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Money exchange - current rates

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Happy Penguin

Rainy day in Castilblanco
Past OR future Camino
2021
Was it in Carrion de los Condes?
A tip: when getting money from an ATM machine, whether you use a card issued in America or in EU, try to do it outside of the areas that are tourist attraction. The banks happily add an extra fee in places where tourists go. it can be 2 - 4 euros on 100 euros withdrawn.​
Since we pilgrims are on the move, it is better to use ATMs in small villages or in suburbs of bigger towns. That's my experience. And I don't use red ATMs of Santander Bank because it seems they add this extra fee always. One that I like in particular is ABANCA because their ATMs never charged me extra for withdrawing cash, even in Santiago.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
It was in Fromista. I don't know which bank he went to. I read that the Spanish banks have gone through some mergers in recent years. Is that true and has that limited the numbers of options?
 

Happy Penguin

Rainy day in Castilblanco
Past OR future Camino
2021
That I don't know, but certainly each year there are fewer ATMs which don't charge you just for using an ATM. So while I walk, and encounter a "free" ATM, I usually take more cash than I used to in the past. Thankfully you are shown on the screen of the ATM what they are going to charge you, and at this moment I may cancel the transaction and continue walking until I find one with no withdrawal fee.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Always withdraw in the LOCAL currency (Euros). Never opt for "Conversion".
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
I will try to send him this file. We do know about the extra fees, but it seemed especially excessive.
As @alexwalker said and as it says on the jpg, don't take the option at the ATM that uses the ATM exchange rates, always take the option that has your account charged in Euros rather than Dollars. Your credit card company or bank exchange rates are always better than the ATM rates.
 

Steven Dwyer

Member
Past OR future Camino
2000,2001,2004 Camino Frances from St. Jean
2005 Camino Argonese from Oloron to Puente de la Reina, Camino Frances from St. Jean,
2013 Camino Portugese from Porto, Camino Ingles from Ferrol, Camino Finisterre
(2016) Camino Portugese from Braga
Phil is getting worst money exchange rate on this trip. Even at the cash machine which is usually pretty good today he got only 77 cents to the dollar. The online rate is 85 cents to the dollar.
1. When taking out cash from an ATM, always decline the option of have the transaction converted to US dollars. Your own bank will do the conversion for you at a much better rate. This also applies to using a credit card when they offer to do the conversion for you.

2. Limit the number of visits you make to the ATM by withdrawing larger amounts when using an out of network ATM. I’ve watched people pull less than $50 out of an ATM and pay a $6.00 fee on the withdrawal.

3. Look for a bank that waives the ATM fee. I used to use an account at USAA that refunded $15 per month in ATM fees, though they charge a 1% foreign transaction fee. I switched to using an account at Charles Schwab that refunds every ATM fee and charges no foreign exchange fee. This came in especially handy in Argentina where the most you ca; withdraw in a day in $100 with a $10 ATM fee.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Thankfully our US bank does not charg a fee for ATM withdrawals in other countries because we are both US Veterans. He was able to open the file @Doughnut NZ shared and said he said will try to be more careful in the future when there is a choice of banks. I think this time he was just passing through and didn't think about it too much. He did not remember even the bank brand, but I am sure I will be able to see it on our end.
 
Past OR future Camino
Walked the Camino Frances in 2013. Part of Jeju Olle Trail in 2014. A Pilgrimage in Bavaria: Regensburg Diözesanfußwallfahrt to Altötting 2014. Trekking Nepal 2014. European Peace Trail 2015.
For anyone planning for future travels, I highly recommend getting a Wise card which allows you to transfer money at a very good rate from your bank account (in whatever currency) to euros which are held on the Wise card. The card can be used like a credit card or like an ATM card while you are traveling. Then you can withdraw at ATMs without the exorbitant fees that most US banks charge.
I am not affiliated with the company other than I have a card and it has saved me a lot of money while traveling. This is my referrer code if interested: https://wise.com/invite/t/lauras3363
 
Past OR future Camino
none past, planing to go on May to do the French walk( 2015) do not have sense of direction
I sure of red this post before I did my camino this pass June 21-to July 29 I only saw it now😢 I which more people can aware of it. Yes I obtain a Chase credit car with out international charges; paying $25 a month; it was my mistake converting from Dollars to euros, thank you for these lessons J Willhaus
 

boski

Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte/primitivo (15)
Phil is getting worst money exchange rate on this trip. Even at the cash machine which is usually pretty good today he got only 77 cents to the dollar. The online rate is 85 cents to the dollar.
I know it doesn't help you right now but I have a Revolut card. It works in Europe and the US and you can do currency exchange on the app. Its great for travel.
 

