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Debi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2017
#1
Hi All, This is my first post. I have been a member for about a year now. Thank you for all the great information that is available on this forum! I will be starting in SJPDP next week and plan to end in Finisterre. I went to buy a prepaid Travelex card today and the exchange is terrible with their fee. I am bringing my debit card but would like a back up. What would be a better option for me? I looked up threads but I am confused.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#3
Check with your bank. I find the simplest thing to do is to use my bank debit card at bank machines in Spain. I'm charged $5 each time so I withdraw enough to last a week or so. At the end I have paid about $30 in bank fees for the convenience.
 

Debi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2017
#6
Check with your bank. I find the simplest thing to do is to use my bank debit card at bank machines in Spain. I'm charged $5 each time so I withdraw enough to last a week or so. At the end I have paid about $30 in bank fees for the convenience.
Thank you @C clearly!
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
#7
I have to second this recommendation.
It's the best deal I could find.
From everything I've read the only fee you pay with a Charles Schwab account is a small markup on the exchange rate .25% or there abouts.
In other words exchanging a $1000 for Euros will cost you $2.50
Most folks think they are only paying a $5 or $6 ATM fee and don't realize they are getting ripped off on the exchange rate.
( likely to the tune of $6 to $8 bucks per $100 exchanged )
It drives me nuts that most kids graduate college and don't understand this.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#8
It drives me nuts that most kids graduate college and don't understand this.
I understand the concept quite well. I have chosen to pay for convenience and to not bother with the detailed calculations and comparison shopping. I save my money in other ways.
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
#9
I understand the concept quite well. I have chosen to pay for convenience and to not bother with the detailed calculations and comparison shopping. I save my money in other ways.
Lo siento
That was not directed at you. But after reading your post I see now why you took it that way.
I was actually thinking about my neighbor who goes to Italy every summer for six weeks and a few family members who have traveled to Europe ( who spend much more than we do on a Camino ) who look at me like I have two heads when I try and explain the exchange rate to them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#10
who look at me like I have two heads when I try and explain the exchange rate to them.
Yes. We all choose to buy comfort and convenience in different ways, but it is good to be aware that this is what we are doing!
 

Debi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2017
#11
I have to second this recommendation.
It's the best deal I could find.
From everything I've read the only fee you pay with a Charles Schwab account is a small markup on the exchange rate .25% or there abouts.
In other words exchanging a $1000 for Euros will cost you $2.50
Most folks think they are only paying a $5 or $6 ATM fee and don't realize they are getting ripped off on the exchange rate.
( likely to the tune of $6 to $8 bucks per $100 exchanged )
It drives me nuts that most kids graduate college and don't understand this.
Thank you @Jersey. Discovered there is a branch near me!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#12
I concur with the Schwab recommendation. I've had a checking account with them for a few years now, which I use for traveling. I have used my Schwab debit card in ATMs all over the world.
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
#13
Yes. We all choose to buy comfort and convenience in different ways, but it is good to be aware that this is what we are doing!
Exactly. Believe me, I find many ways to spend money for convenience lol
My 6 year old TV broke last week. I'm pretty sure I can get it fixed for about $300 but no way. I'm going to take this opportunity to upgrade to a bigger newer model lol
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#14
Exactly. Believe me, I find many ways to spend money for convenience lol
My 6 year old TV broke last week. I'm pretty sure I can get it fixed for about $300 but no way. I'm going to take this opportunity to upgrade to a bigger newer model lol
Which you can probably buy for about $300 now. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#15
I'm not sure if ATMs will give out cash if you use a credit card. It would be really expensive to do but possibly it could be worth it in an emergency and you can't get a better backup before you leave.
They generally do, when outside your own country. But the rates and charges are not pretty......
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
#16
Which you can probably buy for about $300 now. :)
Yes. If they still sold it lol
I've been window shopping. Not one single 55" plasma TV is sold anymore. I'm gonna call a few repair shops and ask them if they want it.
Better to let someone make a few bucks off the parts than throw it out
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#17

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#18
We pay for our travel card with cash, not a debit or credit card. That way we get a better rate and no card fees. Loaded with euros, then we just use it in ATMs for up to €600 in any 24 hours for a fee of 2€ per transaction. Just need to check that the machine itself doesn't make a charge but we load a little over to allow for charges. That also keeps the card live for next time as we have never had the ATM make a charge. Our card is a Mastercard, not Visa.
 

Debi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2017
#20
Too late to get an ATM card from Schwab. They said it takes 1-3 weeks to receive a card. Next trip I will definitely open an account with them. I did call my bank and was told if I bring my card into the bank, when I am able to along the Camino, I can get a cash advance. My bank doesn't charge for an advance and I wouldn't have to pay ATM fees.

Thank you for all the replies!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
#21
Regarding many posts here and previously about withdrawing cash from ATM's using a credit card, it is possible to do this without incurring big fees and exorbitant interest rates. Ask your bank before you leave your home country to link your credit card to your cash account. Then when overseas and using an ATM, choose the option to withdraw cash from your cash account as shown on the ATM screen. This will then act exactly as your debit card. Do NOT choose credit account as this is the one with big fees and interest. I always take my debit card and use that to get cash and use the credit card as I have described in an emergency. This is the system I have used for many years in so many countries I have lost count, but certainly over 40 countries on 4 continents. On two occasions I have had a stop put on the use of my debit card by my bank due to fraud, and that can be a disaster without an alternative way to get cash.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#22
Regarding many posts here and previously about withdrawing cash from ATM's using a credit card, it is possible to do this without incurring big fees and exorbitant interest rates. Ask your bank before you leave your home country to link your credit card to your cash account. Then when overseas and using an ATM, choose the option to withdraw cash from your cash account as shown on the ATM screen. This will then act exactly as your debit card. Do NOT choose credit account as this is the one with big fees and interest. I always take my debit card and use that to get cash and use the credit card as I have described in an emergency. This is the system I have used for many years in so many countries I have lost count, but certainly over 40 countries on 4 continents. On two occasions I have had a stop put on the use of my debit card by my bank due to fraud, and that can be a disaster without an alternative way to get cash.
Of course this would only work if the credit card is issued by the same bank where you have checking/savings accounts.
And I'm not sure if US banks do this.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#23
Hi All, This is my first post. I have been a member for about a year now. Thank you for all the great information that is available on this forum! I will be starting in SJPDP next week and plan to end in Finisterre. I went to buy a prepaid Travelex card today and the exchange is terrible with their fee. I am bringing my debit card but would like a back up. What would be a better option for me? I looked up threads but I am confused.
Worth hunting around. We completed the Camino in May (StJPdP - Santiago) and used a pre paid card wherever possible. A card called Revolut was launched in the UK which uses interbank rate and no fees for purchases. You convert the currency on the app into the one you expect to use, and choose the right option when you spend. Charges are made for cash drawn over GBP200, but its still cheaper than a debit card. Spending limits etc are set by you on an App.....so you need wifi or a data plan.. There were enough wifi hotspots available. UK banks seem to charge about 3%, which can add up.
 

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