:31 PM   #15
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Just a note on what NOT to do. Harrod's in London offered to refund my VAT for me (I bought a couple of high-ticket items there). I went downstairs, filled out the paperwork, they stamped refund all over my receipts, and then once the transaction was basically done, they showed me the paperwork to sign, and they took a THIRTY PER CENT commission out of my refund!!! There were no signs or anything that said this, and it was never mentioned. At that point, with my receipts already stamped and all, it was just easier to continue with the transaction and consider it a lesson learned. I didn't have time for what I'd have to go through to get new receipts & all. But I thought that was pretty sucky.

Sayhello
Along the same lines as this do not have Harrods convert the price for you into dollars, especially if you have a foreign transaction free credit card (which you should). It is the biggest rip off--they build a nice percentage into that conversion rate--and they kept trying to do the hard sell for me on it. It drove me nuts.
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