Sharonih

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
Phil is getting worst money exchange rate on this trip. Even at the cash machine which is usually pretty good today he got only 77 cents to the dollar. The online rate is 85 cents to the dollar.
We found Caixia (sic) bank had the best rates when we went, regardless of where we were. Others were ridiculous. That being said dollar/euro values are really bouncing around at the moment
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
We found Caixia (sic) bank had the best rates when we went, regardless of where we were. Others were ridiculous. That being said dollar/euro values are really bouncing around at the moment
When we were in Zamora as hospitaleros in 2017 we had trouble with the Caja Rural Savings Bank machine (or maybe Rural Caja, not sure now which) and thought we were going to lose our card. Since then we are always careful to make sure the machine takes our bank's card. I think Caixia may be more in Galicia, but I know there have been some Spanish bank mergers in the last two years so I am not entirely sure of what brands remain. We always try to use the caja automatico on a day that the bank is open just in case something happens. o_O
 

tominrm

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I think opening/having an on-line bank, not investment, account with Charles Schwab will solve all these issues. The bank (debit card) will absorb ALL transaction fees and reimburses at the end of each month. I first opened an account for Camino de Santiago several years ago and still have it.

The only disadvantage I see is the bank does not have local branches making it as a good secondary bank, not primary or the only bank. But if you travel often, it's worth the inconvenience. If you like to withdraw small amount money at a time, this card makes a lot of sense because usually fee is charged for each transaction.

Obviously banks tell each other how much was withdrawn and how much their fee was added. Charles Schwab debit card reimburses the fees no matter where the card is used, in the U.S or overseas.
 
Past OR future Camino
September 2019: first Camino, can only do partial this year due to recent knee replacement
Always withdraw in the LOCAL currency (Euros). Never opt for "Conversion".
This one confuses me because when I was asked whether to accept the conversion or to charge in euros, I said no to accepting conversion and the ATM said no to giving me money. So I was only able to do it by accepting the conversion. So it sounds like the ATMs should also give you money when you say no to conversion?
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
This one confuses me because when I was asked whether to accept the conversion or to charge in euros, I said no to accepting conversion and the ATM said no to giving me money. So I was only able to do it by accepting the conversion. So it sounds like the ATMs should also give you money when you say no to conversion?
The answer is Yes. Must be a greedy bank you chose...
 
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Past OR future Camino
September 2019: first Camino, can only do partial this year due to recent knee replacement
For anyone planning for future travels, I highly recommend getting a Wise card which allows you to transfer money at a very good rate from your bank account (in whatever currency) to euros which are held on the Wise card. The card can be used like a credit card or like an ATM card while you are traveling. Then you can withdraw at ATMs without the exorbitant fees that most US banks charge.
I am not affiliated with the company other than I have a card and it has saved me a lot of money while traveling. This is my referrer code if interested: https://wise.com/invite/t/lauras3363
I got the Wise app but didn’t know there was actually a card that goes with it.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
Phil is getting worst money exchange rate on this trip. Even at the cash machine which is usually pretty good today he got only 77 cents to the dollar. The online rate is 85 cents to the dollar.
Is he getting .77 cents Euro for a dollar American? .77 euro cents costs .84 cents American dollar. This is on Xe Currwncy app. This is the rate given to the banks best customers which isn't us ordinary people. So if every dollar he got .77 euro it probably isn't to bad. Last year the rate was 1Euro on the app cost 1.04 America. I went to the bank and it cost me about 1.15 per Euro and I had no service charge. That was the rate you get unless your a bank or investment firm. I found when I used an ATM I got about the same rate. I think it's supply and demand and what every the governments are doing at the time.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Yes, when I was first stationed in Germany in the military not long after the Euro came to be, I got 1.1 euros for a US dollar. Sigh, times have changed. As a child it was 4 marks to a dollar.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
I think opening/having an on-line bank, not investment, account with Charles Schwab will solve all these issues. The bank (debit card) will absorb ALL transaction fees and reimburses at the end of each month. I first opened an account for Camino de Santiago several years ago and still have it.

The only disadvantage I see is the bank does not have local branches making it as a good secondary bank, not primary or the only bank. But if you travel often, it's worth the inconvenience. If you like to withdraw small amount money at a time, this card makes a lot of sense because usually fee is charged for each transaction.

Obviously banks tell each other how much was withdrawn and how much their fee was added. Charles Schwab debit card reimburses the fees no matter where the card is used, in the U.S or overseas.
I just opened one to see if the hype was real and I think it is. I went to 3 different ATMs and each one charge me a service fee. When I go to a bank I try to look at the symbols and only use at a bank that matches what's on my card but the Schwab card does not have them so I just used it and there was a charge on every withdrawal and at the end of the month they were all reversed. I only opened it for the Camino and but enough in it to last on my Camino. After I'm back I'll leave just enough in it until I'm ready to go out of the country again and transfer more money in. As a technically challenged person I found it easy to figure out. I just don't see how they make money because it is costing me $0. No Foreign transaction fees if I use it to pay for something.
 
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Bert45

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
I was twice presented with a credit card receipt that said I'd been offered the choice to have the sum deducted in euros or GBP and I had chosen GBP. And that it could not be refunded. First part completely untrue! The first place said they were unable to change it, i.e. refund and start again, so I didn't even ask the second time. Fortunately my bank refunded the difference when I complained when I got home. This was twice in hundreds of cc transactions. But you might want to bear it in mind and try to remember to say, "I want to pay in euros." Not quite relevant to the ATM discussion, I know, but relevant to the conversion discussion.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
When we were in Zamora as hospitaleros in 2017 we had trouble with the Caja Rural Savings Bank machine (or maybe Rural Caja, not sure now which) and thought we were going to lose our card. Since then we are always careful to make sure the machine takes our bank's card. I think Caixia may be more in Galicia, but I know there have been some Spanish bank mergers in the last two years so I am not entirely sure of what brands remain. We always try to use the caja automatico on a day that the bank is open just in case something happens. o_O
Use the big banks in town in case there is a problem , withdraw the maximum allowed per day in euros and thank your lucky stars you can.
The give or take of a few euros is not much when all is said and done .
I‘ll swap a few weeks currently to be robbed by the poor old Spanish.
Keep well
 
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RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
This may be a silly question, but is it better to do the exchange before you leave or exchange in Spain?

Also for those who you the Schwab card, if you exchange before you leave are the fees reimbursed as well?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
This may be a silly question, but is it better to do the exchange before you leave or exchange in Spain?


I always withdraw Euros from ATMs in Spain using my Schwab debit card.

Technically it is an exchange, but I don't think about it that way. I am simply withdrawing from my account in a different currency than my home country.

You will almost always get the best rate this way. In the past I have "bought" or exchanged for Euros from my bank. Sometimes they say that there is no fee, but the exchange rate is lousy.


Also for those who you the Schwab card, if you exchange before you leave are the fees reimbursed as well?

No. The fees that are reimbursed are the ATM fees charged by the Spanish banks.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
In these days of Covid the vast majority of places will take credit cards. Get one that does not charge a conversion fee. Carry a minimum cash. Use tap and pay technology.
 
Last edited:

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
I always withdraw Euros from ATMs in Spain using my Schwab debit card.

Technically it is an exchange, but I don't think about it that way. I am simply withdrawing from my account in a different currency than my home country.

You will almost always get the best rate this way. In the past I have "bought" or exchanged for Euros from my bank. Sometimes they say that there is no fee, but the exchange rate is lousy.




No. The fees that are reimbursed are the ATM fees charged by the Spanish banks.
Thank you. I pretty much thought so but wanted to be sure.
 

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